Wednesday, September 3, 2014

LinkedIn Vulnerability - Group Posting Can Lead to Blocking

If you count on person-to-person networking through LinkedIn Groups, you should consider having a back up plan.  LinkedIn initiated a new protocol this spring where any member can flag any posts to group discussions as spam, which then blocks your posting in ALL of your groups.  This can have an adverse impact on your marketing efforts, as well as your distribution of information such as product bulletins to groups and individuals who have joined LinkedIn for this very purpose.

One of the beautiful aspects of LinkedIn includes the ability to identify people within your vertical market and initiate or join conversations with peers.  No other networking opportunity (with the exception of corporate blogs within an organization) gives you exposure to an engaged audience within your industry.

The problem arises when a competitor or other individual with an axe to grind decides to flag any post as irrelevant or promotional.  LinkedIn makes this easy to do by simply pulling down the carat on the upper right hand side of any post.  Once one post gets flagged, you instantly go into moderation status ACROSS ALL GROUPS, meaning your bulletins, comments, discussions and other contributions immediately go to a queue for manager approval instead of being posted.  This means that your response to a discussion won't post until approved sometimes days or weeks (or NEVER) after you write it, meaning your contributions become irrelevant and you miss participating in industry conversations.

LinkedIn support refutes this citing that group managers can override all moderations. That's LinkedIn's position regarding why they won't change this new approach. But you may find that many groups have a "self-policing" policy where the manager takes a "hands-off" approach. This means your contributions go into a black hole.  A bitter pill, if LinkedIn is an important part of your marketing.

Some alternatives, if you have been blocked - as I have been - might include:

  • Linking to your content in Pulse by following the instructions on LinkedIn's site
  • Use to create a print version of your content, and promote that link on your website and blog
  • Duplicate your content into powerpoints, and use SlideShare and promote that link on your website and blog

Of course LinkedIn designed this innovation to combat spammers. We all hate spammers. However, most people see spam and immediately recognize it. Those spammers get banned. When the spammer realizes he or she has been banned he simply creates a new avatar for himself and starts anew.  These are not people who have actively participated in LinkedIn earnestly and honestly for years building large networks of people.  It TAKES YEARS to add 500 people to your network. A spammer has a small network and a new profile. A spammer doesn't get top contributor status. WHY, then, is LinkedIn seemingly eliminating the utility it has created? For LinkedIn this represents a sad development. The company spent years making itself relevant using groups as a way for people to connect. This new protocol means that era is over.  

The good news is that you can now ban your competitors from posting!

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