Today business is no longer about boring board room meetings or random cold calling. It is all about social selling, relationship building, conversations, and creating a buzz. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to engage in such meaningful conversations with prospects and tap hidden business and career opportunities.
While LinkedIn is a great social network to connect with interesting people and build meaningful business relationships, misusing the platform could often lead to career damaging consequences.
Here are 15 annoying LinkedIn behavior that you must stop right away.
1. Using inappropriate images
LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is a global professional network of serious individuals who are there on the platform for serious business networking. If you want to leave the right impression, and attract the right attention and the right kind of people to connect with you, use appropriate images for your profile.
A professional mug shot with a light smile is okay, but a full – length image or a selfie – A strict NO NO.
Don’t use logos. People want to connect with real people.
Facebook is for personal updates. LinkedIn is for professional updates. Simple fact but many people forget it. Had an awesome weekend with your colleagues or friends at the bar ? Great. But then LinkedIn is not a place to broadcast those updates.
2. Sending Impersonal Invites / Inviting people indicating as Friend
These are two common mistakes that many people knowingly or inadvertently make – Sending generic / impersonal connection requests and inviting strangers to connect, indicating them as “friend”.
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”
This generic invite is a huge turnoff to the majority of LinkedIn users. You absolutely must send a personalized note to every single person you’d like to connect with, telling them who you are and why you’re inviting them to connect.
Sending a stranger a LinkedIn invite indicating them as a ‘friend’, is not good LinkedIn etiquette. However if you have met the person or have had some interaction, mention it in a personalized note.
The wrong way:
The right way:
3. Sending Spam/ Unsolicited Promotional Messages
Someone accepting your connection request does not mean they give you the permission to start bombarding them with unsolicited marketing messages and spam. It is very impolite to do so and might hurt your reputation and also that of your company. Wait for the right opportunity to sell your services. Take genuine interest in the contact, participate in discussions, comment or like his/her status posts. Once you’ve had a decent level of interaction and you feel the person is receptive to your messages, only then send the concerned a message about your company and its services. Don’t overdo it or be intrusive.
4. Sending Bulk Spam Messages
If you are someone who sends unsolicited, spam messages in bulk, you need to stop it immediately. People don’t appreciate such spam messages promoting services and more so, it is very impersonal and demeaning for the receiver. If you want to be taken serious on LinkedIn, you have to relook the way you speak to connections through messages.
5. Posting Meaningless Quotes and Math’s Puzzles
It does a world of good to understand that LinkedIn is not a space to just post anything you fancy. It is annoying to see the news feeds filled with meaningless quotes, math’s quizzes and puzzles.
These posts are better posted on Facebook than on a professional site like LinkedIn. If you post far too many such content you run the risk of being “Hidden” for life from your connections newsfeed and at worst even “removed”.
Think twice before posting such content. Even commenting on such updates can cause trouble as your updates / comments show up on the timelines of all your connections.
Here are some examples of annoying content that is doing its rounds on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Open Networkers or LIONs as they call themselves post these annoying memes inviting people to share their email ID’s / connect with them. It is okay to be a LION but if you are going to spam other people’s timelines with annoying “I’M A LION, LET US CONNECT” memes, you are soon going to be added to many people’s SPAM list.
Asking members to comment with their Emails on public threads and discussions is also not right LinkedIn behaviour. By doing this, you are willingly exposing users info / email to database thiefs who may be in disguise. I have written about this topic in much detail here.
6. Over promoting your company
Don’t do the mistake of over promoting your company or services. Instead take part in meaningful discussions, engage in conversations and subtly sell your services. Where problems are identified or where connections openly ask for professional services or advice, that’s your cue to jump in with solutions that your company has on offer. Posting important company updates occasionally is also okay, but posting too many links of your products and services several times in a day or even a week can be considered outright spam.
7) Misleading posts and statuses
Of late there is a disturbing trend on LinkedIn, of posting misleading updates promising jobs. People indulge in this just to draw attention, get engagement and getting more connections. This is not a right approach to building your network on LinkedIn.
