What you're reading here is borne out of serious frustration. 

See, as an enabler of business within the travel ecosystem, part of my superpower is making and leveraging connections; leveraging connections that I have already, connecting them to opportunities, and making connections that I don't (yet) have in order to connect them to new opportunities. It's one of the main reasons I've invested significant time in the last 2 years learning, using, testing, failing and perfecting techniques to help myself grow into a digital marketing native. 

But I digress. Over the last many months, there's 1 thing that has frustrated me the most; above all other frustrations, in fact. Tell me if this resonates:

The Scenario

There's a business opportunity - products, services, partnerships, new channel etc. I have a target person (or people) in mind, or I want to cast the net wider. So I head over to LinkedIn and search them out. 99% of the time, I can find them. So far so good. Next, depending on the urgency, I either have the luxury of time, or not, in terms of engaging, "warming" them up, and then connecting. Truth be told, sometimes you're not in control of timelines and speed is of the essence; so I reach out with a connection request or a message that is tailored to explaining the WIIFY (what's in it for you) in order to elicit a (hopefully positive) response. 

The Result

Silence. Total, absolute...eerie silence. "WTF ?"

And I get this from all types of individuals - those who work for relatively larger corporations ("brands"), and most incredulously from those in smaller organisations who are clearly needing to grow their business.

My Response

So I go deeper into the profile right? I check updates, activity, job roles, etc. etc. You know the drill. And guess what? There's a litany of red flags I discover: 

The Horror

  • no activity in weeks/months (I once found the head of the tourism development authority in a country who hadn't been active in the past year - to be clear, this means no likes, no comments, no posts, no shares, nada...);
  • job roles not updated (I know 'cos a little bird called Google tells me otherwise);
  • profile photo either absent or taken back in 1992 (even I had hair back then...);
  • less than 500 connections (seriously? It's 2019.)
  • no contact information (because you're actually James Bond?);
  • incomplete profiles (possibly the worst of these sins)

"But isn't LinkedIn essentially an online resume portal to help you position yourself for a new job??" you might be thinking.

Even if that's what it was (and it isn't!), doing any of the 6 sins recounted above is inexcusable. If you're guilty of any of them, and unapologetically so...

Here's what to do

GET OFF LINKEDIN NOW. Seriously, delete your profile right now. (Don't even finish reading this.)

Calm down Vimal...

Here's why it's frustrating for users like me, and others who make a living out of adding value to their network and connections:

1. We're trying to give you business - seriously. Just to be clear - that's new business FOR you (not asking you to pay me anything).

2. We're trying to connect you to new opportunities.

3. We're trying to understand you better so that maybe (just maybe) we can help you achieve what you want or need.

But we can't do any of this if we cannot #@%! contact you, Sherlock. 

This isn't Where's Wally? or hide & seek. It's business. It's life. Why do some people make it so difficult to be contacted? Why do people have a profile, but then go back into their metaphorical caves? Why do you want to blend into the crowd and be like everyone else? Why do you not want to be taken seriously? Why do you deflect potential interest in yourself, your business or your skills by just not "being there"? Why do you not bother to respond? Why?

But Vimal, I'm not on social media for a reason...

You value privacy. You don't want your email and phone number to be web-scraped. Social media is not professional (then why have a profile at all...?). I get it (some of it anyway). But what baffles me is why you wouldn't want to consider new business opportunities, or partnerships, or jobs by not even responding. Are you getting paid too much already? Are you just not bothered?

Some food for thought

1. You can ignore emails. Really easy to do actually. Spam filters are pretty good these days. And there's GDPR. So what's your excuse for not having an email ID (even if it's one purely for LinkedIn) or not checking your messages?

2. You are who Google says you are. You are who LinkedIn says you are. If your profile is crap, incomplete and outdated, what does that convey about you? Hint: it's not that you're too busy "working". Try Googling yourself - your LinkedIn profile is right up there at No. 1 or 2. Is that how you want to be seen on Google - with a crap profile?

3. Of the 4.3bn internet users, 3.5bn (82%) are on social media. 640m are on LinkedIn. Lots of research has been done to show how much time buyers are spending online (up to 70%), researching before they buy (yes especially B2B). Do you see the size of the opportunity? If you do - and if you realise there really isn't any other global professional platform on which you have to maintain your presence through the written word - then why can't (won't?) you spare 15 mins a day to be on it?

Yet, you've got to be the special one; the one who isn't "on" LinkedIn in any meaningful way. The one who doesn't read, comment, engage, much less post anything. The one who doesn't respond to messages, or doesn't even check for messages.

The one to whom I can't pass on a potentially lucrative business opportunity. Because I couldn't contact you, and you've not responded to me (or anyone else for that matter) on LinkedIn.

Please do us all a favour - delete your profile now. (Ask me how).