Stop Assuming Connections Need Your Help!

Stop Assuming Connections Need Your Help!

Be it via automatic DM or a Linkedin reply, I’m getting pretty tired of the assumption that by choosing to connect with you, I somehow need your help. Nine times out of ten I don’t require your assistance, nor do I desire to pay for your services.

My Connection Just Might Help Y-O-U!

There are a variety of reasons why I might be prompted to follow you. Just a few include:

  1. I like your bio.
  2. We work in the same industry.
  3. I’ve checked out your blog and you publish some great content.
  4. We take part in the same group activities (Google Hangouts, Tweetchats, etc).
  5. We share a hobby or passion (coffee, craft beer, music, etc.).
  6. I think you’d make an interesting podcast guest.

While I’m hoping to gain a connection, I’m not going in thinking you’re going to be my next big client. I don’t have a Twitter list titled “Hot Prospects.”

Stop to think. If I’ve connected with you because I think you’re a great writer, I’m probably going to share your stuff. It’s a mutually beneficial connection. I have a new source for share-worthy content and your content has the chance to be seen by some new eyes. In this instance we both win a prize!

Gee, Could You Stop Being So Generic?

How may I help? Put a lot of time and effort into that incredibly individualized response, did you?

C’mon now. If I’m connecting with you, there’s a good chance you’re some sort of digital marketer. Color me unimpressed when you can’t come up with anything more exciting than that!

Did you take the 30-90 seconds to read my bio? Did you take a moment to peruse my latest publishes, to seek out my latest shares? No. You just assumed that the only reason for the connection was your own awesomeness. I must need you or your skills.

Would you want to hire someone who boiled everyone down with the same generic formula? I wouldn’t.

Connect With Intent & Purpose

I’m coming back to one of my favorite phrases. I really need to hashtagify that bad boy, #intent_purpose.

Each connection starts with a specific intent. But the purpose just might change over time. I may connect with you because you tweet terrific when it comes to oatmeal stout, but as we continue to build that connection, through conversation, I may find that you’re also a stellar proponent of podcasting or something else that interests me.

People, like diamonds, have many facets. Or maybe we’re like onions and have many layers. Whichever analogy you prefer, we’re all different. We can’t be cut from the same cloth. We can’t be helped by one-size-fits-all generic solutions.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Consider your intent when you connect and when you respond. #SMMsmarts” quote=”Consider your intent when you connect and when you respond to a connection.” theme=”style4″]

Is your response or follow-up valuable to the individual or is it catered to the masses?

Meet & Greet Before You Mine For Client Gold!

Relationships, even those between prospect and provider, take time. Lots of time. Engagement doesn’t happen in minutes. Sales require subtlety. I’d like it if you took your time and sorted out whether we’re a good match before you pitch me.

And, yes, an unsolicited, too early, “How Can I Help You” message is absolutely a pitch. Not a good one, certainly. But we can see the dollar signs in your eyes, and the lust for acquisition in your heart.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Connections aren’t acquisitions. We’re people. Treat us like individuals! #SMM” quote=”Connections aren’t acquisitions. We’re people. Treat us like individuals and you’ll soon see that connections more readily build into relationships.” theme=”style4″]

3 replies
  1. Cendrine Marrouat
    Cendrine Marrouat says:

    Hello Mallie,

    I was waiting for the day I could disagree with you. This is rare, as we pretty much share the same viewpoints. Today is that day. 🙂

    I don’t disagree about social networks in general. I disagree about LinkedIn. And this is why.

    I’m tired of generic invitations. They scream of randomness and non-personalization.

    So, when I receive one, I will do a quick profile check to see the relevancy of the potential connection. Then, I’ll send a thank-you message. In this message, I always ask: “How may I help you?”

    It’s not a sales pitch, it’s a way for me to open the conversation. People may need help. But they can also say: “Oh, I don’t need anything. I just like what you write.” Or maybe: “We could get to know one another because we are part of the same groups.” etc etc.

    I don’t assume people need help. LinkedIn is just a business-centric platform. People should treat it as such.

    If you send me a generic invitation, you should expect questions. It’s not my responsibility to find out more about you.

    Just my two cents. 😉

  2. Nikolas Allen
    Nikolas Allen says:

    I’ve had this same thought, Mallie! As a marketer and biz book author, I’m passionate about the topic of branding, marketing and small business. I also feel I have lots to offer in terms of educational info for people seeking it. However, I don’t like to think that everyone NEEDS my help.

    This is a challenge at times, because authors and entrepreneurs need to sell their services and promote themselves if they hope to grow an audience. I guess the trick is to know the difference between your peers, followers and online connections – and your prospects. Sometimes there may be an overlap, but for the most part, I would agree that it’s best practice to NOT assume everyone you connect with online is a potential client.

    And, for the love of all things holy, do NOT offer “help” to new followers via Auto DM!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Nikolas. I see no benefit in responding to a generic request or connection prompt with equally generic, time-wasting drivel like “how may I help you?” If you want to call out the generic requests take the 30 extra seconds to ask what prompted the connection, click on a bio and do a little sleuthing. Just don’t add to the generic noise by creating more generic, useless noise.

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