The Perils of Using LinkedIn Groups As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy.
LinkedIn is the biggest business-to-business social media platform right now. It has a unique appeal because of its large global membership. Even as a non-premium member, you get to build your online profile, as well as to participate in a diverse range of groups with whom you can easily develop peer-to-peer relationships. If nothing else, it has become the platform of choice for recruitment firms seeking high caliber candidates for their clients.
A lot of professional people use LinkedIn Groups as part of their marketing strategy. Contributing to conversations within industry groups allows professionals to demonstrate their expertise and to learn from other people with more knowledge and perhaps a different point of view. Providing backlinks to your own website, for those that want more information on a topic, can inexpensively deliver a significant amount of relevant traffic.
The platform encourages social interaction and it can be a terrific community for exchanging ideas. And, if that is not enough, you can advertise your wares on LinkedIn – even if it is somewhat expensive when compared to other online platforms.
Although I have been a member of LinkedIn for a good few years, I have only recently taken the opportunity to write posts that I believe could be helpful for management consulting firms and small and medium business owners. With almost 40 years in business, I have a lot of experience and I believe that LinkedIn provides a useful platform for me to share what I know, with a community of readers that can benefit from my knowledge, as well as a platform for them to share their views and to educate me in return.
I thoroughly enjoy creating the content and the likes, comments and shares make the effort worthwhile. I have always hated junk mail and the purveyors of useless content that does not serve anyone. To date, I have published 22 articles on LinkedIn and have shared them within some of the Groups that I am a member of. It is a small start compared to what I can ultimately create and share. Half are focused on the management consulting industry and the other half are focused on small and medium businesses. Never once have I tried to sell anything directly on a blog post or in a comment to a group on the LinkedIn platform.
The obvious extension to sharing my knowledge in posts is to get involved in Groups. In recent months, I have enjoyed contributing to groups and in reading and learning from a diverse range of contributions. In all, I am a member of 26 groups, many of which I have contributed to by linking to my already published Pulse articles. The response from group members has been almost universally positive.
The word almost is very important here. Somewhere, somehow, and without any intention to do so, I have managed to annoy one of the owners of one of the groups to which I am subscribed. The result of this is that one of the management team of one of the groups has in effect branded me as a spammer, but has never told me that I was breaking any rules, nor that I was being reported within LinkedIn as an undesirable.
This would be perfectly fine, except I learned today that once one person labels you in this way, that LinkedIn considers you to be an undesirable for all groups. This means that anytime you wish to make a comment or make a contribution to any group, your contribution has to be moderated. This is akin to putting your contribution into a bottomless pit from where it shall never rise again. Oops!
I have since learned that this situation cannot be rectified without writing to the manager of each individual group and pleading my case. On researching this on Google, and seeing many posts about this problem, I have discovered that very few group moderators tend to respond and so the innocent contributor within a social media platform is well and truly gagged. Yes, it is quite extraordinary but completely true. I call this absolute power.
The phenomenon is called Site-Wide-Auto-Moderation, and it has been in existence since early 2013, even though not many people know about it, unless it has happened to them. Interestingly, I have talked to several professional social media experts in the last couple of days and they have never heard of being SWAM’d. I would love to see more people being made aware of the issue so that pressure might be brought to bear on LI executive management to right a wrong. I suspect we are trying to paddle a canoe up the rapids.
Going forward, I would recommend that all LinkedIn members tread lightly for fear or bringing down the sword of Damocles upon their own heads. For more reading on this important subject, readers might like to consult one of the following articles and resources that bring attention to this contentious practice: http://www.mattaboutbusiness.com/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-linkedin-groups/
You might even like to consider joining a group of SWAM’D individuals in a private group at https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116051139530449057060