LinkedIn used to be an exceptional way to network with others in your industry or potential clients through a powerful business-to-business social media platform. Being able to connect with other business professionals in your city through a simple LinkedIn message asking to sit down for coffee was simply incredible.
The result of this method? More business. Even if that person was not interested in hiring your company, you now have a much larger network and if the meeting went well you have someone who will tell others about your business.
Today, many business people are simply avoiding LinkedIn because it has slowly but surely changed from being a platform to grow your network to a platform that key influencers are starting to avoid.
In short, businesses are ruining LinkedIn networking - and here's how.
#1 Ineffectively Using Group Messaging
Groups are great, don't get me wrong, but free group messaging is ultimately contributing to what may be the downfall of LinkedIn. Let me give you a personal example.
As a business owner, my time is incredibly limited. However, I've always made time for LinkedIn. I checked my messages frequently with almost all of them being completely relevant. Today, unfortunately, that is not the case. As I write this I have 40 unread messages in my LinkedIn inbox and every single one of them is spam.
I can guarantee that just about everyone has received a message like the one below (identifying elements were removed):
What I miss are the messages asking for a meeting over coffee. I know most business people are more than happy to meet with locals who are interested in networking, learning more about their business, and sharing about theirs.
These group messages are basically copy and paste and lack the personable messages that were once the foundation of LinkedIn.
#2 Using LinkedIn as a Billboard
LinkedIn, like other social media networks, has become a way for businesses to broadcast their business messages to the masses. However, LinkedIn should be a platform where professionals can interact with and learn from one another.
There are so many professionals on LinkedIn that are within your industry. Why have we stopped using LinkedIn as a means to learn from and engage with our peers? Groups are designed to do just that; however, without someone actively monitoring the groups to ensure business plugs aren't the focus each group quickly becomes a billboard.
In short, businesses are using LinkedIn to broadcast their message instead of interacting and engaging with others.
#3 Leaving LinkedIn All Together
Many businesses have basically decided to leave LinkedIn. Sure, the numbers are staying the same (or growing) when it comes to members; however, how many business executives are actually logging into LinkedIn on a regular basis, checking groups, and engaging? Very few.
Instead, businesses are hiring people to manage their personal LinkedIn profiles, which results in using LinkedIn as a billboard. Don't get me wrong, you can hire people to help with social media; however, you should never turn over all of the reins. If you want the most out of LinkedIn and other social media platforms, you have to make sure you are still engaged.
At the end of the day, businesses are ruining LinkedIn by using it as a marketing platform instead of a networking platform. Until we get back to using LinkedIn as a way to connect and network with others, we will continue to see executives and key decision-makers leaving LinkedIn.
Fortunately, there are some great, new additions to LinkedIn that if used correctly can foster more engagements (such as published posts and Pulse).
The moral of the story: Stop using LinkedIn as a billboard and challenge yourself to engage!