As far as online business networking goes, Linked In is a great platform for many business owners and entrepreneurs looking to make connections and promote their services. It is more business orientated than the ‘fluffier’ Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to cut to the chase without needing to be particularly entertaining or humorous. You simply need to state what you do and who you are interested in doing business with, making it a very no-nonsense network.
For the more involved users there is the opportunity to engage in discussions, either posting your own or joining in other peoples. These are great for asking or giving advice as well as promoting your company. You could start a topical discussion on your industry to get people talking and engaging with you or you could be more ‘to the point’ and post your latest company news, for example a new product launch. The former technique tends to have the best results in terms of responses particularly if your discussion is helpful in some way or offers value, for example: ‘Share your website here!’
Successful discussion topics I have posted included asking for people’s opinions on our new logo designs (a great way to get our brand talked about) and asking for people’s opinions on high art gallery’s commission fees (our company is an online art gallery with a USP of being commission-free, a great way to subtly mention this in the ensuing conversation.)
As a social network it is by its very nature going to attract different opinions and ‘free flowing’ conversations. When you post a comment or discussion you cannot control who engages with you and not every comment will be positive. Most people start or enter into a discussion in the spirit of adding positive value as we are all business people trying to make a living in difficult times and there is generally a mutual respect for one another. However while we are often supportive of each other we are not, as business people, generally in the game of blowing smoke up other people’s a*se for the sake of it so don’t be surprised if some of the comments you receive seem a little harsh or provocative. (Some of the comments on my logo designs included ‘really don’t like any of them’.) At least you will find people speaking the truth on Linked In!
That said, there is a minority of users, known as LILM’s, a phrase I coined for the down-right nasty users who go out of their way to infiltrate good spirited discussions with school bully type viciousness. Standing for ‘Linked In Loud Mouths’ these users offer no value whatsoever to discussions and only serve to disrupt them. They personally attack either the person who started the discussion or others who have engaged in it (very awkward for the person who started the discussion.) We have all come across a LILM. They can be identified most noticeably by the bizarre way that they usually write one of the longer posts in the discussion all about how uninterested they are in the discussion. Their motives are very clear cut - to belittle someone or make nasty accusations and insinuations rather than offer a genuine polite criticism. As business people most of us are able to brush these comments aside and not take them personally. We also have faith that the remaining majority of the people in the discussion will realise they are a LILM and not be persuaded by their negative views on our company, product or service.
However, they are annoying, like a tick or a blood-sucking leech and there is now the opportunity to shame them by sending them to this post, suggesting they may ‘find this of interest.’
You can also state on your discussion posts that ‘LILMs Are Not Welcome’ or ‘No LILMs’
(The braver may decide to state that ‘LILMs Are Most Welcome’....)
Melanie Burnell, Artists Info