3 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the Big 5 social networks along with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s vast network of professionals makes it a valuable platform for people looking to make business connections.

But just like the first impression of a door to door salesperson, there is a risk that your communication could appear as spammy – and immediately turn people off to your advances.

There is a right way and a wrong way to to approach people on LinkedIn, and the wrong way might lose you a contact for life.

Making connections on LinkedIn is fairly simple if you are going after non-managerial professionals – but if you are going after the big guns there is a science behind it. To be quite honest, it is very similar to how you might do it in person, and that is to earn their trust.

Earning trust through a computer or mobile phone screen isn’t the easiest thing in the world, in fact there are many people that go about connecting on LinkedIn in a manner that will most certainly backfire.

Below are the 3 biggest mistakes that a professional can make when attempting to connect on LinkedIn.

#1 Lying

The absolute worst thing you can do is lie on your LinkedIn profile or to a contact on LinkedIn. To explain why let’s take a trip back a week ago. I was sitting in the office working on some Facebook and Google+ posts for the following week, and I get a text message on my phone that reads:

Meeting tonight @ 6pm at Camillus office for professionals looking to earn extra income. All are welcome – [undisclosed name]”

The number was not in my contacts and I did not recognize it. So I replied “who is this?” The person then replied that he was a LinkedIn contact of mine named Jim [name is altered for purposes of this article]. I asked Jim how he happened to get my cell phone number, for which he replied that he got it off of my LinkedIn page. There was just one little hole in his response – I don’t have my cell phone number on my LinkedIn page.

Not only did I catch him in a lie, but he actually thought it was a good idea to spam my cell phone!

This leads me to number two.

#2 Spamming

Spam is defined as, irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.

My new friend Jim successfully fulfilled that definition by not only sending a message that clearly shouldn’t have been sent to my cell phone, but I found out two days later that he had also sent it to a business associate of mine.

Spamming through LinkedIn’s messaging system happens much more than my cell phone example. I’m sure you have received a message from an Independent Energy Consultant a or Happiness Counselor a few times that says something like, ‘I’m sorry for the mass message, but I want to tell you about a great opportunity to…(insert sales pitch here)’.

My guess is that as soon as you read the first few sentences of a message like that your mouse found it’s way to the delete button.

Lesson – don’t spam.

#3 Hard Selling or Hard Asking

This just flat out doesn’t work. People can sniff out a hard sell before you even hit the send button. And if you are asking them to give you something before you have even introduced yourself, that’s about as good as a slap in the face.

Imagine that someone walked up to you while you were having coffee with a friend or a business associate and said, “Excuse me but would you mind giving me a personal rating at www.mybizcard.com.”

A proper response to that might be “WTF did you say?” if you’re in a bad mood, or “I’m sorry who are you?” if you prefer to be polite.

Think of LinkedIn like a cold call – because that’s basically what it is if you have never met the person face to face before. Let’s be honest, you’re probably messaging them because you want something from them, whether you think so or not. You might want to tap into their network, you might want to get a job from them, you might want to get an introduction from them or maybe you just want to sell them your product. Whatever it is you cannot be impatient or selfish. You have to come in with the approach of I want to give this person some value so that we might share a productive relationship for life.

If you go in with a patient, honest and giving attitude, you are much more likely to reap the benefits that you are seeking.
Happy linking!

How to Get 5-Star Google Reviews

Google is one of the most powerful information sources on the planet – and it could crush your business in a day.

A 2013 BrightLocal survey with 2,100 responses found that 85% of people use online reviews to research local businesses.  Even more important, Zendesk found that 90% of people are actually influenced by those online reviews.

So the question stands, how can your local business acquire positive reviews on sites like Google?

There are no secret tricks or black hat tactics that your business can practice in order to get better Google Reviews. It really boils down to your businesses brand – which leads us to our first tip.

DON’T ever let finances or operations get in the way of running a customer first business.

As a business owner or manager it’s [really] easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle – but you can never forget about your customers.

While our team at Good Monster is all for transparency and honesty, you can never let the ups and downs of business negatively affect your businesses ability to serve your customers.

And don’t ever let your emotions come into play when responding to social media or online reviews.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Think of something quickly, before they go to your competitor.

DO operate as a customer-cherishing business

The most important thing that your business can be, is caring for it’s customers. It is THE most important thing.

Solving peoples problems comes before making money, reducing costs, marketing, sales and just about everything else.

In fact, if your company is not solving problems – you might want to start looking for a new job.

DON’T beg for good reviews

This is just a bad idea all around.

First, it shows your customers that you have a hidden agenda and are apparently using them for their reviews. Second, if you do it publicly (ie. give a good review and we will give you a prize) it shows everyone else that you have to ask for reviews, and cannot get them organically.

DO let your customers know that they can review your business on Google

I am not saying you can’t ask for reviews, you just have to do it in person or privately – and you should piggyback on people’s great experiences. For example, if you own a gym and someone just lost 50 lbs after 3 months of working out, you should say: We are so proud of you – would you want to share your story with the world in a Google review by chance?

Hopefully they will say yes because they are pumped about their results.

DON’T get in a digital war with anyone who gives a negative review

As I said earlier, don’t let your emotions get in the way of loving your customers. I know you are passionate about your business – I mean it’s literally your whole world. But if someone leaves a bad review, you absolutely can NOT retaliate.

Any weaknesses in your customer service department will open more than just a can of worms. People will feed off the negativity and dish it right back 1000 fold; especially online.

DO offer something amazing to people who had a bad experience at your business

Instead use this as an opportunity to show that person, and the entire online community that your business cares more about them than anything else in the world.

If they received a broken product, send them two new ones in the mail free of charge.

If they had a hair in the food, reply that you are requiring all cooks to wear hair nets from now on, and you are giving them and two of their friends a free 3-course meal.

If they had a car repair done at your shop, and their brakes failed – you might want to call a lawyer.

DON’T make it hard for your customers to communicate their problem with you

Make it as easy as possible for people to directly contact you or your customer service department. The longer their problem goes unattended, the more likely they are to go to Google to vent their frustrations for everyone to see.

DO be transparent with your efforts to fix their problems (it’s good PR)

As I said above, be transparent in your efforts to fix their problem. Remember, the more public your efforts , the more people can see how much you care.

This above and beyond attitude towards your customers will pay off in branding and eventually, sales.

DON’T leave the customer service up to the personalities who work for you

Everyone has their own personalities and agenda, and it’s nearly impossible to know what sets people off. Leaving customer responses up to an untrained customer service team is a disaster waiting to happen.

Make sure that everyone in your company who has any contact with potential customers is well-trained on not only how to handle different situations, but more importantly, what your company’s core message is.

A core message is a simple description of your company’s purpose in life.

DO demand that your employees follow strict customer interaction guidelines

In the book Made to Stick, author’s Chip and Dan Heath explain how Southwest Airlines’ core message, THE low cost airline, shapes their entire business – from corporate investing all the way down to in-flight food.

Make sure your entire company eats, breathes and lives by your core message to ensure that your customers get the same love no matter who they speak with.

By simply paying attention to your customers – their problems and what makes them happy – you can greatly increase your chances of getting great reviews on Google.

If you get a negative review, which you probably will at some point, respond with grace and authenticity to turn their frown upside down.

Go way beyond an apology, and you will probably get a new customer (and their friends) for life.