This was a post I started but decided not to write.
When I searched about things not to do in LinkedIn, the content that came up was similar to my own list. I didn’t think I’d be adding anything new.
So instead I analyzed my weekly LinkedIn articles.
It was a subject that only I could write about. It was unique to me and my experience posting a LinkedIn article every week for nearly a year.
Here are 7 things NOT to do in LinkedIn, if you want to build your career and promote your network and your employer. (Note: opinions expressed in this blog are my own.)
1. Spamming a new connection
Is there anything more annoying than a new connection immediately sending a direct message pitching a service, requesting a meeting or asking for a job?
Sometimes it feels like the number of messages requesting a 30-minute meeting add up to more than 50 hours a week. People on LinkedIn are professionals. They have to spend their time on their top priorities, not on meeting with people pitching something in which the recipient has no interest.
In order to have permission to make a pitch, a real relationship has to be formed first. People have share information of value over a period of time. They have to get to know each other.
And while I generally believe in responding, that only extends to an initial response. Follow-up responses asking why I can’t meet or why I’m not interested or if I can refer a colleague are not messages that I respond to. The last thing I want to do is burden a colleague with spam.
2. Posting TOO frequently
There are a few people in my news feed who post SO frequently that I sometimes wonder if their work is suffering as a result. How much is too much? Anything more than 2 posts a day.
The only exception to that is if you’re attending a big event and you have a great deal of content you want to share. But even then, a better way to share a volume of content is via Twitter, where greater frequency is more appropriate.
On LinkedIn, posting up to once each weekday is ideal. To dig into the wisdom of that and the data behind it, I did an experiment to test what would happen if I posted to LinkedIn every weekday for a month. As a result, I focused on how to make my content more compelling.
3. Sharing inappropriate content
Keep it professional and positive on LinkedIn. Don’t disparage other people or companies. Make sure your content is suitable for a work environment. Don’t ever share content that is confidential information about your employer.
And ignore the birthday notification feature – Facebook is the place to wish people a happy birthday, not LinkedIn. Don’t include your own birthday in your contact and personal information on your profile.
4. Making it all about you
When you scroll through your LinkedIn “home” feed, what catches your eye? In all likelihood, news and information that helps you be better in your career.
Don’t make it all about you. A constant stream of posts about you won’t resonate with your connections. Of course, it’s fine to post on occasion about an award you won or an honor you were given or somewhere you are speaking.
Just make sure that the majority of your posts are about offering up news, info and tips that will help others on their career journeys.
Social media is about reciprocity. Be generous with your network. Read their posts and articles. Engage with those that are particularly resonant.
Beyond liking the content, leave a thoughtful comment that adds new information. Consider sharing it with your network if it adds to the topics you generally post about.
5. Misspelling names
Three direct messages I received recently spelled my name wrong.. They opened with Carolyn. My name is Caroline. It’s clearly stated on my profile.
There’s no excuse for misspelling someone’s name. It shows a lack of attention to detail. It gets the whole communication off on the wrong foot.
As the American writer Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Spell it right. Check it against how the name is spelled in the person’s profile. And check it again, before you hit “send.”
6. Ignoring analytics
LinkedIn offers data on each post and article. If you don’t look at the analytics, you won’t know which content is performing well and engaging your network.
Spend some time each week or month reviewing how each one performed. Come up with a hypothesis as to why posts did particularly well or not. Increase the frequency of content types that get the most engagement, as measured by clicks, likes, comments and shares.
7. Sending the default invitation to connect
How many invitations do you receive from people you don’t know with the standard, “I’d like to add you to my professional network in LinkedIn”?
If you don’t know why they want to connect, why would you accept? Given my strategy for accepting invitations, it makes me work harder to decide yes or no.
And even if you’re inviting someone you know to connect, it makes for a much stronger connection if you articulate why you’d like to connect.
And if you’re scrolling through the people you may know feature, you should know that you cannot currently customize your invitation. Instead, go to the person’s profile and personalize an invitation by clicking on “connect.”
What would you add to things NOT to do in LinkedIn?