8. Posting Inappropriate Content
Avoid posting anything of sexual nature on LinkedIn. Even if you are the author of a book on relationship advice, it is better to not overtly promote it on LinkedIn.
Posting anything racist can mean you end up in peoples “Blocked” list very soon as this is not the right forum to discuss or debate about politics or racism.
9. Posting content of religious nature
Posting anything pertaining to a particular religion must be avoided at any cost on LinkedIn. You must note that LinkedIn is a professional network with people from all races, sects’ beliefs and ideologies. You might offend someone unintentionally by posting anything religious and this could be a single strong reason why someone permanently removed you from their connections list.
10. Using inappropriate language
Always use very dignified and respectable language in all your posts, comments and discussions. Never ever use any obscene, vulgar words or make any remarks that are offensive,racist, unprofessional or controversial. Remember people are watching your actions, they are seeing your discussions all the time as all your activities show up on the newsfeed of your connections and their extended network. You don’t want to risk losing a potential job opportunity or a potential client by creating a wrong impression. If you cannot add a meaningful value to any conversation then better to not take part. If you do take part, make sure you have something meaningful to add.
11. Being Overactive and Random
Avoid the tendency to randomly ‘like’ any and every post that shows up on your timeline. It is annoying for your connections as your ‘like’ activity crowds up the newsfeed of your connections. Once a person chooses to HIDE your updates, it is never ever going to show up on his timeline again unless he/she manually ‘unhides’ your updates. You risk losing the contact from seeing your important updates for life by your wrong moves. Is it really worth hurting your future business networking needs to comment on that silly math quiz or content not suitable for LinkedIn?? Think before you click ‘Like’ or comment.
12. Oversharing from Twitter
Linking your twitter account to LinkedIn is fine but oversharing every tweet and crowding peoples timelines with random tweets is not. This can annoy connections to the point of removing you, once and for all from their network.
13. Adding Connections To Email Database without Permission
If you are adding connections to your email database without permission and then slowly bombarding them with marketing messages, you need to stop right away. You and your company may be reported as spammer. Don’t treat LinkedIn as an email data base and spam your connections with your company updates, news or offers. If they chose to subscribe to your feeds, then that’s another thing.
14. Asking people you’ve never worked with to endorse/recommend you
It is a very wrong move to ask connections who have not worked with you, to endorse you for your skills or recommend you for your work. That doesn’t come to say you cannot ask for recommendations. Feel free to send recommendation requests to colleagues, associates or clients whom you have worked with and who are really in a position to recommend you.
15. Misusing LinkedIn Publisher to post job ads
LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform for everyone recently giving people a chance to share their subject knowledge and experience. While it is a brilliant platform for content marketing, and establishing your position as a thought leader, it is not a job board for posting job opportunities at your company. LinkedIn has umpteen appropriate options for posting job ads but if you think the Publisher is for Recruitment ads or random musings, then you are guilty of misusing the platform and are working your way to LinkedIn disaster.
LinkedIn is a professional network and you are “Professionally judged” for whatever you write or post, so make sure you do not make spelling mistakes and typos. Thoroughly proof read all content on your profile from profile information to status updates to comments & discussions you post. Always use proper grammer & punctuation and make sure the information you share is accurate.
Avoid using Email ID’s & Monikers in Name Field
LinkedIn has some very specific guidelines about what may, and may not, go into your name field. Your LinkedIn name field is for your name alone. Your first name and your last name — your real, legal ones. You can include a former or maiden name as well. And you can include degrees, suffixes and certifications like Dr., Prof.,Rtn., etc if you wish. But you can NOT include a title, email address, website, location or other contact information. Symbols, special characters and numbers are also forbidden.
Have I left out any other annoying LinkedIn behavior? Please feel free to let me know in comments below.
John Thomas is a UAE based social media consultant who currently works hand in hand with some of the leading brands in the MENA region, helping them improve their digital footprint, increase brand awareness and accentuate their social media presence.