As I increase my Linkedin activity I’m noticing things I like but also some user habits I find annoying. Folks with the need for real answers to real questions get attacked by sales people trolling in the groups. Before you get your underwear in a bundle – yes, I am also there to potentially connect with future customers – I am there to listen and offer my advice, as well as point people towards useful resources when I can.
Two friends recently emailed, suggesting I look at a question in a Linkedin group we participate in. As I read the question, it was clear I had subject mater expertise that would be helpful to the individual asking the question. Next, I decided to read the existing answers to make sure I was not duplicating efforts and also to see if I might learn something.
Competitive intelligence. Know what I learned? I found out who every significant global competitor I have is (some I had never even heard of). Almost every answer was a sales pitch with a link to a product page. Really people? How about responding with links to useful articles and resources you are aware of? This could even include white papers and blog posts sponsored by your company. No pitch, just information and an offer to provide additional resources should the questioner need them.
I took this approach and within one hour my phone rang. While not the original questioner, the caller is a high level member of the color team for a major brand. He began the conversation by quoting an entire paragraph of material I had linked to in my answer. We then talked for about half an hour and scheduled a future call.
Linkedin groups are about answering questions and helping people, not pointing them straight at your product and sales pages. The people who find your information and approach useful will find those pages on their own.
Save your sales pitch for another time and place. At least that’s my take – what’s yours?