If you’re doing research on the best places to market your B2B business, I am willing to bet you’ll come across several recommendations to build your business on LinkedIn. It’s well known that LinkedIn is a great place to meet and network with business owners and professionals, which makes it an ideal space for B2B businesses to hang out.
However, this blog post isn’t about providing quick tips to elevate your LinkedIn strategy. There are tons of influencers you can follow and courses you can take on that subject. I want to tell you about my first really big, and really expensive, business lesson…
Don’t Build Your House on Rented Land.
When I first started my business, I was off and running like Phoebe in the park. I knew my target audience was business leaders, so I shook the dust off my 15 year old LinkedIn account and started building my business there.
Jumping in with both feet and a ton of enthusiasm, I started spending an hour or more every day creating content, engaging with posts, networking, learning the latest strategies… alllll the things. I even invested in a mastermind focused on building my business on LinkedIn and I followed their advice to the letter, excited to give my new business a jump start.
And it was going great! My metrics were showing quick, steady growth in my reach, my engagements, my connections – you name it. Lots of green, upward trending arrows and gold stars on my analytics reports.
Even better, my content was generating interest from potential clients and I was chatting with them in the DMs. A solid plan and positive trending KPIs : I 👏 Am 👏 Killing 👏 It!
Around this same time I listened to a podcast that focused specifically about not building your business on social media. Algorithms change, companies are sold – you don’t want to build your house on rented land, they said.
Yep. Totes! I thought, half distracted, as I created a LinkedIn newsletter and updated my to do lists with new weekly LinkedIn tasks.
Going to LinkedIn Jail with No One to Call
About 8 weeks later, I was suddenly unable to log into my account. LinkedIn said they needed to verify my identity and wanted pictures of my photo ID. Facebook asked for the same verification years ago when I was buying ads during an election season (unrelated to elections, but everyone was being vigilant) so I didn’t think too much about it.
Then a week went by with no update. Then two weeks…
Ironically, if you can’t log into your LinkedIn account, you also can’t submit a support ticket.
I did a little research and tried contacting LinkedIn support via Facebook and Twitter. When I went to those pages, I saw strings of posts from people with the same issue – locked out with no explanation and frustrated by a lack of response. It was so prevalent that LinkedIn itself pinned a message about their high volume of customer support tickets.
Please be patient, they said.
Three months went by where I was restricted from the platform without explanation. I had absolutely no information about when the “temporary” restriction would be lifted. I followed up with LinkedIn every few weeks but the messages either received a generic response or were often just ignored.
I share this story because I didn’t learn the lesson in the podcast – I had to learn it the hard way, by losing months of time and work product.
When you’re locked out of LinkedIn, you lose access to all of your LinkedIn contacts.
I was mid-conversation in DMs with probably a dozen people – some warm leads, some potential collaboration partners – with no way to connect with them “offline.”
I also lost access to my LinkedIn Business page, which floated out on the internet like a ghost ship from a pirate movie for three months – and was also the third search result on Google for my business. 🤦♀️
LinkedIn owned the land and they took away my house keys. 🔑
Invest in Digital Properties You Own
As I shared this story with friends and colleges, I started hearing the same story. “I was banned from Facebook for a while without any explanation,” “My husband’s company was kicked off Instagram one day without warning,” and “Amazon shuts down online shops all the time.” My story is not unique, it’s an important reminder to invest in digital properties that you own – your website, your email list, your blog, your podcast…
Social media is a rental, with no formal lease agreement. And, sadly, nobody to call when you’re locked out
Getting Released from LinkedIn Jail
I am pleased to say that I was recently allowed back on LinkedIn. I still don’t know why I was blocked – believe me, I’ve asked!
I learned my lesson this time though. I will use LinkedIn in a way that supports my strategy, just like I use Instagram and Facebook. But I will never again let a social media platform hold my house keys.
My hot tip for you is to take a moment to audit your strategy and make sure you own your investments!
How To Assess Your Social Media Marketing Risk
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