Business – Don’t be shy!

I have come up against a new thing this week – I was expanding the virtual network of one of my clients on LinkedIN when someone I had added messaged to say that they didn’t accept connection requests from people they don’t know. Fair enough I say. Is that’s what you want to do, then that’s your prerogative. As a social media manager, it’s not something I’ve come across before. Most people just either accept, or ignore your request.

It is intriguing to me. It may be that the individual finds that emailing people to find out more about them first is more fruitful in building up a business relationship than just connecting on LinkedIn. If this is true, then I shall be recommending people do it more often. But I suspect it comes from something that is a lot more common – a fear of social networking.

Fear of people finding out things about you. Fear that putting yourself ‘out there’ exposes you and your family to the whim of an axe-murderer. Maybe.

One of the advantages of being on social media, especially for a business, is greater exposure – to reach customers and suppliers you would otherwise not have reached. If you only want your network to reach as far as your real-life contacts, then don’t bother being on social media.

If you prefer to keep your social networking to family, friends, and trusted colleagues, or you use social media on a personal level, such as sharing photos of your children or your holiday snaps, then LinkedIN is probably not the best social network for you.

Also, there is no harm in having multiple personas on social media. If you want to share photos of your children, or shout at football teams, or pester celebrities, you can always have separate business and personal profiles – I have multiple Twitter accounts for this very reason, though I tend not to pester celebrities half as much as I could.

As a reminder……….

If you want to keep up with family and friends, share personal photos, and talk about little Johnny’s brilliant parent’s evening report, then you need a personal Facebook profile.

If you want to share news of your consumer product with a mass audience, then you need a Facebook business page. While you should always inject some personality into updates, you should still keep things professional. Spouting your political or religious (or worse, football) related views is best avoided.

If you want to make contacts in the business world, and share professional news, then LinkedIN is brilliant.

If you want to share your company news with a business audience, then a LinkedIN company page is the way to go.

And finally…..

If you have a Twitter account with the aim of promoting your business then do us all a favour and get rid of TrueTwit validation. It stops you getting more followers, and while there is an argument that more followers isn’t necessarily better, you’re not going to get very far only letting yourself be followed by people who are prepared to go through the pain that is TrueTwit to get to read your occasional update. If you have a Twitter account which uses TrueTwit, I just assume you don’t want followers. Again, this is fair enough if it’s a personal account, but if you’re a business?! Whhhhhhhhhy?

If anyone can enlighten me as to the benefits of restricting contact on LinkedIN, then I am here to be enlightened.

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