If you’re spending any length of time using LinkedIn for business development, you’ve probably been tempted to use one of the ever-increasing apps that log onto your account, visit member’s profiles, and send connection invitations and messages on your behalf – all while you’re doing something presumably more productive.
Here are 5 reasons you might want to give to give it a try.
1. You think your time is more important than your prospects’ time.
It’s tempting to believe these applications are a godsend – expanding your reach and increasing your efficiency. After all, that’s their big selling point. But this “efficiency” comes at a cost to the recipients of your message. In most cases, it’s a big waste of their time. You’re expecting them to look at whatever you’re sent and figure out if it’s relevant, because – what – you’re too busy to be bothered? Think about the real message this sends to your prospects.
2. You hate your personal brand.
In a world where buyers place maximum importance on trust, transparency and authenticity, nothing will tank your personal brand faster than sending boring, impersonal messages – including connection invitations – to hoards of people, most of whom are not relevant. (See #1 above.)
3. Your process is stuck in spray and pray mode.
Maybe you’ve always played a numbers game and you or your management haven’t realized this is a grossly inefficient approach. Even, or especially, when it’s automated. Or maybe you like being thought of as a telemarketer of social selling.
4. You want to see if LinkedIn will shut your account down.
Yes, this does happen. Use one of these message automation tools and you’re in violation of the LinkedIn User Agreement, giving LinkedIn the right to take your account away. And getting it back is no walk in the park. LinkedIn is basically protective of its members and while they’ve loosened up our access to each other (for a price, of course), they still work to keep spam out of our inboxes – and automated messages are 90% spam.
5. You haven’t taken the time to think about what you’re doing.
I’d like to think this is where most users of these applications fall. As marketers and business development/sales people we’ve been trained to believe that more is better. More visibility. More awareness. More “touching” of prospects. Give us a tool that takes away some of the boring, time consuming administrative tasks and lets us reach more people, and we’re all in.
But the truth is, automation, by definition, takes away an important human element in communication – and our prospects know when we’re not being genuine. They’re pros at recognizing auto-generated messaging, no matter how many times we throw in their names and companies.
If your goal for using LinkedIn is to engage new business prospects and regularly book conversations with qualified prospects, automation is going to hurt you far more than it will help you.
There’s a better way.
I suggest that instead of investing money in an application that is sure to annoy the majority of recipients on your behalf, you rethink your approach. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I need to bug so many people? Is that the only way I can hope to get enough phone calls?
- Why is my response rate so low?
- What if I focused my aim more tightly on truly ideal prospects and acted a little more human? Could I get more of them to respond?
What it all comes down to is these automation tools may increase vanity metrics like the number of times you show up in LinkedIn search or the number of irrelevant people you have in your network. They may make you feel productive about how many messages you’re sending out. But they don’t tell you how many bridges you’re burning.