How often do you use LinkedIn? Are you using it effectively? In a recent post, I shared a piece from Mashable that I was mentioned in about tips on using the professional network effectively. While I am not an expert on every aspect of LinkedIn, there are basic rules that are constantly broken. People are not understanding how they are being perceived, and I’m here to clear up a few things. Here’s my list of 5 things you should never do on LinkedIn:
1. Don’t Self-Promote
People like to talk about themselves. A lot.
My band director in high school used to say to us, “You shouldn’t have to brag about your performance. Your performance should speak for itself.” This holds true on LinkedIn as there are some individuals who feel the need to shove their expertise down everyone’s throat in a sad attempt to get noticed.
Rule of thumb: On LinkedIn, you shouldn’t have to brag about your expertise. Your expertise should speak for itself. SHOW people on LinkedIn that you’re an expert… don’t TELL them. Bragging about yourself by posting links to your own blog or attempting to sell your product will only annoy people. Cut it out. Instead, share great content and be an active participant in groups related to your industry. If you provide thoughtful responses to discussion questions, I guarantee that you’ll win people over.
2. Don’t Ask Strangers for a Recommendation
Believe it or not, people do it. A lot. You should only ask for recommendations from individuals you’ve had a working relationship with who can comment at length about your work ethic, assets, and character. If you’re asking a complete stranger for a recommendation, you’re going to have a bad time. It communicates desperation.
3. Don’t Send a Generic Invitation to Connect
You know the drill…
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
I’m all about meeting new people online. If we’ve never exchanged messages back and forth or we don’t have any mutual connections, then PLEASE take the extra 2 minutes to tell me a little about yourself and why you’d like to connect. Taking that extra step could mean the difference between an accepted request or a rejected one.
4. Don’t Add People to Your Distribution List Without Permission
The other day, I received a request to connect from someone. We were in some of the same groups and had commented on some of the same discussions. Since I was somewhat familiar with this person, I decided to accept the request.
Harmless, right? Wrong.
This person apparently added me to a distribution list without my permission. A solicitation was sent to a group of people and get this… EVERYONE’S NAME AND EMAIL WERE VISIBLE!
Two of my biggest pet peeves: people who overuse “reply-all” and people WHO ADD OTHERS TO A DISTRIBUTION LIST WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION.
The outcome: Connection removed. Reported for spam. Buh-bye.
5. Don’t Be a LinkedIn Ghost
I like creating new words and phrases, and this is one of them. A LinkedIn ghost is simply someone who has a completely bare profile and no profile picture. LinkedIn is a site for networking, and no one wants to network with a ghost. People want to know who you are and what you’re about. People also want to see what you look like. If you don’t have either of these elements, don’t expect to get too far with your networking efforts. It’s all about being personable.
Did I miss anything? What frustrates you when using LinkedIn? Be sure to share by leaving a comment below.