LinkedIn is not a difficult concept to understand. The ‘World’s Largest Professional Network’. What else do you need to know?
Well, you need to know about the LinkedIn knobheads.
Within its 470m registered users, there are going to be a few knobheads who don’t fully comprehend the idea of inbound marketing or networking in a social business marketplace. But you can still build a worthwhile professional network of colleagues, customers and prospects. It’s not difficult – you just need some contacts, like me for example…
For me to accept the invitation to join your network, however, you’ll need to provide me with some context. Even the LinkedIn default invitation provides some context – “Hi, I’d like to join your LinkedIn Network.” However tenuous the link, you’ve sent me an invitation and I’ll most likely review it. At this point you have a 50/50 chance of success. I’m going to assess your profile, make a contextual decision and accept your invitation to connect, or not.
Anything else in that invitation will achieve one of three outcomes. It will have no impact, in which case the odds remain at 50/50 – I might connect with you, I might nuke you. Or it could have a positive impact. You might be sending me a personal message for example. Or reminding me of a past meeting. You may even be a prospective client. There’s always a chance, sometimes a good chance, that I’ll say, “yes,” and accept – at the very least you’ll have improved your brand awareness. And that’s how we build a mutually beneficial network of valuable contacts. See? It’s not so tough.
Then there’s the third ‘negative option’… Despite being offered the default 50/50 option, you decide to write your own invitation of incomprehensible B2B marketing bollocks and immediately identify yourself as a knobhead. Need an example of B2B marketing bollocks? Ok, here’s one I’ve been saving for you, fresh from my ‘You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me’ folder:
This invitation is waiting for your response –
I’d like to send you info, for synergies with our Productive IT Mar-Tech managed B2B-B2C-C2C ‘Search & Social-Media’ Humanized Content H2H Services Production, Publishing & Broadcast for CSR, Advocacy, Politics, Lux, Brands, eCom, eGov Policy, Crisis, Diplomacy, PR, Influence
Xxx Xxx (Name and company supplied/withheld to protect the indescribably stupid.)
What the fuck is that?
A single, 40-word sentence of utter, utter nonsense. Meaningless drivel. Random punctuation, unfathomable grammar and at least six TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). A string of words, many of which aren’t even words, with meanings that have no meaning. Zero comprehension. Negative brand value.
Here was the perfect opportunity to offer a concise, creative and compelling story to competitively position the corporate brand. A chance to attach value to the communication. And this was instead of the 50/50 LinkedIn default? The guy proactively and consciously chose to send this tripe. Wow. It takes a special kind of stupid to do that. I guess this is what happens when the CTO is put in charge of the B2B marketing strategy. Maybe all CTOs just want to ‘send info for synergies’ – whatever that is.
Has B2B marketing been reduced to a stream of SEO buzzwords? Has LinkedIn reduced character, personality and creative marketing into faceless, meaningless, automated spam? When I give presentations about the opportunity to build business brands with social platforms and the complete inability of most brands to harness the potential – this is what I’m talking about.
Hang on though, what if the entire B2B marketing community was actually full of incoherent knobheads spouting incomprehensible bollocks about nothing of any consequence? What if every meeting, every communication, every piece of B2B marketing said the same old thing, in the same old way and became faceless, meaningless, automated spam. One bunch of knobheads broadcasting noise at another bunch of knobheads.
Nah. That could never happen.