It’s not personal. It’s business!

So I get this email with the following subject line:  Светлана Гурьева requested to add you as a connection on LinkedIn. And I think to myself…what was this person thinking…or was this person thinking at all.

Justin, my eclectus parrot, has 1300+ friends on his Facebook page.  Many of them do not speak English and many of them do not even write English.  I get invites that look like this: 昱淇王 wants to be friends with you on Facebook.  Those I understand. There is a measure of pride for some to have a zillion friends on Facebook. Justin Eclectus included. And so people randomly friend friends of friends that are listed in the sidebar, just to up their numbers.  And as long as those friends are birds, and I don’t really need to interact with them, well, hey, it’s a fun numbers game.

But LinkedIn is a business networking tool.  And while there is a benefit to linking in with many people, there is no benefit to me to link in with someone whose native language is one that I can’t understand.  I have to suspect that this request from Светлана Гурьева is just a version of the “friend everyone on Facebook principle” applied to LinkedIn.  And herein lies the problem.  We think that what we do with social media on a personal basis can be copied for our business.  And that’s just not true.

Using social media for business…be it LinkedIn, Twitter, a Facebook page, whatever…requires a real strategy.  A specific goal about what we are trying to communicate about ourselves and our business, knowledge of who we are trying to communicate it to, and a strategy that will engage these people to get involved with our brand and to pass along to their “friends” the information we want them to have.  That is, after all, why it’s called social media. The information that is posted about our businesses needs to be well thought out, devoid of any polarizing messages (unless we are willing to eliminate a customer base) and relevant to our audience. Most importantly, it needs to be consistent with the impression we want to leave.

Branding isn’t about how many people know you or your company.  It isn’t a numbers game…although numbers certainly help. Branding is about how many people know the meaning attached to you or your company.  Social media can be a great tool for communicating that meaning.  If you use it strategically.

PS. Since I wrote this, Нинуля Никитина also wants to be linked in with me. What’s a girl to do?

  • Pat Gericke
    Posted at 20:07h, 25 June Reply

    It is so great to hear someone actually put in words the real idea behind connecting on the various social media outlets. I, for one, look at it the same way I approach face to face networking – would you connect with sdomeone that you cannot honestly recommend and stand behind. Thank you Geri – I have beome selective in connecting with “friends”.
    As you said it so simply – Its not personal, its business.

  • Lisa Skye
    Posted at 08:10h, 26 June Reply

    Agreed! LinkedIn is a place where I want to KNOW – or have at least MET – the people I’m connected to…

  • Libby
    Posted at 13:44h, 28 June Reply

    Love this one! So on point. And as far as I can tell, you can’t “unlink” a connection on LinkedIn the way you can “unfriend” someone on facebook (as I’ve accidently hit accept to people I didn’t necessarily want to).

    Hi Justin!

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