The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.Unknown
It seems that LinkedIn is evolving and trying to turn itself into a sales powerhouse. In this case, it is the LinkedIn members who are being targeted and even the expensive paid Premium subscribers who are the product.
Some LinkedIn genius decided to add a few automated tools so sellers could reach out to targets (you and me) and generate humongous volumes of sales leads. The sad issue is that I get about 10 to 20 of these phony connection invitations every day. It is exhausting.
So, I must question about the effectiveness of this process. Normally I just delete them as spam. Sometimes I ask the sender to remove me from their junk mailing list – probably a stupid thing to do. Rarely do I engage with them.
These messages are all sent under the pretense of reaching out to so called “like minded individuals“, but are really just mass mailing blasts cloaked in fake friendship invitations. The senders blindly launches a barrage of the exact same message to hundreds, thousands, or who knows how many defenceless LinkedIn recipients with the expectation (hope) of hunting down some new business.
Now, I am all for business, do not misunderstand. But, when I joined LinkedIn it was a business social media site to create meaningful business contacts. Many others thought it would help them find suitable employment. Now, I feel like we members solely exist so others can market to us. LinkedIn is monetizing my profile to prospective sellers and earning revenues from my profile – I am now their product. Since I paid to be a Premium customer, I find this action to be highly offensive and completely unethical and plan to end my premium status immediately. They have broken the trust with me. Shame on them. So, why should I give them money to be a premium member of this quasi pyramid marketing scheme?
I clearly know they are bulk mailing to me because of the manner that I am being addressed in the messages. It is a highly irregular way to say, “Dear Mr. So in so”. Now, just this morning I saw five ads on LinkedIn to teach other LinkedIn users how to harvest sales contacts from the LinkedIn site. So, the perpetrators buy these cookie-cutter training courses and then replicate the mass mailing method. What is most humourous is the similarity of all of these messages. They attempt to be authentic and serious, but due to the cloned sheep approach, and the 99.9% homogenized similarity between the various senders, they expose the failed methodology.
Can this be working? Is it effective? Am I the only one who sees the folly in all of this blast mailing stupidity? One size does not fit all, folks. To be effective in selling on social media, you must be credible. You must be authentic. These fake messages are neither credible nor authentic.
It is a far better and perhaps a much more effective strategy to ‘pull’ rather than to ‘push’ perspective clients. Pulling means that you have the customers come to you, rather than you having to force yourself on to them. They will most certainly and vehemently resist unwelcome and fake push intrusions. But, like bees, they will fly directly to the honey, if it is there.
The change in the character of LinkedIn has been noticed by many. I have heard of, and seen many friends leave LinkedIn as a result of the chaotic changes and lack of proper consideration of their members since Microsoft took over in 2018. There is no argument and no doubt that LinkedIn is a business and must be profitable and growing. But, I fear that the path that LinkedIn is currently pursuing is counter intuitive to these longer term business objectives.
The users of this pretend friend methodology lack sophistication and awareness of even the most basic marketing techniques. These LinkedIn phonies are fast becoming the online social media equivalent of the phone telemarketers that call from India offering me ‘duct cleaning’ services. How ever did we survive during the previous 100 years with dirty ducts?
As a Canadian, I receive LinkedIn bulk mailing messages from California, Pennsylvania, Texas, as well as many other states asking for a brief telephone call or to meet for a quick coffee?
With the borders closed between the two countries, face-to-face connections are not even physically possible, let alone affordable with the phenomenal travel expenses.
Clearly they have no idea with whom they are trying to connect with – I am just a prospect – nothing more. It tells me that they are mindlessly blasting outward without even an inkling with whom they are targeting. Mail blasting outside the country is foolish and wasteful at the best of times. Heck, it is a foolish strategy anyplace that you cannot directly service a customer, so outside of the state / province, region, or city often is wasteful too.
Yes, I fully appreciate that we now live in a virtual world. I am virtual perhaps 4 to 8 hours everyday too. But, providing adequate customer care demands elite customer service, especially online where it is far more difficult to provide. Time means money, so borders, time zones, currency exchange, customs, taxes, miles, and cultural understanding are all barriers to success. These roadblocks to success indicate that proximity still truly matters.
So, I must wonder how much LinkedIn charged them for these ‘qualified‘ mailing lists loaded with potential prospects that have a zero chances of monetized success? And, the sellers are offering me services that hold absolutely no interest to me. There is no fit whatsoever. Again, they have no idea who I am or what I need. They are wildly missing the target
One guy even pitched me on how effective he was as a IoT consultant and his message had several grade one mistakes related to IoT. Did I mention that I am a 40 year veteran of advanced technology and operate as an IoT consultant? He was completely oblivious to this glaring marketing mistake – to know your customer – the deeper the better!
Ever since LinkedIn removed the ability in December 2018 to actually build your individual social eminence on the site and added artificial intelligence that statistically grooms your followers and subtracts daily head count numbers from your audience, it is getting harder to build a community of like-minded people. So, even the pull approach is getting challenging.
This week I decided to surrender to the LinkedIn automated machinery and to stop trying to build my social media influence as a business and technology thought leader. Now, I will simply let the LinkedIn artificial intelligence robot apply its formulaic entropy and slowly decay my account until it vapourizes into the ether. It is sad to let it go after so many years, but I never agreed to be the product here. It is akin to losing a close friend who has gotten rather shaky and gone a wee bit “whoopsie“. Time to move on.
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He offers his services on a contracting basis. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 20 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.