Social media has become a huge part of our lives, according to research by the Daily Mail, people check their Facebook accounts, on average 14 times per day whilst some other studies maintain that teenagers view social accounts up to 100 times a day! There is no doubt the vast majority of the population has a social media account of some kind.
Recently, I have come across a few examples derisiveness towards the social element of these platforms and I want to challenge this. I have seen a huge tide of adverse opinion on LinkedIn of people complaining about other users when they use the site socially. For example, this week I found myself sucked into commenting on a thread that challenged a post that wished a person “Happy Birthday”. The original post was saying this shouldn’t happen as LinkedIn is not Facebook and shouldn’t have such a functionality as the social site is more “professional”. My issue with this is more around our behaviour rather than the topic at hand. Why do we feel the need to dictate how others should use a social platform? Surely if a LinkedIn connection wants to wish someone a Happy Birthday they should be allowed to do so without fear of backlash? This function is an intrinsic element of LinkedIn and has been for as long as I have used it (too long to remember), therefore we can assume it is encouraged by LinkedIn. Why do you think that is? I would like to think it is because from the very early days LinkedIn has recognised a fundamental truth: People Buy from People, not faceless corporations. This, I believe is why most social accounts prefer you to have a personal profile, yes you can add a business page function, but the person element comes first.
Should you be Sociable on LinkedIn?
Let’s return to LinkedIn and the uses the site has. Popular with recruiters and job seekers and popular with business professionals of all levels the conversation can be extremely diverse. Another contentious function is the ability to congratulate people when they have a work anniversary or a new job. I spoke to another digital marketer who said the LinkedIn Congratulations Function is spam and he would never congratulate someone on LinekdIn. I think that is rather a shame, I admit, I don’t congratulate everyone, however, if I know the person or commented with that person, perhaps they have previously liked or commented on my posts, I will congratulate them. Why? Because I want to be nice, I want to be supportive and because I want to be visible. On the flip side, I recently added a new networking role to my profile, and received over 50 congratulations messages on the same day, nice warm fuzzy feelings ensue… I took the time to read each one and reply to them all. After all someone has taken the time to send the messages of course I am going to thank them. In among the congratulations was a congratulatory message from a contact I have spoken to previously via LinkedIn, who has looked at working with us, but the timing has just not been right. The gentleman congratulated me on my new role, then asked if I am available at the end of the month to visit their premises as he believes they are now ready to push the button… People buy from People!
The Social Element of Social Media
However you like to use social sites like LinkedIn remains, of course, up to you. Being a “person” is what makes our social media efforts effective, it may be very different for you, each to their own I say. Far be it from me to dictate how you should utilise this and any other social platform, so please don’t attempt to dictate to others.