Guest Blog Post By Jasmine Sandler

It used to be that being on LinkedIn ensured Quality B2B Networking. The popularity and rapid growth of LinkedIn has ruined its effect as a top B2B networking machine in many ways. LinkedIn in 2015 made 15+ additions in its functionality and acquisitions.  They were made quickly and without any real communication to the 425mm LinkedIn members on what they mean and how to utilize properly. So , as you can imagine, this may cause a bit of mayhem.

Because of its unmanned expansion, so to speak, especially in the last few years the quality of content and members have dissipated. It used to be that it was the place to go every morning (at least for me) to interact with your peers and circles of influence that really mattered. It was where giving was the theme (sales referrals). The amount of advertising was a good balance so that the user experience for networking was uninterrupted.

Now LinkedIn is a news platform and big time ad agency advertising tool for large clients. LinkedIn has become a place with anyone with a computer can write a post with zero approval process so that posts can be selling and promoting and of no real editorial value. Many times I open posts that are doing direct sales of a product or service with no practical advice or information!

Frequency of posts have reduced any real reading interest. There is no strategy. People post long posts multiple times a day – many with re-purposed content from their blogs. As a Content Marketing Strategist by nature, I actually spend a lot of time writing for each of my publishing platforms. If you don’t believe me, feel free to peek at some recent articles posted on my Author Links.

Connect requests , group activity and inmails have become depersonalized , thus leaving a scattered experience. When social networks and any place the public goes to for that matter, becomes too popular and un-manned , quality suffers. Although it is critical for any business professional or executive to have a solid engaging LinkedIn Profile and put in daily effort here, the results on quality aren’t what they used to be. See what it means to have an Optimized LinkedIn Profile.

What You Can to Harness the Power of LinkedIn Today as a Selling Machine

The way to use LinkedIn as your #1 B2B Sales Tool has now changed. You need to think in terms of true thought-leadership, you need to give more time and attention to who you are connecting to, you need to truly build relationships and support your best referral partners on LinkedIn. No more is LinkedIn an easy game for B2B Sales professionals who don’t take the time to understand and wield its power to support their own target sales goals.

As a LinkedIn Author , LinkedIn Coach to Executives and LinkedIn Marketing Trainer, I believe in starting a task force to get LinkedIn’s networking effect back to where it used to be. Who is with me? Start by reviewing your 1st LinkedIn network , have a game plan for how you will use LinkedIn on a daily basis. stand apart by providing value – whether that is to make a qualified introduction or to invite someone to a valued educational event. LinkedIn is massive , but it is up to you to use it in the right way.

Here’s to your LinkedIn Sales Success!

Note from Kristina Jaramillo – Partner at Get LinkedIn Help

I completely agree with Jasmine on the fact that selling and marketing need to change this year. As I have written in the past, B2B buyers are calling for a change in how you market to them. Click here to read my post.

I also agree with the fact that content is just being pushed out. Sales and marketing leaders are going for reach (hoping that something sticks) instead of thinking about the next step actions and how the content can be used to advance relationships. They’re not thinking how the content will change perceptions and drive actual demand. My partner and Chief Social Content Strategist Eric Gruber has written about the type of content we should be using on LinkedIn. Read the post here

Lastly, I’d love to join Jasmine’s task force to get LinkedIn’s effect back to where it used to be. As part of this task force, I challenge you to start making changes to your LinkedIn marketing and social selling approach. Like Jasmine mentioned, focus on relationships. For our firm and for many of our clients, we have eliminated lead goals as we’re fully focused on relationships goals and leveraging those relationships to meet revenue goals. Click here to learn more about this approach.