The Top 6 Mistakes Made on LinkedIn

Published on February 20, 2015

LinkedIn has well earned its place as a top social media platform for business professionals. There are plenty of avenues on this platform to create solid connections with other professionals, boost your image, and generate leads.

However, LinkedIn is also easy to misuse.

If LinkedIn isn't working for you, there is a good chance that you're making one of these 6 common mistakes that Hubspot recently detailed. See if you're committing any of these rookie mistakes to improve your LinkedIn success.

1. You're notifying your network every time you make a change to your profile.

This top mistake often happens without your knowledge, but it is a major turn-off for others in your network. If you have, "Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies" checked within your Activity broadcasts, your network is getting notifications every time a single, minute change is made to your profile.

Post an article? A notification is sent. Change your headline? A notification is sent. Change one letter in your biography? A notification is sent.

As you may imagine, this gets very old very quickly for your poor network, and it certainly doesn't add any value to their feed.

2. Sending a group message with no benefit to the group you're sending it to.

 No one likes to feel spammed by personal contacts. There are a large amount of people that thing it is ok to send out industry-specific industry information to those who don't belong to (or don't care about) your industry. In doing this, you'll lose connections left and right.

Sure, these connections may be happy to hear about your industry success, but they most likely aren't terribly interested in the ins and outs of your industry. Don't waste their time and clog their inbox with unnecessary copy.

Instead of sending out group messages, publish a LinkedIn blog post about it. That way, your network gets notified about the information without spamming inboxes. And, as an added bonus, you have the possibility of getting featured in Pulse.

3. Sending out a group message with everyone's name and email addresses included.

When you have "Allow recipients to see each other's names and email addresses" checked when sending your message, you are exposing other people's information without their consent. As LinkedIn groups have the ability to message up to 50 people at a time, a "reply-all" fiasco is only a couple clicks away.

Instead, uncheck this box. Email addresses are hidden this way - like a BCC function in your normal email platform.

4. Endorsing your new connection's skills, even if you haven't seen this skill firsthand.

This happens usually right around the time you accept a new invitation. While you may think it is a nice gesture to endorse a new connection, this can actually backfire on you. Endorsing someone without having experienced their skills demonstrates a lack of integrity, and alterior motives.

Instead, keep endorsements only to what you have experienced firsthand. If you really feel you must endorse someone, at least send out a message about an article or video that person has contributed which displays their expertise in that area.

5. Creating a self-promotional post without any helpful information.

LinkedIn blog posts are designed as a platform to share your expertise with your network. You should treat a LinkedIn blog with as much integrity as you would a website blog. Quality content should predominate above all, as opposed to simply putting up a catchy title as bait to a blog which is simply a link to an event. It's bad form, and it will turn people off.

Focus on writing insightful, compelling content. You can repurpose your website blog posts and put them in LinkedIn form, linking to your website for full text. Just make sure you provide your network enough substance to really communicate value.

6. Sending the same email out to multiple different people.

Personalized scripted messages can work, on occasion, but LinkedIn is not one of those platforms. Sending out a form letter across your entire network leaves your community with a bad taste in their mouth. Form letters look and feel like form letters, and it reads as disingenuous.

Instead, take the time create some personal element in every message you send out (even if some of the copy is the same) and keep track of what you send where. What would be more tasteless than sending the same email to the same person over and over again?

In sum?

We're not perfect. I'm sure we're all guilty of having committed some of these common mistakes. If you're one of those people, don't worry - a few tweaks and improved LinkedIn behavior will have you shine in no time (don't worry, social media grudges don't last for long.)

Just remember, every time you post something, remember to ask yourself:

  • Does this provide legitimate help to the person/group I am sending this to?
  • Does it clearly show that I am a professional in my field?

If you can answer yes, you're well on your way to becoming a LinkedIn master.

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