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The Big Social Media Mistake


There’s nothing wrong with using LinkedIn to connect with people who may eventually become customers or clients.  That’s clearly a big part of the appeal.

But there’s a problem out there in LinkedIn land, and I don’t want you to fall into a common trap where you turn people off and end up hurting your reputation.

A lot of people are using the platform solely as a way to generate leads.  And, if you’re like me, you get flooded with messages from people you don’t know who are trying to sell you something.

I get about a dozen things like the examples below in my in box every week.

  • My name is Adam and I help coaches design and build webinar presentations to get 4-7 new high-ticket clients/week on average without increasing their workload. One of our clients closed over 6 figures in annual contracts in just three days using our framework this past spring, which was super cool. 
  • Hi, Looks like we have some mutual connections. I help small business owners generate leads – no more cold calling. Just close the sale!
  • Denise – I ran across your profile and thought we should connect. I advise entrepreneurial-minded executives open to exploring franchise ownership opportunities. Based on your profile, I think you may be a good candidate!

What’s wrong here?

I don’t know you.  We haven’t established any kind of personal connection, much less a mutually beneficial relationship.

I’m just a name you acquired … a lead.  And now you’re sending me the LinkedIn equivalent of spam.

Look, LinkedIn is really nothing more than a way to network virtually … electronically.  I can link up with someone in Singapore who I’d really like to know and interact with without having to fly there and attend a meet and greet.  Great!

But the electronic variation on the networking theme doesn’t work any better than the in-person original if your only reason for participating is to troll for leads … to whom you then send annoying promotional blurbs.

Networking only works to build a business when it involves the building of a bona fide human connection, one based on helping each other get what the other needs, no matter what that is.  Could be a referral to a good plumber.

It’s not all about, or even primarily about, business.  It’s about connection. It’s about being of service and providing value to the other person in all sorts of ways.

It’s about creating a relationship that’s almost indistinguishable from friendship.

A lot of folks understand this and use the platform to connect in a meaningful way.

And a lot simply don’t.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I want you to use LinkedIn and other social media the right way, as a means of creating genuine personal connections … not as a tool you use to harvest leads and promote yourself.

And because I know it’s easy to think … especially when we see so many other people doing it … that sending out promotional blurbs to new LinkedIn contacts is what you should be doing … that’s it’s smart business … and that it is, in fact, super cool.

You shouldn’t.  It’s not … and it’s NOT!

Best Wishes,




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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!