Today’s blog is a bit of a rant. I cannot help it but within the space of 12 hours, two things about LinkedIn have really annoyed me.
It’s also made me think about the role each social media offering plays in my life, both professional and personal.
For me, LinkedIn is a professional site where I can share insights, news, interesting bits and bobs with other business people.
These might be people I admire, I like, I’ve worked with or I simply know or they’ve requested to be linked to me and I’ve checked them out and thought ‘yes’.
I do try not to directly market to individuals with whom I am linked. I try not to do this because frankly I hate it being done to me. I usually post information about what I’m doing, appeals for help etc on my profile or status and leave it to others to engage directly if they are interested.
I’ve found that if I’m linked to an organisation like a hotel – I might get individual messages relating to events which I usually delete. Today, I’ve been targetted by two separate individuals in two different ways and it’s safe to say I’m fed up.
One was a person from overseas, asking me if she could talk to me as she’s got ideas for television programmes and would like to talk to someone about them. There followed a basic list of about five ideas. Great.
I get numerous requests like this on an annual basis and they take up lots of time. People often think they’ve got a great idea for television but have no idea how to take the next step. Well, let me give it to you straight – go to an established independent production company in the UK and ask for a hearing. Unless you are hand in hand with someone within broadcasting that’s one of the only ways to be heard. And another fact, less than five per cent of those ideas will get beyond first base. I know this because I’ve tried it many times, and yes, I’ve had some success.
Hearing the ideas, explaining how tv works, helping with contacts takes a lot of time and effort. Plus I don’t know how the system works in Australia (where this person is purportedly based), it could be totally different but I doubt it. And if it’s America, you’ll probably get all literature posted back to you unopened.
So, harsh as it may sound, I declined the message. Only to get two more with lots of question marks and exclamation marks as though I’ve done something heinous. In the end I send a brief reply outlining the above. So I’m now giving notice – if I don’t know you well on LinkedIn and you want that type of information – I’ll give it to you at my normal daily working rate. Please DM me, I’d be more than happy to hear from you.
The other message came from a man asking me to buy his book. It’s related to raising money for charity, it’s a dreadful personal story. The first time I received this message, I replied in some detail. I’ve received it again, the same message clearly sent out as a round-robin request a few months later.
How do I feel about that? My empathy is the same but I still feel like I’m being barked at in a very personal way. If I want to buy a book I will, please don’t try to make me guilty enough to buy it. I went through a hard time with a terrible illness a few years ago and I started to write a book about it – but don’t worry I won’t send you personal messages trying to sell it to you. I’ll let you know about it in passing and the rest is up to you!
Is there an etiquette to this type of marketing? I don’t really know. I just know what really annoys me.
And by the way, I’m holding a DIY PR day for business women on October 23 in Swindon to help you do your own PR stuff. If you are interested – just contact us through this website. I won’t be sending you direct messages on LinkedIn!