How LinkedIn Users Earn an “F” in Personal Marketing

Enough already.  I have to call “foul” on LinkedIn users.

When I played pick-up basketball, we self-refereed and yelled out “foul” when we got hacked. It worked fine.

It’s time for LinkedIn members to take a similar approach.  Let me explain.

Why is it okay for a stranger to send me a connect request without a reason?  It’s not.



Something prompted you to send the message.   Tell me.  LinkedIn makes it easy to replace or add onto the standard verbiage that comes in the connection request box. So, why don’t people do it?

If you can’t take two minutes to tell me why you’re reaching out to connect, then don’t bother.  It’s unprofessional and impolite, and I’m not interested.

It begs the question.  What’s supposed to happen should I agree to connect to this unknown person?  I have no idea.

I’m not the first to say this, but it bears repeating.  LinkedIn is about quality, not quantity.  If you’re just looking to pad your LinkedIn connection numbers, keep me out.  Worse, if you’re seeking to tap into my list of contacts for hidden purposes, forget about it.

It seems that people don’t realize how they act on LinkedIn reflects their personal brand and communication skills, good or bad.  Maybe I should be flattered that “Unknown Businessperson X” wants to connect.  But I’m not. Every time it happens, I shake my head and wonder why.

It’s not just me.  This past weekend I was speaking with a friend who’s a senior global business executive, and he, too, receives these unexplained LinkedIn connection requests.  He ignores them, but he does check their profile.  Maybe that’s part of the intent?

Bottom line, I’m tired of getting “fouled” on LinkedIn, so please stop.

One more LinkedIn observation and question.  Why don’t members take advantage of the contact information section on their profiles, and then keep it up-to-date?

I’m amazed, and disappointed, whenever I notice that one of my connections doesn’t include an email address or phone number.  I don’t get it.  It shows a lack of appreciation for an important LinkedIn benefit (real-time, up-to-date directory), or possibly a dismissive attitude toward the interactive philosophy underpinning the platform.  (Yes, I know two-way communication between members can be done within LinkedIn itself, but that’s not the point.)

LinkedIn is a wonderful tool.  And like all tools, it has to be used properly, otherwise it becomes junk.


How you act on business social media sites such as LinkedIn reflects your personal brand.  When you ask a stranger to connect with no stated reason, you get an “F” in personal marketing.

Harvey Chimoff is a marketing and business team leader who drives performance in consumer products and manufacturing companies.

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