When (LinkedIn) Social Marketing Goes Bad

I was a consumer long before I had an expertise to sell, and it rankles me when overt “selling” tries to sneak under the radar as “friendliness”.

The subject of the message I received the other day was (of course) friendly enough: “You may enjoy these articles”

Well – certainly – I’d like to hear about things that I might enjoy, but how do they know? …

A message from a fellow group member

It seems that this woman (and I’m not going to give her more attention by mentioning her name here) shares a group membership with me – and that’s ok, because I belong to a couple dozen groups that focus on interesting topics.

But I definitely didn’t recognize her name from any of them, so I had to click through to see who she was…

It appears she has a marketing background – and then there it was – she shares one specific group with me.

Ok – at least I know how I came about to receive this message…

Wouldn’t you like to hold the puppy?

[In case anyone isn’t familiar, if you can get the potential buyer to hold the puppy, they are oh so much more likely to go home with said puppy…]

Here’s how her note started:

“I thought you may enjoy some recent articles geared toward staying up to date on LinkedIn Strategies that will positively help your business or personal objectives on LinkedIn.

I am a member of this group and am certain you will benefit from it as much as I do.”

Wow – hey, well of course I’d like to read good articles on how to use LinkedIn – that’s right up my alley you know;-)

Since she’s a member of the group, it’s just like she’s sharing something she found useful now isn’t it?  That’s this social / viral thing we all strive for…

So I kept reading…  She then went on to list several snappy article titles that sound pretty good.

Come on inside…

And then the fun part:

To access the articles join “Deleted LinkedIn Group Name” at:


Oh…  To even peek at these, I’ve got to “join the group”…

Well, that changes things now doesn’t it?

The truth of the matter

And so, after a bit of an investigation, I’ve pieced together:

  • The “owner” of the group has an information product (e-book) to sell, an “acclaimed” podcast series, a web site, and oh – is founder of a social media company.
  • The copy seems to talk about using LinkedIn to connect to a whole lot of people and avoid the IDK penalty of – oh – asking people that you don’t know to connect and having them hit the IDK button…

And last but not least…

  • The woman who sent me the “very helpful” note about the group just happens to be the President of the social media company the group owner above founded…

It all just works together now doesn’t it?

Next time

And so the next time they decide to troll the membership of other groups, they really ought to build a “don’t spam” list that includes a) LinkedIn bloggers, b) Authors of books on LinkedIn, and c) People they’ve already spammed once.

On the other hand, their group membership has grown quite quickly with this take-the-candy sort of approach…

Ethical growth

Comparatively, I will answer LinkedIn questions, respond on mailing lists, and give LinkedIn presentations – and refer people to The LinkedIn Personal Trainer blog-site.  In addition, I appreciate it every time a reader that turns others on to the site or otherwise suggests I know what I’m talking about.

But I haven’t hired anyone to pretend to be a reader who just happens to have benefited from my articles to spread a load of fertilizer across new fields…

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock