LinkedIn is a fabulous networking tool, when used properly. Unfortunately, sometimes people get a bit “off track” and end up annoying the very people they are connected with.

I am what LinkedIn considers a “LION” – a LinkedIn Open Networker. Basically, this means that I will connect with virtually anyone. However, when I get a request to connect from someone I don’t know, I look at their Profile – especially if they didn’t tell me “why” they wanted to connect. Unless it’s clear that they are a spammer, I’ll connect.

Recently, I received a request to connect from a woman who didn’t give me a reason and used the default of “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” When I viewed her Profile, it appeared that she was fairly new to LinkedIn. She has less than 200 connections and her Profile is extremely sparse. She only has her current (Consultant at Self Employed) and prior job, as well as one listing for education – none of which contained any information or detail. She also didn’t have a Summary or any further information. But, I connected anyway because I often have “newbies” connect with me so they can learn more about LinkedIn.

Within three days, I received this message from her, via LinkedIn:

    Hello,

    Did I hear right? Are you guys considering voice over ip? If so, make sure you read this:

    [URL]

    Good luck.

Not sure where she “heard” I was considering VOIP, as I’m not. I also didn’t click the link, for fear it was a virus, spam, or otherwise harmful.

The next day, I received another message:

    Hello,

    I recently came across a vendor who has links to social media profiles! Instead of using lists as we have for years, we changed it up a little and started to do a little more research on the person so we can have more targeted campaigns, this has helped up tremendously! This is definitely a new way to market. If you ever need anything like this, I suggest you contact [name and email address]. She can also help you with any of your other marketing needs.

Huh?

This time, I replied, stating that the power of LinkedIn lies in developing relationships with people, not in spamming them with unsolicited sales messages. I also pointed out that if she had read my Profile, she wouldn’t be suggesting I needed to learn about social media!

I’ll admit, I may have been a bit snarky, and she never responded.

I have several reasons to write about this. First, her Profile is so incomplete that it’s doing her more harm than good. Everyone is a “beginner” on LinkedIn at some point – but before really connecting with people, make sure your Profile is very robust and complete.

Second, she made a crucial error in sending spammy messages. While I didn’t report her to LinkedIn, someone else may – and she could lose her account. Maybe it doesn’t mean that much to her, but why risk it?

As I told her, successfully using LinkedIn is all about developing relationships – not “sell, sell, sell.” I’d love to hear what you think about this situation. Comment below!

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