LinkedIn is great for business to business, and sometimes business to consumer. It can be weird for some, in so much as it’s a strange cross between Facebook/Twitter, but with a business focus. People seem to get itchy/upset when you talk about personal things on there (“this isn’t Facebook” comes up a lot).

The thing is, it’s actually a good idea to keep your content personal, and to ensure whatever you put ‘out there’ so to speak, is a reflection of you. If you put on a false persona to try and please your prospective audience, you’ll end up with clients you don’t want/need or even like.

I’ve written about in my book (“The Disorganised Business Owner’s Bible”) about the importance of polarisation. By injecting your personality into your content, you ensure that you attract those that are like you, and those that like you… and repel those that don’t like you (and that aren’t like you).

The end result of that, is a client that stays with you for longer, and you have a better, more robust relationship. I’ve openly said in the past, and in fact frequently say this to new/prospective clients – I don’t take on clients I wouldn’t go for a pint with. If we’re not prepared to sit down and have a laugh together, what makes you think we’d be a good fit together in business?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the approach many people take with their marketing. Even worse, there are a lot of people out there that classify themselves as gurus and position themselves as leaders, when in fact, they haven’t really got a clue about marketing whatsoever. Whenever your checking whose advice to take (including mine) do your research, verify client results, and get evidence they know what they’re talking about.

But the worst approach I see, on a practically daily basis, is cold messaging on LinkedIn. Now, I assume, by the fact it must be a numbers game – it must bring some results for those that do it. But it must be horrendous, with the amount of effort expended for the return disproportionate – not to mention the abuse some must receive.

But let’s be practical, and give some useful advice here. Here are the top THREE reasons it’s an awful approach:

  1. Positioning. I’m not saying you should always position yourself as an expert, because – well – you might not be an expert. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? But… cold messaging in this way is worse than cold calling. It stinks of desperation, and that positions you not only as someone who’s not an expert – but someone who is highly unlikely to be of any value at all. In all the years I’ve used LinkedIn, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with someone who’s cold messaged me unrelated to anything I’ve posted… but I’ve worked with a lot of people who simply put out interesting/informative content.

  2. Time/effort vs return. I’m all for putting in effort for ‘organic’ results. There are a lot of bad places you can put your energy though. Like SEO, cold messaging on LinkedIn offers you no guarantees/returns. There’s no SLA (Service Level Agreement) and 9/10 all you’re doing is irritating people. If your time / energy was focused purely on delivering interesting/informative content that your audience opted in to receive, you’ll get a much higher quality lead.

  3. It’s as bad as email spam. You hate those junk mails in your inbox, don’t you? It’s an uninvited intrusion into your personal space. Would you you like me to walk into your living room and start talking about why my web design services would be transformational to you? I doubt it. If you want to ask someone a genuine question, or you have an enquiry… knock yourself out. But to deliver broad, untargeted fluff to contacts who have no interest in receiving it, perhaps you need to question your life choices.

This post might come across as a little harsh, and it’s not intended to be so necessarily. I’ve always wanted to help people, and to help them grow their business, and I hope to the right set of eyes, this post will help ensure people follow ethical tried and tested tactics to help them with their overall strategy.

I’m also not saying there’s no place for private messaging in LinkedIn. I’ve private messaged many people that I’ve previously never spoken to. But there’s always been a reason and the message has been relevant. For example, someone asked for advice/help on marketing. I’m not about to go into detail publicly, or give free personalised marketing advice, so I dropped them a message to find out if they’d like a copy of my book (which they did get, and as far as I know, found very useful).

But as I’ve outlined above… cold messaging people a clearly templated waffle script is tantamount to wandering the streets, asking every single person you meet if they want to buy what you’ve got. Ask enough people, you’ll get a sale… but boy will it be hard work, depressing, and you’ll piss a lot of people off.

We’re no longer taking on clients, but if you’d like help with your marketing, get in touch and I can either add you to our waiting list, or I can refer you to a trusted associate.