How To Use LinkedIn: 3 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid

We strongly rely on LinkedIn for business networking.
Two weeks ago we shared how to listen on LinkedIn, today we’d like to show you three heavy mistakes that professionals make on this platform, causing a negative impact on their reputation.

1. Do not grow your network as a stranger

Before LinkedIn existed, were you on a race to get more business contacts in your diary? You added only a few relevant professionals and more likely after meeting with them. If you use LinkedIn to connect and stay in touch with people that you met personally, chances are that it will be easier for them to remember your face and what you do. It doesn’t matter if that comes down to 100 connections. The number is not important, the quality is.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. You may connect with someone that you consider very valuable, that might be in a different country/continent (Book writer, industry authority, etc). However, when you do this, please explain why you want to connect with them. Bottom line is, either case, you always need a custom message to connect on LinkedIn including the person’s first name.  Example:

2. Do not ask for a recommendation if people don’t know you

Would you vouch for people if you don’t know who they are, what they do and more importantly, haven’t done business with? Of course not. Then, please avoid messages like the one below. Ensure to have a complete LinkedIn profile. Not having a picture makes it even worse. Remember: customise the message. Avoid the robotic templates like the one below:

3. Do not use your valuable business network as an email marketing list

First of all, your LinkedIn connections haven’t opted into any email newsletter from you when they accepted your invitation. If you are going to send a private message to one or more LinkedIn connections there has to be a good reason behind it. Example: asking a specific question to people in a specific industry, seeking for specific collaboration, etc. The keyword is “specific“. If you start using LinedkIn to send random messages to your contacts, you will lose credibility and damage your personal and business reputation. If you’re going to send a private message, ensure to always address contacts by their first name. Here’s how not-to-do-it, below:

What other mistakes have you experienced that negatively impacted the reputation of a LinkedIn connection?

Comments ( 11 )
  • Thomas Brunkard says:

    All very pertinent points Fred.u00a0 Well met!nnTom

  • Anonymous says:

    Some great points here, Fred.nnAnother one may be – don’t leave your profile empty! I’ve been contacted by several people who want to link up, and they don’t give me any clues as to why I should!n

  • billy says:

    Good Advise, Newbie on Linkinednnbilly

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks Lewis! That’s a fantastic one that too many people forget about. Thanks for sharing

  • Mags Durand says:

    Great points Fred, thanks! I’d add don’t spam discussions – stick on-topic and don’t just plaster your offer/survey/weblink/and so on into every group you’re a member of. It is irritating, which makes you seem irritating.

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks Mags.nThat’s a very good point. I guess what’s key is that you follow relevant groups and only share with those groups content that’s relevant to them. Chances are that if you follow 30 LI groups, you might not have the time to interact in all of them consistently. However if you target your content to relevant groups, at least you’re offering value.nSpeaking of groups, I’d also advice professionals to read the article before making comments. It happened to me many times that folks make comments based on the title of the post only :(

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Fred, good advice! Especially the first point. It doesu00a0irk me is when someone looks to connect and there is a generic message saying just that they are “a friend”. If I’m not likely to remember where we met or how we know each other, a personalised message saying “Hi Paula, we met at ….. and I’d like to connect with you” is always helpful. Thanks Fred, hope you’re keeping well!u00a0

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks a lot for the comment Paula :)

  • Sheila Averbuch says:

    Whoa, Fred, you hit a lot of goodies here, or I should say baddies. It also reminds me — it’s a shame that it’s so easy for first-time linked in users to start off wrong, mass-inviting contacts, if they let the system suck in contacts from something like their e-mail account. Invitations, as you say, should be sent out thoughtfully and personalized, ideally referencing the connection you have with a person, whether you’ve just met them or are old associates. nnCan I also add one other mistake — not a heavy one, more like a missed opportunity. Why do so many people overlook the “status update” feature? Many folksin my network aren’t aware that they can tell me and their other contacts what they’re up to, or share an interesting tidbit by typing it into the “share an update” speech bubble at the top of their LI home page. nnWhat do you think – is this a wasted opportunity? Or do you think LI isn’t best used for that? Seems to me that, since LI is continually sending out potentially meaningless “updates” to your network about your activity (like who you’ve just connected to or whether you’ve changed your profile), we should use this feature better. Yes, those automatic status updates are sometimes useful, but I find that I notice and remember my linked in contacts who are sharing useful info.nnSheila Averbuch — ENNclick

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the comment Sheila,nIndeed, many people miss a big opportunity by not posting relevant updates or not listeninig to their business network (updates). We did a post three weeks ago about listening on linkedin :) guess many professionals simply focus on the very basic which is filling out some gaps but then forget to dedicate 10 minutes to understand what’s going on and how they can get the most out of it. If you still can’t get it, ask a colleague or friend to help you out. nBeing on LI, or Facebook, or Twitter, just because a lot of people are doing it is not a good reason to engage.nMy experience tells me that way too many people want to “get it” before trying it. They want to get “the step by step” on how to do stuff but then don’t do the homework. It’s tough not to make mistakes like that :s

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