Friday July 30, 2010
On Wednesday I gave a free LinkedIn webinar with an amazing group of folks from MLTCreative. They invested a lot of money to give away, in the spirit of social media, this free webinar and eBook. While the event was greatly appreciated by most of the participants, there was one notable exception. (As a diclaimer - this response is entirely my own and is not associated with MLT who has done an exemplary job and should only receive accolades for their efforts)
Because I believe in transparency, I would like to address his concerns:
This gentleman wrote:
IA being her affiliate business Integrated Alliances. I was wondering if she is actually LinkedIn certified or "IA LinkedIn Certified"? No problem - I have been reading about LinkedIn's certified program lately (in beta) and they have only certified a few people and they are mostly in Europe.
If you reach out to connect to 3 new people you don't know 3x week you will definitely get your profile shut down.
Speaking of the "end-user agreement," Doesn't being a LION go against the end-user agreement?
I fully understand his concerns. LinkedIn does specify that you should only connect to people you know.
I was mistaken about the EUA - I haven't been there for awhile, and it seems that they have taken the restrictions out of that area - granted I only scanned it, so I might be wrong.
As a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) I do accept invitations from people I don't know, and I will also occasionally reach out to people I don't know if I think they would be a good fit as a partner, client, vendor or referral. I DO NOT, nor do I advocate, reaching out to people with a blatant sales message. First of all because no one will read it, and secondly, because as this gentleman suggested, you could very get your account shut down.
So here was my response which the webinar facilitators may or may not forward to him:
Yes – I am "IA certified" – you will notice I have IA certified in all my BIO’s as LinkedIn didn’t have a certification program when I started using them. BTW - I am no longer associated with IA in any way!
I suppose I could get certified with LinkedIn now, but there are some– as you pointed out – practices I have - namely open networking - that are not in complete alignment with their end user agreement.
I also make sure that when I talk about being a LION, I don’t recommend it for everyone.
From everything I have read about the new CEO, Jeff Weiner, I believe that he is moving LinkedIn towards being more open, but that is just my opinion.
The only thing I would have to disagree with is the 3/3/3 rule. I think if you are respecting of your network when you reach out to three new people, you should do nothing but enhance your network and build powerful relationships. As I mentioned many times – this is not about reaching out and hawking your wares, it’s about finding three people you genuinely want to communicate with. I agree with you, to abuse your network to simply sell you stuff is, in my opinion, out of alignment. But isn’t LinkedIn here to help us get to know the folks in our network better?
I’ve been at this practice for several years and I have met some amazing people. But then I never try to sell myself as a consultant unless they ask me for more info.
That’s a best practice I picked up in twitter and facebook.
I know there are many people uncomfortable with LIONs, and I certainly know a few who have abused their position, but in most cases LIONs are respectful of their network. I apologize for my fellow LIONs if you have not experienced the same.
I honor your position as a strategic networker and hope you will continue to find many powerful connections and much return on your time investment within LinkedIn.
Viveka von Rosen.
I don't know if he will ever read this post - but I encourage healthy debate! After all, some of my best friends are strategic netowrkers or LamB's (which is a term my friend Laurie Macomber came up with which strands for ( "Look at my buddies".)
TIPS TO TAKE AWAY:
- It is your choice whether to invite, or accept an invitation. Be clear on how YOU want to use LinkedIn
- If you do reach out to strangers on LinkedIn, at the very least check out their profiles and know who they are before extending an invitation.
- Don't pass along introductions unless you are confortable doing so. (I put an extended message of who I will and won't extend introduction for in my "Contact Me" section)
- Whether a LION or a LamB, NEVER use the invitation to send a sales letter.
- Be respectful of your network, no matter what the size!
Are you a LION or a LamB - let us know why!