I have noticed over the past few years – perhaps since the acquisition of Microsoft–that LinkedIn has become a source of traffic and engagement for me. That said, and at the risk of annoying some people who think there’s no right way to use social media, LinkedIn will only work for you if you follow a few basic principles. guidelinesmost of which should be common sense.
But I found that many people were using the platform in a way that they weren’t happy with. Here are five things you really need to stop doing on LinkedIn if you want to make an impression.
If you just logged in, take a breath before you pitch.
This is by far my biggest peeve with LinkedIn. For some reason people think cooling is effective introduce people without preparation or research. The funniest thing is when someone sends me a message on LinkedIn offering their totally irrelevant service and says something like “We see that in your company you are doing XYZ and thought you could use my product”. I want to answer “Oh, really? And what company would that be?”
It’s so clear that when this happens, the person is mass messaging people with the same tone, so they can’t worry about personalizing the message and including the company name. That aside, you would now think people would understand how important trust is before they sell something.
I can’t think of a single scenario where it’s effective to add someone on LinkedIn and introduce them immediately. Don’t be that guy.
Stop mass tagging people in posts.
This point is not specific to LinkedIn and it happens on other social media sites, but it happens quite often on LinkedIn. If you think tagging me in a comment with tons of other people will get my attention, you’re sorely mistaken.
Bulk tagging people is the same as bulk email as far as I’m concerned. Now, I know some sellers swear by this, and they may even disagree with the first point about messaging random people. But while it may result in a sell here and there, it alienates most people who find it pushy and annoying.
Your name should be your name.
I guess this one is a personal opinion. Your name field on LinkedIn should be reserved for, well, your name. I don’t want to get in touch with someone called “Hillel Fuld — I’m hiring” or “Hillel Fuld — marketing guru.” Just tell me your name and start acting like a human.
Can you imagine meeting someone offline and saying “Hey, I’m Hillel “I’m looking to hire developers “Fuld. What’s your name?” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s called social media for a reason. Be social. Be human. Don’t act like a bot. Nobody wants to connect with bots.
A ninja never identifies himself as a ninja.
Subtlety is everything. You could very well be a marketing “guru” (and I’ll let you know when I figure out what that means), but that’s up to me, not you.
Without doing any real analysis, I’d bet money that there’s a direct correlation between people who call themselves guru or ninja and people who don’t deliver on their marketing promises.
My point is, let your actions do the talking, and don’t call yourself an expert, guru, or ninja at anything. Let me be the judge.
Also, generally speaking, it’s always better to have someone else praise you and your abilities than you praise yourself.
Use the site to extend your existing network.
Again, this is a personal opinion, but I have yet to hear a logical explanation as to why this is wrong. I never understand people who say “I only connect with people I personally know or have worked with.”
Isn’t the point of this social networking to expand your existing network? I don’t need a social platform to connect with my next door neighbor.
Now it’s a matter of how far you go. Do you accept LinkedIn invites from anyone? Maybe someone who has the same job as you? Maybe someone who works in your industry?
The way I use LinkedIn is to connect with anyone I know, anyone I’ve worked with, or anyone in my industry who seems authentic and doesn’t automate their LinkedIn.
Overall, LinkedIn can drive a ton of engagement, traffic, and real business if the platform is leveraged well. But, like most other platforms, if used aggressively, it can break deals and alienate potential customers and partners.