Flying solo or wearing the team shirt?

LinkedIn Posting

I don’t want them as one of my contacts” he said “why should I?”

I was in the middle of a social media training session with the team from one of our clients and it looks like we stumbled upon an awkward moment!

During these sessions I carefully work with the full team and we determine carefully what the objectives are for their social media activity.

The team had agreed that “raising awareness” for what the organisation does was a big issue and they were going to use social media pro-actively as a vehicle to spread the word.

We were in the middle of a practical session on LinkedIn and we discovered that the person whose account we were using for demonstration purposes had a large number of ignored connection requests.

But I don’t know them”  he said

Here you have people wanting to connect with you and you are ignoring them” I explained ..”not only are you losing an opportunity to connect and spread the word but you are giving the organisation a bad reputation by ignoring people

Hmm … The room was silent, he wasn’t budging!

How about, accept the requests, thank them for connecting and ask them how their business is going ?” ….. “after all, it’s not a marriage proposal” – I was trying my best!

Nope … nothing doing.

I had done enough talking and cajoling for one session so I left it – at the end of the day it is up to each organisation to set a policy for their use of LinkedIn.

The thing with LinkedIn is that people don’t connect with Greg Canty , they connect with Greg Canty, Partner with Fuzion. You and your role in the organisation are locked together as part of your identity.

The team may argue that their LinkedIn presence is their personal space – while this is true they are also wearing the team shirt and should turn up and play for the team.

What do you think ?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin offer social media training and consultancy in Ireland

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28 Responses to “Flying solo or wearing the team shirt?”

  1. joehussey Says:

    Disagree Greg. My space.company has its own space.

  2. Christine Says:

    I totally agree with you Greg. LinkedIn is a social media networking site for business purposes. The issue here is perhaps about having the right attitude to networking. We don’t do business with companies, we do business with people. Ignoring someone online has the same effect as ignoring them when they walk up to you in the street, and most people wouldn’t do that. Those who are good at networking know that a good attitude towards engaging with people inside, and outside, of work spaces is 90% of your success.

  3. Rudy de Groot Says:

    Hello Greg,

    Thought provoking, as always. I think that using social media, where the account is in a persons own name, should mean that the person owning the account is entitled to set his own policy in terms of usage. That is provided ofcourse that they are not using their social media accounts to the detriment of the
    company they array employed by.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Rudy – The only problem with that line of argument is that with LinkedIn there is a strong connection between you and who you work for. For example if I went to a Chamber networking event with one of my team mates and the following day they received invites to connect from people they met at the event …if they ignored these requests (for their own personal reasons) I would feel it would reflect badly on Fuzion. What do you think?

  4. Conor Hughes Says:

    Hi Greg,
    An interesting take on this – I have read so many posts over the years on this and the view can be quite polarised at times.
    My personal opinion was that LinkedIn is my space and not part of the organisation I work for. Anyone who attempts to connect with me that I have worked for through the organisation I work for is always accepted, its the people that I have no knowledge of or dont explain why they want to connect with me I refuse.
    If I make an attempt to connect with someone that I dont know, I try to explain my reason for doing so in a line or two!
    Maybe I’ll change my attitude now!
    Conor

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Conor – I’ll always see the connection request as an opportunity ..you never know where a connection will lead you to. Even the “sales” person can be a useful contact – they generally interact with many organisations..be nice and let them know what you do.

      I’ll only connect with people I know or have a valid reason for connecting with them and I will always personalise my message. Let me know how you get on with your new strategy !!

  5. marycorbettcoachMary Corbett Says:

    I love connecting with people and I have never intentionally refused a request – I do however stuggle when I get asked for endorsements, or testimonials from people whose services I have never used – I admit I have tended to ignore those

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Mary – I totally agree. You should only endorse or recommend (and vice versa) only people who you can genuinely vouch for. I have been asked for recommendations from people who I couldn’t recommend – what can I say if I have never used them. Great point !

