I joined LinkedIn around 2013 without any clue on leveraging the platform effectively. Back then, my LinkedIn game was horrible.
At the time, most of my friends hadn’t even heard of it so I was left to learn on my own through some serious trial and error. In those earlier days I attended tons of webinars to learn the functionality of the platform in general; but in terms of learning how to interact and engage on the professional platform, much of my learning came from observing and modeling others.
Since I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, I simply connected with everyone and anyone that I found. In hindsight, this was one of the worst mistakes I could have made because I picked up some really bad habits and practices by trying to mimic the behaviors of those I encountered. I rationalized it as, “well, I don’t know what to do here so I’ll look and see what others are doing,” assuming they had the game figured out. As it turned out, many of them were probably just as clueless.
As mentioned above, my first bad habit was firing off connection requests to any person I came across without doing a single bit of research to vet the individual and gauge whether the connection made sense. I thought that I should be connected with everyone and so I did. But all that brought was a large network of people that I knew nothing about.
The second bad practice I picked up was bombing the inboxes of new connections with those long ugly messages talking about how fantastic I was. You know the type. Those messages that are part bio, part sales letter, and completely unsolicited nonsense.
That’s right. In those earlier days, I was that guy. I could say that I didn’t know any better because the truth is that I didn’t, but I take responsibility for my own actions. Thankfully, I was able to learn and adopt better ways of communicating online.
All it really took was a few minor adjustments.
Those behaviors weren’t necessarily bad or wrong. They just weren’t effective, especially for me and my individual style.
As you think about your own practices, whether online or in real life, take a close look at how effective they are.
Maybe some minor adjustments are needed to get the results you’re looking for.
Those seemingly small tweaks could make all the difference in the world.
Here’s to using social media with purpose to make meaningful connections in the digital space!