Ok so it’s fair to say this is a bit of a rant but the reality is it needs to be said. If you are going to use LinkedIn for Business then you might as well do it well. After all, I’m sure you are busy too and if you have read this far then relationships are probably important to you too.
A couple of weeks ago I had a work anniversary on LinkedIn, Social Media AOK turned 4 – which for those of you who own their own business, know is a great milestone. We are on the way to hitting year 5 which is apparently some kind of magic number. Anyway I digress, as a direct result of my somewhat prolific use of LinkedIn my email inbox as well as my LinkedIn one was inundated with a flood of generic “Congrats!” messages, which for someone whose inbox is busy enough, is really irritating.
Here’s why –
1. I still had to read them all.
The reality is that in amongst the many many generic congrats (over 1500 of them in fact) there were some people who had actually taken the time to write something that was considered, or warranted a response. Some had even asked if I wanted to catch up for coffee, #Winning.
The last thing I wanted to do was ignore someone who had actually taken the time to pen a thoughtful response to what is a pretty good achievement so I diligently sorted through them all to find the rare gems that were personalised responses.
2. A generic message does not a relationship build.
Have you ever heard the saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care?”. It’s a great one to keep front of mind. Any LinkedIn user knows you can just push a button, but how does that tell me that you actually remember something about me or my business?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the warm and fuzzies of a personal email as much as the next person, in fact in someways it is one of the highlights of being in business for yourself seeing the impact you can have in demystifying social media and it’s business applications through training or coaching. All I am saying is take the time to write something that means something or further builds on our relationship.
So that being said, I am not a fan of complaining for complaining’s sake – so here are my top 3 ways to strengthen your relationships by using the LinkedIn congrats function a little differently:
1. Why not text instead?
If your relationship with the person who had the job anniversary is strong enough why not text (SMS) them something like:
“Hey Simone I noticed on LinkedIn you just hit 4 years at Social Media AOK, hope things are still going gangbusters. I haven’t seen you for a while are you up for a coffee or lunch sometime soon?”
Why text? Because you aren’t really adding to the noise and why ask to catch up? Let’s be honest here, relationships are built face to face, catching up face to face is always preferable because it strengthens the relationship.
2. Don’t have their mobile? Email is your friend.
You have their email address and again if the relationship is important enough to you then you will take the time to craft something that is more relevant than a stock standard “Congrats!”
Subject Line: How goes things in the world of Social Media?
Saw that you just ticked over 4 years with Social Media AOK, It has been impressive watching you develop the business and I just checked out your LinkedIn profile, noticed you have added some interesting projects, be great to catch up sometime soon.
Email isn’t difficult but it says you took some time and personalising the message again tells me you took 5 minutes out of your busy day and I appreciate it.
3. You are going to do the LinkedIn thing hey?
Well make it count, at least personalise it and don’t forget the coffee.
If you missed the work anniversary don’t worry, I am always up for a coffee, ask anyone and if you’d like some training in how to maximise your LinkedIn account to go from connection, to coffee, to business – check out our upcoming social media training courses.