Linked In Does Not Equal Opt In

Posted on February 20, 2011. Filed under: Human Business, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

Today’s tune – “Hearts Take Time” sung by blues/jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur – refers to a romantic relationship gone wrong. This post is about the customer/client relationship online and how to begin and nurture it — starting with how not to.

Earlier this week, I received a Linked In invitation from an acquaintance who I know recently changed careers and is now in the financial services industry. I met her through someone I’m very close with and who has known her for many years.

She sent the invitation from her personal Linked In profile, which listed her by her nickname and gave her personal email address for contact. I like this person and promptly accepted her invitation.Business Relationships by Reality Quote

Later the same day I received two emails in a row from her business email address. One informed me that she had added my email address to her marketing list and that I would be receiving information from time to time. The other was a sales message offering me products and services that I had never inquired about.

Both emails did have opt-out links. But that put me in the somewhat awkward position of letting this person know that I do not want to be contacted further about business.

She made the incorrect assumption that my accepting a Linked In invitation was an open invitation to be marketed to. My emotional response to that was very negative. I felt that it was a violation.

My reasons for connecting on Linked In are to widen my network, to refresh my memory about who I haven’t been in touch with for too long, to learn and to share information. Many other reasons, too. None of them is to make myself a target for an unsolicited sales pitch. By the way, this goes for all social media I engage with. In addition to a breach of social media etiquette, this person at best showed lack of knowledge and at worst bad judgment, which does not inspire confidence.

If she had taken a different approach, there’s a possibility that we might have done business together. She could have sent me a personal email asking whether I have any current needs in her area of expertise and/or pointing me in the direction of some info about her business offerings to build credibility in the event I knew of someone else who could benefit.

If I did indicate some level of interest, she could then use the opportunity to ask me to opt in to her list with the clear understanding that I could feel free to opt out at any time – that an opt-out would not have any impact on our personal relationship.

Even though it’s well-known that permission-based marketing works best, business people regularly ignore this best practice. If you do so, recognize that you may very well permanently kill an opportunity to develop a meaningful business relationship – including ongoing referrals – over the longer term. Hearts take time!!


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One Response to “Linked In Does Not Equal Opt In”

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great post, ellie. succinct, well said, and most of all, spot on!

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