Are You a LinkedIn® Lurker or a Social Schmoozer?

During an interview between two esteemed social networking colleagues, Kim Garst and Melonie Dodaro, they chatted about the various personality types of professionals who are on LinkedIn®. I found the topic intriguing so I thought I’d share this with you. I even added one of my own to this list.

Here are five personality types often found on LinkedIn:

1. The sales pitcher: You may not be one, but likely you have experienced this person. They reach out to connect with you and as soon as you accept, you get a sales pitch. AND, there are those folks who don’t even do that. Instead, they lead with the pitch in their initial Connection Request.
Like this one that I received:

Hello Debra,

I make marketing funnels for small and medium business owners.

You look very busy, though I can help you grow when you’re ready. My new service using LinkedIn is a great place to start.


Does that sound like a pitch to you? Interesting, how this person who is promoting using LinkedIn as a tool doesn’t follow social networking etiquette. He didn’t even ask me to connect, he just went into his “shtick.”

If you’ve ever heard me present, you’ve heard my mantra – “Ditch the Pitch.” In my opinion, LinkedIn, like all marketing (and life), is about building and nurturing relationships.

You wouldn’t consider marriage after the first date. Would you? So why to try to sell me when we haven’t even connected yet?

2. The social ghost: Some time ago a friend suggested you join LinkedIn so you said “okay.” You created a profile, but MAYBE all you put on there was a photo, your name and job title. Your account has been sitting there, sad, lonely and invisible. It’s been so long you may not even remember the email you used to set up your account (or your password).

I often have these “ghosts” in my audience. I know because they come up to me after a LI workshop and say “I haven’t touched my profile in years, but you’ve inspired me to go in there and change that.”

Ghosts often think “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me” Duh! You’re not working LinkedIn so is it any wonder? I often compare LinkedIn to joining a Chamber of Commerce. You don’t just pay your dues and join, you need to get INVOLVED.

LinkedIn is the same way. If you have a profile, first thing to consider is whether or not it even encourages engagement. It’s important to create a robust and optimized profile, so when someone looks you up, they’re enticed to engage with you. Having a robust profile also opens the door to up to 40 times more opportunities.

LinkedIn Lurker or Social Schmoozer3. The social lurker: This is the one I’m adding to the list. Similar to the “Facebook stalker,” you’re on the network, but you never engage. You simply check out what everyone else is posting. Like the ghost, you probably have a bare bones profile. All you want to do is see what your colleagues or competition is up to. You don’t “like,” comment or share a thing. You don’t post any updates, much less write an article. As defines it, you “remain in or around a place secretly,” or you “read or observe an ongoing discussion without participating in it.”

4. The social schmoozer:
(Kim and Melonie referred to this as the “social butterfly”) You get online daily and “like,” comment, share or post your own posts/articles. This is highly preferable to the sales pitcher and ghost. However, while you’re engaging online, you’ve yet to schmooze offline. If you’re having authentic conversations on LinkedIn, take the opportunity to move them offline. A phone call, a Skype or Zoom call, or if you’re in the same area, meet face-to-face. What a concept? A real live, in-person connection where you shake hands and smile at one another! Yippee.

5. The social strategist: You approach LinkedIn strategically. You post with purpose – content that is relevant to your audience. You take the time to personalize your Connection Requests. You are more concerned about quality of connections vs. quantity. You realize LinkedIn is not just about finding clients It’s an excellent platform for finding strategic partnerships, referral resources and like-minded professionals to exchange ideas with.

Like the social schmoozer, you engage with your LinkedIn connections online, but you also connect with them offline – face-to-face (without pitching). You value the importance of building and nurturing relationships.

So which LinkedIn personality are you? Will you shift from one to another? If you’re a social ghost or LinkedIn lurker, perhaps it’s time to dip your toes into the water, optimize your profile and start shifting into social schmoozer and graduate to social strategist. (Note: I never recommend the sales pitcher as an option.) Share your thoughts below because I‘d love to hear from you. Thanks a million.