I view myself as a fairly productive writer of online content actually worth reading (IMHO). I write frequently on my site blog, and contribute a wide range of articles to industry publications and also to my varied private and public interests.
I have gained 6100+ connections on Linkedin and the company noticed and has invited me to participate in several pilot and beta programs. Good on them and I appreciate the opportunity to further my network influence.
When I first signed up for Linkedin I was about as skillful as your average Congress Critter trying to keep his private parts and affairs off the internet tubes. On numerous occasions I accidentally wandered into the slightly skeevy part of LinkedIn town and was rewarded with a extra large Spam sandwich. Several helpings actually. While endless marketing gurus legitimately laud LinkedIn as the channel on which to network and develop business contacts, it's starting to morph into a sand filled trap filled with unscrupulous sales people, shady hucksters and outright hacks.
Recently I accepted a connection request from an owner of a Fremont, CA Property Management Company. Since my company has designed several large property management websites in the past, I assumed they were reaching out for a design quote. Nope. They spammed me with a rather dubious property investment scheme.
So it didn't take long to sever my connection with that property management company, but unfortunately this was one of many traps I fell into on my way to be an educated Linkedin user.
Anyway, how can I help you avoid committing the same errors I did and clogging up your email box? Here's my two cents:
Recognize Brands you already Trust
Business professionals should be aware that LinkedIn has developed new tools for marketing to its members. Sales Navigator is a new Linkedin tool that can be and will be abused by spammers. As a defense, you should only accept connections from members that represent well recognized brands or that you have done business with before. Be sure how you are dealing with before you click that accept button.
If Something Smells Fishy, It Is
When I receive a unknown Linkedin connection request these days, I ask my inner circle of connections if anyone can vouch for this person. If no one knows the person and they don't represent a well recognized company I hit delete. You might want to start following this example to avoid the ever increasing waves of spam messages and emails that emanate from rogue Linkedin connections.
Umm, Do I Really Know You?
Ever seen the movie with Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks called “Catch Me if You Can?” Frank Abagnale, whom the movie was based on, was a real life con man whom some say was the best grifter who ever lived. LinkedIn has turn into a proving ground for Abagnale imitators trying to peddle themselves as influencers whom you should never connect with. Their sole goal is to gain access to your associates and let the spamming begin. The delete button is your best defense.
Purge, Trust me You'll Feel Better
Do a connection purge once in a while. In the event that you have any connections who were previous sellers who now using the site to spam you for more business, don't be hesitant to cut them off and send them off into the sunset.
LinkedIn is a boon for those of us who play by the established rules, use it to gain knowledge of our industry, and make legitimate connections with the right individuals. Linkedin has done a lot to keep spammers and other bad actors out of the network, but ulitimately it is up to you to police your own neighborhood.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Michael Powell