April 30, 2014

While LinkedIn is a highly rewarding platform for many businesses, many often forget about it in terms of "social media". And because many don't use it regularly or don't understand its application, they are using it completely against the unwritten LinkedIn etiquette rules.

LinkedIn can provide great value to you and your business but you have to use it correctly. If you're not getting good results, it might be time to evaluate how you're using the platform.

Are you worried that you might be using it incorrectly? Then read on to find out the most common LinkedIn mistakes that many users make.

Incomplete Profile

One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is not having a complete profile. You should have your name listed correctly (spelling, not all in caps, first name followed by your last name). You'd be surprised how many people can't get their name right! You should have a professional profile photo that represents who you are today. For more on this, check out my previous post about selecting good profile photos.

You should also have a good title (not just your current position) and a catchy description. These are easy to change and are what people see first. Make a good first impression! I wrote this previous post with tips on how to quickly update your LinkedIn profile.

Using It Only As a Resume

LinkedIn has SO much to offer everyone. Whether you're looking for a job, running your own business, promoting your company, looking to network, or any other reason, LinkedIn will help you succeed. But if you only treat the platform as a digital resume, that's all you'll get in return.

Determine why you're using the site and what you want to achieve. Craft your profile, your contact information, and your updates to reflect these goals. Then get active and start using the site on a regular basis to capitalize on the opportunities available to you!

It's NOT Facebook!

Seriously, it's not Facebook. Don't use it like you use Facebook. Yes, you can include photos in your status updates. But that doesn't mean you have to. And, for the love of God, please stop sharing the memes and LION images that flood the home feed nowadays. If I see another "Only geniuses can solve this math problem" photo, I'm gonna scream. No, you're not a genius, nor am I. But we all know the answer to that stupid "challenge".

This is not the purpose of LinkedIn. Ask anyone who uses the site regularly - and effectively. If you are one who uses those memes and photos, what's it doing for you?  So, you got a hundred people to figure out a 6th grade math problem... what the heck does that do for your retail store? Nothing, that's what. And you're not trying to get more reach by engaging more people like you do on Facebook so stop wasting your time and mine.

Posting Too Many Updates

While the number of updates is a little subjective, LinkedIn definitely isn't (and shouldn't be) as active as Twitter. If you feel the need to update us every 10 minutes, head over to Twitter and go nuts! In general, it's acceptable to post updates to LinkedIn 2-5 times a day, depending on what you're sharing.

Only Sharing Your Own Content

This applies on every other social media site and it applies here too. If you're only sharing your own content, people will get bored and stop reading your updates. Instead, mix in some interesting posts and content relevant to your niche, industry, or goals on LinkedIn.

Using Generic Connection Requests

You can always tell who uses LinkedIn to really connect with others versus those just there to collect numbers. When you send someone a connection request, LinkedIn gives you a default message: "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Most people send this message and nothing else.

I don't know you... Do I? How did you find me? Why do you want to connect? How is connecting with you of value to either of us? Rather than sending seemingly random requests to connect, write a personal message. Answer one or multiple of these questions and show genuine interest in connecting with the person.

Mass Requests for Endorsements or Recommendations

First of all, I rarely think you should request endorsements or recommendations. However, I have occasionally requested recommendations after working with a new client or other means to validate my services. But I NEVER request endorsements. The more you beg for validation, the more desperate you look and it will reflect poorly on you.

If you are going to request recommendations, make it personal and send it to ONE person at a time. Explain the situation and why you are requesting it. If they don't respond, don't ask again. Move on.

Spamming Your Connections

This should be understood as a faux pas but so many people do this! Just because we connected - and have never talked or communicated since that day - doesn't mean I want an email from you weekly telling me about your new product. I will delete your connection in a heartbeat if I notice this behavior! Don't do this. Don't harass your connections.

Yes, you can send updates or information or requests via email. But keep it professional, keep it short, keep it relevant, and make it personal! When I sent out emails regarding my ebook, I literally went through all of my connections and selected only those I thought would benefit from it. I then sent each of them a personalized message (not a mass message to multiple people). Was it time consuming? Yes. But I'm here to connect and educate, not spam.

So, are you making any of these mistakes? If you are, please work to correct them. I promise it will reward you!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Great points! First and foremost, I approach LinkedIn as a “professional” platform. I have found it very valuable in connecting with businesses. Because of that, I only publish the best things I really want to share (whether it is my own or other’s articles). I think that when people ignore these “rules”, they don’t get very far on LinkedIn!

    1. Thanks Kim! You’re right, LinkedIn is a “professional” platform and should always be conducted as such. Much like you, I only share the best content I read or content that I know is highly targeted to my connections on LinkedIn. This ensures we don’t overwhelm news feeds with useless content. Keep up the good work and model etiquette on LinkedIn!

  2. Thank you for writing this and I can’t wait to share it with my community, your points are very valid. I hate it when I get spam emails from random connections. I always enjoy reading your posts on all your platforms.

    1. Hi Kelley! Thank you so much for your kind words and support 🙂 I appreciate you sharing this with your community.
      I have to agree with you, spam emails are one of the worst issues on LinkedIn. And they’re always so impersonal!

  3. I never really been using LinkedIn though I keep seeing posts and commentaries on how effective it is. I guess it’s time for me to really take time in using this platform and your sugestions here all make sense. Thank you Jen!

    1. Hi Rambo! Thank you for your comments. LinkedIn is a very powerful platform that can help a lot of businesses grow their brand. Especially for someone in your niche, LinkedIn really allows you to connect with ideal target audiences and potential customers. I highly recommend you look into using it more.

  4. Great tips ! I too started interning at FuturOn, a digital marketing agency and needed tips on linkedin updates and etiquette . Thanks so much for this post.

  5. “Ridiculously True!!!!”

    A lot of people need to understand this. I have people in my LinkedIn connections who post a personal family pic on a vacation or who share a one line joke (what’s Twitter and Facebook for then, right?) These are the people who I wouldn’t want to have on my list (at least not in LinkedIn, and trust me I’ve let a couple of such people go..!!!

    I was having a conversation with a colleague once and I asked him, “Are you on LinkedIn?” His answer amused me – “I don’t trust LinkedIn anymore. It’s become too social!!” Sad but True! People losing trust on such a unique and powerful tool.

    Really a wonderful post. I’m resharing this across all the networks I’m active on.

    Keep Writing.

    1. Thanks Ananiah! I’m so glad you liked this and that you feel the same way.
      And thank you for sharing this with your networks 🙂

Comments are closed.

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