LinkedIn is quite an amazing social media platform where professionals in all industries, in any position, from countries all over the world can connect. Members can share all their connections, write blogs, search for just about anyone they would like to connect with.
Many people are proud they have a lot of connections. Those people are usually just racking up numbers and really don’t know anything about their connections. Now, this is to say that not everyone racking up the connection numbers never really connects with their connections.
One of my goals in 2016 was to reach out to my LinkedIn connections and connect with them to learn something about them and to see how I can be a resource to them.
Mid-year I received an auto generated message from one of my connections doing the same thing. I set up the appointment with them on their Calendry and we spoke. After five minutes into the conversation he kicked in with his sales pitch. My walls went up and I started asking him about his connection program and he said he loads in about 100 emails a week from searching LinkedIn into the auto program and about 100 connections that hasn’t taken up his offer to meet. The email blast was very generic and it was easy to set up an appointment with him. He told me that is making a killing selling his service using this technique. His response rate is about 20 to 40 out of the 200, with at least 5 to 15 sales per week. Not too shabby. He sells people his systems of what his is doing.
I was going “old school” compared to him by sending out individual emails only to my connections. After the second month of attempting to “reconnect” with my connections I looked at my tracker and thought this would be an interesting social experiment. And, so it was!
The first month I thought I would start with 100 connections randomly drawn and call them to reconnect with them. All contact information came right from their LinkedIn profile.
Out of the 100 connections that I randomly pulled, only 56 of them had any phone numbers in the contact information section. Of those 56, I spoke to only 2 of them. Left 33 voicemails with none of those messages returned, and 21 of those numbers were bad (disconnected, wrong number, etc.)
You may be saying I must have left a bad message with no call to action. The message I left was crafted by an experienced sales coach that specializes in sales calls.
Then I thought let’s try emails, but not auto generated or through LinkedIn, but real emails to my contacts, no BCC’s. I sent a total of 760 emails. Per the advice of an email marketing expert, I changed the subject line around as well as the message in the email, the breakdown was as follows.
- I tried about 150 of the emails just stating why I’m writing to them, a little bit about me, and a call to action.
- Another 150 emails had why I’m writing to them, a little about me, that I am not looking for a sales call, and a call to action.
- About 200 stated why I’m writing to them, that I am not looking for a sales call, and a call to action.
- The remainder of the emails were very personalized on why I was writing to them and that it will not be a sales call along with a call to action.
No matter which form I sent the results stayed about the same.
Before I share the results of this social experiment, I did learn a lot about my connections. First, LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional site. I understand folks putting their personal emails in the contact information section and not their work email – BUT, let’s keep it professional. This is NOT Facebook – Hotlips85@xyzzzz.com, you know who you are.
Second, if you’re on LinkedIn and you truly would like to connect with other members then complete your profile and contact information. I pulled 1,170 of my connections contact information which yielded me the 760 email addresses I contacted. This was due to no phone number or email address information in their profile.
Third, I did learn something from some of my higher profile connections in that they phone number they listed was their work 800 number and they had their email as email@example.com. I thought that was very smart and they are still open to connecting but filtering at the same time.
Lastly, we all move from company to company, but just like your LinkedIn profile that you update, so should you update your contact information.
Now for the metrics. I started with 2,430 connections in January 2016 after I removed over 400 connections due to a variety of reasons. I wanted to clean up my LinkedIn profile. I ended 2016 with 2,533 connections. In 2016 I stuck to wanting to know something about a new connection before I connected with them.
- 4 connections were removed from this experiment, 2 of them because they replied with F*&% YOU! Very professional. One replied back with a political rant-clearly, he was a very upset liberal. The last person wrote a diatribe about the negative aspects of connecting on LinkedIn. HUH??
- 43 emails bounced back as bad
- 1 person forwarded my email to someone else in their company to handle – very funny.
- 4 people just replied with a general comment – clearly, they did not read the mail they were responding to.
- 5 people viewed my profile after they received the email, but never replied – I must have a bad profile picture.
- 6 people replied with “remove me from list.” What list?
- 6 people set up a call and we really got to know each other – without it being a sales call.
- 3 people set up a time to talk, but were not available during the set time, or didn’t answer their phone
What I learned from this is trying to really connect with my connections is not a good use of my time and everyone has been conditioned to hear sales pitch their walls are up and they want to stay behind the wall of anonymity.
I was thinking about doing what Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) used to do. If you want to connect with him, you must answer a questionnaire properly before he will accept your connection request, now you need his email address.
Then again, I am an open networker and will connect with another fellow LinkedIn member. So, in 2017 my goal is to connect with as many people on LinkedIn as I can. If you would like to connect with me, then please do. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to get to know me better without having it a sales call, then let’s set up a time to talk.
Let’s hear your thoughts on connecting with others on LinkedIn. Are you and open networker (Quantity), or need to know something about who you are connecting with (Quality)?
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