  6. gusryan Says:

    I think you’re right, Greg. If you’re using Linked-In to engage people for business it reflects badly on your company.

    But what if you work for a large corporation (with their own page) and you’re trying to change job or industry and are using Linked-In to facilitate this? Then, I think Joe is right.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Fergus – if you are trying to move jobs even more reason for building your connections!!

      • gusryan Says:

        I wasn’t saying don’t connect, I was trying to say its OK to be selective if you’re not on Linked In to win business for your company. You can fly solo but still connect with people

  7. Antoinette McInerney Says:

    Greg,
    maybe it would be better if Joe didn’t use linked in. Maybe its just not for him. But if his profile is there I agree he should connect. You never know where these connections can lead. I suppose he needs to see the bigger picture, good luck

  8. deshocks Says:

    I think I fall somewhere in between here, Greg. The problem with LinkedIn is that it’s almost impossible to remove someone. I think a lot of people don’t know how to use it – I get requests from all sorts of people, all over the world, who I will never, ever, need to do business with. People should target who they accept and who they don’t, because it’s not as sophisticated as Facebook, with filtering etc, and once you’ve polluted your timeline with irrelevant stuff, it’s impossible to change that.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Deirdre – great points. I wouldn’t accept every connection but generally tend to view each connection as an opportunity to spread awareness. I sat down with one client recently who had 75 connection requests unanswered – half of them were from clients or prospects!

  9. Costantino Roselli Says:

    I completely agree. I thought that this was fundamental, no? I didn’t know that there are people that ignore contact requests. Everything has to do about networking and not how many people you have in your network but how to engage your role (well said that your name and role is bond) with the network. People that ignore contact requests they have to know that to build walls keeps you secure but also isolates you.

  10. Mindy Graden Says:

    I think of LinkedIn as the professional version of Facebook. LinkedIn means business to me and Facebook means friends and family. I used to own my own business and I’d be disappointed if my ‘team’ didn’t want to spread the word.

  11. Fergal Bell Says:

    Your points are well made Greg and I agree that Linkedin is an excellent way for the business and its employees to connect with their customers, as well as to forge other links.

    Linkedin is different from Facebook in that it’s not a friends network for posting baby pictures and tales of drunken nights out. It has a definite business focus and, like it or not, users’ identity and profiles go hand in hand with that of their companies. So, as you said, you are the company.

    I think one of the issues for some people with the social network is that it’s often used as a way for recruiters to headhunt people and there’s a concern that a connection request will be followed by unsolicited recruitment calls.

    However, if someone does get annoying messages from another person they can always disconnect. It’s fairly straightforward to do.

  12. John O'Sullivan Says:

    I think LinkedIn is a personal tool for the individual who can also use it to benefit the company. But I don’t think the company has the right to dictate to the individual.
    I’d like your thoughts on this: how far do you think the company can go in dictating a person’s use of linkedin? ( an account they may have had before joining the company and will have after leaving)
    choice of photo? list of previous employers? list of educational achievement? ban on linking to competitors? joining groups?

    LinkedIn is not the company owned website/blog.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      John – I agree it is the private domain of the employee but the way it works does impact on the organisation you represent. I do think this aspect should be discussed openly and there should be some guidelines about it while you do work for that organisation.

  13. Eoin Says:

    Hi Greg,

    Great article. We are going through this process with my organisation at the moment. I think social media and linkedin in particular are very important tools to connect with customers and prospects (and indeed the world in general). I try to use linkedin as a business tool to promote the benefits of working with me and my organisation but hopefully in a way that is not too “salesy” so sharing white papers, free resources and interesting blog posts etc. However, to the uninitiated Linkedin is purely a recruitment tool and not a way to engage with people on a different level.As a “sales” person, I find some of the group discussions in some of the sales groups i am in to be great for personal development. I also find some of the groups where my customers tend to congregate can also provide me with insights into their industry and trends.

    I think the individual needs to own their linkedin space but utilise in the best way possible to promote themselves and their company and in that way it becomes much more genuine.

    Eoin

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