When Social Marketing Goes Bad – Again!

Hot on the heels of my “friend” trying to get me to join a new group and get exposed to their wonderful marketing message, I’ve got not one, but two more instances of flawed contacts around my LinkedIn presence.

First – we’ve got to throw out the enhancement / dating / watching sort of spam – I’m not talking about that at all.  Nobody wants it and it’s very automated. (actually – somebody, somewhere must want it or they’d stop doing it…)

I’m talking about situations that don’t work out well when someone has a “real” product and they want more people (you and I;-) to know about it – and they don’t take care with their message.

That’s when things go off course…

Wild Claims

The message came through a group I belong to, and was a standard tease to get individuals to go to this person’s web site:

I’ve been working on LinkedIn since 2002 and have been keeping a List of the Top 10 LinkedIn Mistakes. There has not been much change. Here’s a copy …

And just as job seekers have been inflating resumes for years, this is a bit much, and it tweaked my interest…

LinkedIn launched in May of 2003

So even if this individual was using LinkedIn since the beginning, they could not have started in 2002.

You can check LinkedIn’s self-published history here.

How long your account has been around

And now I’ll let you in on another bit of trivia – LinkedIn has an amazingly easy to decode and simple to understand user identification system.

They’ve got a count of how many user profiles have been created, and when you create a new account, you get the next number.  That becomes your “key” or “id”. (pretty easy to handle don’t you think?-)

But here’s the implication – if you have id/key number 3956 (hi Craig;-), you were in fact one of the first 4,000 users of the LinkedIn system.

If I can identify you by name, and search the system and find your profile with key 435xxxx, you joined the site after more than 4.3 million other people had done so – and could only have started using the system in December of 2005!

(And yes – I’m saying that I did look this individual up and their key does start with those numbers…)

The top 10 list

The list itself – is fine – I make those same sorts of comments in the book, on this blog, and when I’m in front of people.

One potential exception is the one about having an unprofessional picture.  I happen to agree with the advice, but pictures have only been a part of the system since September of 2007, so it’s not like that’s been an issue for a long time.

So it seems a shame they went to such lengths to exaggerate their experience…

[You are of course welcome to get my free tip sheet with the button up in the right hand box labeled “LINKS” – I just won’t be sending out group mailings trying to puff it up…]


Turning to another contact I received – as an author, blogger, and speaker, other people will inquire if I might co-market something with them.  It’s generally a flattering proposition, and I consider realistic proposals.

But this note started off with an ominous subject – “Treadmill Doctor Partnership Issue“…

You see, since my site includes the words ‘personal trainer’, the sender of the note thought that I would be in a position to work with people who own treadmills – and if those treadmills needed repairing, why I could earn a commission by recommending them to this site…

Check your automation!

So folks – this should be a clear call that if you’re going to use this thing called “social marketing”, you can’t delegate away the intelligence behind it.

Don’t embarrass yourself, or make assumptions, because we all know what that does…

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock