I didn’t even realize it until I went to post a discussion and I received the startling message that I had been “banned” from Linked: HR, the largest HR group on LinkedIn.
Yikes. What did I do wrong? I wrote to one of the Group’s administrators to ask why and beg forgiveness. He was very nice and wrote back that it had happened a couple of months ago and no one knew why, so he was readmitting me.
I don’t know why either, but I lately I have received several detailed emails from administrators sent to all Group members. They are clamping down on spam, inappropriate discussions or Promotions that are mistakenly placed in Discussions and vice versa.
LinkedIn has expanded tremendously in the past couple of years and there are growing complaints about the amount of spam that people are posting. I’ve seen discussions where people have posted comments that had nothing to do with the topic – like how to make a quick buck with their get-rich-scheme. These are deleted immediately but it angers members and creates more work for the group administrators.
While many of us are using social networks to build our brands and business, it’s important to remember that first we need to build relationships. We do that by posting content that adds value to our groups: how to do something, a list of resources, or solutions to problems. Sure, we can brag about an award we won — in our own updates.
I am very active in the Blog Zone’s subgroup, Bloggers Helping Bloggers. A small core of us regularly comment on each other’s posts and offer advice to each other on blogging. I’ve never met any of them, but they’ve become friends and I know there has been business referred by and to members.
One member, Dennis Salvatier, is a terrific designer and also a blogger. He and are collaborating on a post that will appear next week in this space.
What Not to Do
I’ve become very cautious about the content I post to LinkedIn Groups. I’ve also cut down on the number of groups I belong to so I can become more actively engaged with members. I’ve learned a lesson. If you don’t want to get the boot from a LinkedIn Group follow these simple rules:
- Post content that is appropriate to the Group. If it’s a technology group, don’t post your content about how to use a consumer product.
- Start discussions about real issues in an industry or a problem that you know others are facing. I was the Top Influencer of the Week for four straight weeks when I started a discussion in a human resources group about why companies treated laid off employee like criminals, escorting them from the premises. That got a ton of comments with people sharing ideas about how to do it better.
- Post your content in the right place. Most groups are very strict about not allowing promotional content in Discussions. It will be deleted. As the rules for Small Biz Nation state: “Discussions must be relevant to the thread. If it is obvious that the post is spam or self-promotion, the post will be removed.” Most groups use the Promotions tab for posts about events, webinars, and services.
It’s a simple formula, really. Follow the rules, make friends, and don’t annoy LinkedIn group administrators.