What your Employees are doing on LinkedIn that’s Ruining your Company’s Reputation
LinkedIn is an awesome tool, as we all know. THE business social network has uncovered a great deal of opportunity for job seekers, master networkers, company brands, content marketers, recruiters and sales personnel. The “winner take all” concept has landed in LinkedIn’s lap, with no real competitor anywhere in sight. LinkedIn has enormous upside for additional functionality, growth and revenue potential, with very few limitations. It’s extremely exciting to see where LinkedIn continues to expand.
However, along with such a great, free, semi-uncensored tool at our fingertips, a significant challenge of censorship and messaging control comes into play. What I am referring to specifically is the methods by which your employees are using the contact data for company benefit, and what content/messages/status they are posting/sharing/InMailing.
We are in the thick of the digital era, where most companies have the ability to perform a more thorough due diligence prior to engaging in conversation or returning calls. Buyers want to see what to investigate your personal and company persona so they know whether there is a match for continued discussion. However, for them to engage, all of the steps along the way need to be tight and make perfect sense for the buyer to spend their time with your employee or your company.
I have witnessed three glowing examples in the past two weeks that made me stop in my tracks and scratch my head wondering what the heck people are thinking. All three of these experiences, in my opinion, destroyed the credibility of the individual and potentially the organization that these people represent. At echogravity, we typically like to talk about the “how-to’s” and “educational material”, but for the sake of this article, these outright activities compelled me to call out a few experiences and make an example of what shouldn’t be done with LinkedIn information.
- It’s amazing to me that people use “questionable” words to grab attention. I’m no angel, but I think it is completely out of line to refer to anyone in a business setting as a d-bag (shortened for obvious reasons), regardless of who they are referring to. Check this out:
Is it me, or is this way out of line? Maybe this is some sort of ploy to gain personal traffic by way of disruption and use of vulgar words? In this example, it’s probably not so much of an issue because this person is apparently his own boss. However, if this guy was actually on someone’s payroll, some questions would be in play and I would anticipate a memo landing on his desk.
- It’s also commonplace that recruiters use LinkedIn the wrong way to communicate with prospective candidates. I received this InMail last week, which seems to be a trend:
After receiving this and collecting myself after laughing, I replied to the email and asked this person to give me three reasons why they think I am a good fit- he never replied. Now, if I was a candidate with the skills he was seeking, maybe I would reply with some questions to further ascertain the match. However, since I haven’t held a position with “recruiter” in the title since 1995, and I have zero experience in medical manufacturing, I realize that this individual doesn’t really know how to recruit. Their company is also perfectly fine hiring people that don’t know how to recruit. It didn’t cost them anything outside of an InMail, but if I was a fringe candidate or a potential candidate for another one of their positions, I would likely pass on even working with this recruiter and company because my first impression is that these guys don’t get it. Personally, I would rather work with a recruiter and company that really understands their clients’ business and my individual skills.
- From a sales perspective, I don’t mind people reaching out to me by way of LinkedIn to attempt to sell me services. In fact, I find it quite interesting to hear the (“unique”) messages and value propositions that people throw at me. The bad thing is that most of the pitches I get are way off center and not even close to what I “might” be in the market to purchase. We are strong believers in “target marketing” and hitting the right buyer persona between the eyes with the right message. Obviously, most companies and individuals don’t buy into this strategy, as proven in this (one of many) email I just received:
A few things stick out to me in this Connection request: Our company name is capitalized (and shouldn’t be) and “my role” at echogravity is quite clear in my profile, which this person obviously looked at. Additionally, had this person gone one step deeper by looking at our company profile, they would’ve quickly seen that it is highly unlikely that echogravity is a buyer of temp services. This request also raises an eyebrow because I quickly wonder why a sales representative from a global staffing company is prospecting in this manner, without a plan.
In addition to the mismatch of prospect targeting, I received the following email after I told this person that his services aren’t a match to our business:
This email opens up a whole new can of worms, but focusing on the language and grammar used in both communications solidifies that I probably won’t buy (when, or if we are in position) from this company or individual because I am not sure they would take the time to understand MY business or my needs as a buyer.
These examples tie back to the use of LinkedIn as a networking and business development tool and what your employees/contractors do with the information they create or obtain. With the right strategy and training, sky is the limit on the actual results to be captured from LinkedIn. Companies as a whole need to step back and talk to their staff about how these platforms should be used, how to effectively represent your business in a social setting, the right ways to prospect on LinkedIn, and how to successfully utilize the contact information within a sales and prospecting process. It’s a great idea to write social media policies for all of your employee types and to set standards for communication. Developing and implementing a social media communication plan is a large task, but it’s vital to remember that the people running rampant around these platforms are ultimately representing your business.