I have been a member of LinkedIn for 6-7 years now and while I spent the first few not really doing much on it as I just didn’t need to I now find that it is one of the places I focus. What I cannot understand is why so many people even bother being on the site,. I have 1st level connections to maybe 2,500 people which leads to a daunting 25 million or so. While this sounds awesome the reality is it mean very little. Can’t get to them no matter what I try.
PERCEPTION VERSUS REALITY
I thought LinkedIn and other Social Media was to connect with people. I might have been wrong because I have found that even the people that connect with me don’t want to engage. Connecting is meaningless unless there is engagement. I challenge and will continue to challenge people to stop connecting with others if you have no plans to hear them out.
One day I thought about it for a while and imagined (more like a delusional state) what would happen if I sent a direct message to every one of my LinkedIn connections. How would they respond? Now depending on what type of business you have and what products and services you provide would give a much different result. So in this delusion I looked at a business I am n the board of, an Online Custom Suit and Shirt company, yes I wear the clothes. Because I am not here to advertise I will leave the name out. So in this fantasy I asked each of my connections to first look at the business and then send it out to everyone of their connections and ask the same of them,. This would then get my message to the 25 million in my extended network. Going down this line of thinking I then wondered what the conversion rate would be. So I used a simple number of 1%. As I figured just about every male in my network and I am sure in theirs wears a suit at one time or another. Location is irrelevant as it is an online business. I then figured that 50% were women so I cut the 1% in half. That leaves 125,000 buyers. A suit will average $500 and a Shirt $75. If each of the 125,000 bought a suit it would add up to $62,500.00 and if each just bought a shirt it would come to $9,375,000. Either number would be incredible.
Is this really too much to ask for. I mean if someone asked me to do the same and it was a viable product I would happily do this. I just don’t get it. Why are we connected if we are not engaging and helping one another? My frustration is this should be very possible and is the exact reason we are all on these sites or at least I thought.
So what is the problem? I think the problem is many people are on there to simply collect names as a badge of honor or something as I have heard so many times people bragging about how many connections they have. I always ask how many do you actually engage with? This question leads to a blank stare and silence because they don’t engage with any. The other side of this is selfishness and simply engaging only when it suits them. There is never an end to the messages I get promoting ones products, the ones that are asking for money on the greatest deal ever, or the I got a new career for you if your unhappy messages. Not one that actually says hey how we can work together. What makes you tick and what is it I can do to help your business.
What is the solution?
I have made it a practice to at the very least respond to everyone who reaches out to me. Most of the time they are asking me for money on some kind of deal or asking if I want to change my career but occasionally I get something worth looking at. Well the same should go for the 2,500 in my network. I am sure that 10% of them could use my B2B product themselves if not more and anyone of them that wears a men’s suit or shirt could use very easily be a customer. I get very little back in the way of true networking from LinkedIn but I won’t quit as i know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I mean what is the point in accepting a networking connection if you don’t plan to give someone the time of day.
I have personally reached out to many in my network without even the decency of a response of not interested. I have never advertised my product through LinkedIn nor have I ever sent a random message to my network asking them to buy something or give me money for a deal I am involved in. I have however asked to reach out to have a call. This is where I get irritated. I want to take up 5 minutes of someone who has agreed to network with me and they don’t respond. What the hell is that about?
I am about to make another go at this and ask everyone in my network for a quick call so I can get a better sense of what they do and how I can help and if there is a way they can help me.
I will report on my exact number for this and then we can open a discussion about this topic.