Death to Discussions on LinkedIn


linkedin_logoOne of the things I like to do is go to LinkedIn and answer questions and take part in different discussions that are going on. It’s a great way as a business owner or specialist to show their expertise, take part in interesting conversations and build stronger networking relationships.

I recently was shocked to see people using the discussions on LinkedIn…to give a sales pitch. Some of them were advertising webinars but most were direct sales pitches starting with a question like Do you want to save your marketing dollars and revolutionize your online marketing? which after you clicked on it was a big sales pitch about how awesome this marketing firm is and how they will revolutionize your online marketing.

Out of the 20 “discussions” appearing on the first page, 18 were direct sales pitches either about events or services offered by these companies. The thing I really found disturbing about this was that it was a marketing group on LinkedIn. These are people that are supposed to help other businesses with communication and engaging online if the title from the above “Discussion Topic” is any indication. This may be a news flash but one sided communications are not discussions.

Having a discussion is all about sharing your knowledge, appropriate links and opinion with others. It’s about engaging. However using the discussion area as a personal bulletin board to advertise your services is not only tactless…it’s also destroying the art of conversation within your social media group. This comes down to moderation by the Group Owner to make sure that people are using the discussion area to actually have discussions and not diatribes about how great they are but think about this for a moment – if everyone within your LinkedIn group is shouting BUY FROM ME! YOU NEED ME! in the discussion area…who is left listening?

Instead of shouting how great you are, show it by engaging in meaningful conversations and letting your obvious expertise shine through. People probably aren’t going to hire you because you say you’ll deliver amazing results. They’ll hire you because through conversations and relationship building discussions you clearly show that you know your stuff and have built up the trust so they can rely on your brand.

What are your thought on this? I’d love to hear from others about their experiences and get a discussion started here about your experiences with this, how you’ve dealt with this or how you think this can be fixed.



Motrin Moms Viral Video

Okay so if you haven’t heard, (and if you are on social networking sites…chances are you have) there was a HUGE uproar about the online video by Motrin about “wearing your baby”. Which, to be frank, was a lame online video campaign to begin with. The problem was the video made the mistake of pissing off one of the most vocal communities online – Mom’s using social networking. This also happens to be the demographic the video was targeted at.

Just to be clear – I’m not siding with Motrin. Nor am I dissing the social networking juggernaut that is the collective community of Mother’s online. The video itself wasn’t anything breathtaking and may have been marginally condescending – I’ll give it that much. You can watch it below to form your own opinion:

Pretty dumb, right? Let’s be honest. The phrase “It totally makes me look like an official mom”…come on. I doubt there is a mom out there that wears her baby in a Bjorn carrier because all the other cool mom’s are doing it.

But all this blogging and Twitter conversation, with a very small amount being negative, is getting people talking about Motrin. What their ad campaign did was create a truly great viral marketing video. People are talking about their campaign although there are a small group who are angry about it, the vast amount of comments I read on Twitter just called it dumb or criticized Motrin for generally not connecting with their demographic. There were many complimenting it too. Think about it…when was the last time you had a conversation about a pain reliever or an ad campaign by one?

Here’s where Motrin really fell on their face with this campaign. Their first reaction when this small amount of negative feedback started trickling in? They pulled the site down that was hosting the video. That’s right…so the video finally generated some buzz about their product after it had been up for over a month with barely a blip on the radar and then they pulled the site down after a little negative feedback launched the video virally rather than trying to immediately put out the fire on their website with this group of social networking Moms who were offended or people who may just be curious about the video and to see what all the hub-bub was about. Brilliant.

Now that you already know you screwed up, why not engage the demographic you insulted and open up conversation? Don’t run and hide…engage.

Now that they’ve acknowledged they made a mistake, what they really need to do is launch a social media rescue campaign. Start checking Google alerts and comment on as many of the Mommy blogs as possible, start a Facebook group to allow public discussion and get feedback on their solutions, connect with Moms on Twitter and come up with an offer especially targeted to those offended by the ad. While they’re at it, they should start a blog themselves and speak from the heart about what they were thinking.

So what’s the moral to this story? What Motrin should have done originally was to hire a team of Mom’s using social networking to get their opinion of what they would find funny and what would appeal to them. Listening is rule #1 of social networking and Motrin tried to skip that step. If you’re going to speak on behalf of any group of people, you should listen to what they have to say first.

Discussing Social Media with…Eric Guerin

I had the pleasant opportunity to be interviewed for a blog post by Danny Brown, the owner of Press Release PR, providing search engine optimized press releases and SEO-friendly content for the Web 2.0 world, and a vocal advocate of social media PR. Below is a snippet from his blog post with a link to the full interview on his blog. Enjoy!

Discussing Social Media with…Eric Guerin

A little while back, I sent out a request via Twitter asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. With the medium meaning so many different things to so many people, as well as how it can be used, I was interested to hear the views of the people I connect with.

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