“Social” Networking? – Stop using the standard LinkedIn connection request

I love social networking.  It’s part of my job, it’s part of my personal life, and I just enjoy connecting with people and sharing info, ideas, and more.  For business networking, I think LinkedIn provides a tremendous amount of value so I try to make connections there when possible.  I have connected with friends, colleagues both past and present, customers, thought leaders, vendors, and more.  If I receive a connection request from someone I know, it’s nice when they personalize the connection request but I understand if they don’t.  (For the record, early in my LinkedIn years I sent several non-personalized requests out to people I knew closely)

With that said, I continue to be surprised by the amount of connection requests I get sent from people I don’t know, from companies I don’ know, who don’t have a picture, I don’t share any connections with, AND don’t take the time to customize the connection request.

See below for an example:


If I received this request and it said “Hi, we haven’t been introduced but I work in Customer Service for XYZ company.  I came across your name when I was searching for XYZ and I thought it would make sense for us to connect on LinkedIn.” I would be much more inclined to accept the request.

If you are taking the time to connect with someone, especially with someone you don’t know, why not take the extra minute to type up an introduction?  Social networking is about being social.  I wouldn’t just walk up to someone I didn’t know, hand them my business card, and say “here.”  By adding some customized text explaining how you know someone or why you want to connect, you show that person that you can add value to the connection and that it makes sense to connect.

Be social, but don’t be lazy!

“Social” Networking? – Stop using the standard LinkedIn connection request

“Social Secret Sauce? There is none.” And other notes from the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit

What is the meaning of life?  Why is coffee so delicious?  What are other people doing for B2B social media?  What is the secret to social media success?

This week I attended the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit in Philadelphia from Useful Social Media to get answers to some of my questions.  While I unfortunately did not learn about the meaning of life or unique molecular components of coffee, I did get a few other questions answered.   This turned out to be a great event and I met lots of interesting people from Marketing Managers to VP’s of Social Media, and everything in between.  For me, one of the best things I learned from the summit is that different people and organizations define social media success differently, and while there are many best practices out there, even the social media teams at very large corporations are still trying to figure out exactly what tools to use, what content to share, and more.

The following notes are the things I found important enough to write down:

Many tools (Some paid, some free) exist to help make social media easier, more efficient, and measurable.  I am going to check into some of these:

  • Radian6 was mentioned a lot for monitoring/analysis
  • Twiangulate was mentioned as a great tool for finding out more about your followers.
  • Sprinklr was talked about several times for social media management, monitoring, analysis.
  • Topsy was mentioned as a great search tool.
  • Cmp.ly‘s CMO was in attendance and their platform sounds great for organizations wanting to use social while maintaining compliance or regulatory standards.
  • HARO is a free service you can sign up for to connect with journalists for PR opportunities.
  • Spredfast was recommended a few times as a good social media management tool.
  • Finally, Tweetreach was discussed as a good way to see the reach of your tweets.

Memorable quotes:

  • Stalk before you talk.
  • Content is king!
  • Content is NOT king!  The customer is king!
  • You don’t have to be on every social network.  Be on the one(s) that make sense for your organization’s target audience.
  • For B2B, why are more people not focusing more efforts on LinkedIn?
  • You will be more successful at social if you plan your posts (ie editorial calendar)
  • People trust people, not brands.
  • Humanize the brand.  Post staff pics.
  • When someone comments negatively, use it as an opportunity to show others how you respond quickly and fix it.
  • Hit the influencer
  • Customize your content to fit the platform.  (Facebook users like video/pics, Twitter is ok with text, etc)
  • Social is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Finally, the most important tip I learned was that when it comes to social, there is no secret sauce.  Successful social takes time, consistency, creativity, a desire to have fun!, and being human.

The speakers were all fantastic!  Kudos to these folks.

“Social Secret Sauce? There is none.” And other notes from the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit