I saw this post in a LinkedIn Group last night.
How can I promote my company in LinkedIn groups without being annoying?
You probably know the feeling – someone asks a question in a LinkedIn group and you know that your product is the best solution for them, but you don't want to come off as annoying, pushy or boring.
I'm interested in hearing about any successful experiments, psychological tricks or original responses you've seen or can think of that get a positive and informative message across without irritating the pants off all the other group members, including the one who asked the question to begin with…
My first thought was this guy needs to buy my book, Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and my good friend Susan Roane's FACE TO Face: How to Reclaim The Personal Touch In A Digital World because he needs to learn how to network.
This was posted by a guy using a cartoon characture as his LinkedIn profile picture. I guess he's into using deception and psycological tricks in his marketing. Just the kind of person I love to do business with. (Just kidding, of course!)
I was pleased to see two comments from people recommending a different approach. One comment provided very detailed suggestions on how to build relationships in LinkedIn Groups and obeying the forum rules so he doesn't get banned. The other comment suggested adding value to the conversation by demonstrating his knowledge and expertise instead of self-promoting. Both comments were excellent.
With the new, stricter LinkedIn Group rules, you can be tagged by the forum moderator which carries over to all of the Groups you belong to. Every post and comment you make in Groups has to be moderated by the person in charge of the forum. This person is a prime canditate to be tagged if he aggressively self-promotes in Groups without adding value.
Of course I had to jump into the conversation too! Here is my response:
Think about it this way:
You go to a party and someone comes up to you. He never stops talking about himself or his company. He's constantly bragging about his accomplishments or how great his product is. He keeps telling you that you should try his product and you can't get a word in edgewise.
Would you ever buy from this guy? Would you ever want to see this guy again?
The other side is:
You go to a party and someone comes up to you. They ask a lot of questions about you and what you do for a living. They are genuinely interested in learning more about you or what you do for a living. They never say anything about themselves. They are completely focused on learning more about you. You really like talking to this guy and think he's really interesting.
Would you buy something from this guy if he had a product or service you needed?
When you self-promote or try to sell in groups or forums, you are the first guy. Nobody wants to hear about your product. They're looking for people who are genuinely interested in building relationships. Nobody likes to be sold to in forums.
There hasn't been a response from the person who originated the conversation. I'm not sure if he's offended by our advice or he's busy promoting his company in other groups. I'll let you know if he responds.
How would you respond to this post? Comment below and tell me if you agree with my response and how you would respond. Also let me know how you feel about the new LinkedIn Group rules which are designed to clean up the spam and self-promotion.
To learn more about LinkedIn, visit my blog frequently at www.tedprodromou.com and grab my book, Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business now.