I am no LinkedIn expert.

But I do use it. I post status updates, I join groups, I comment in discussions, and I check backgrounds of just about every person I am about to interview or even meet. 

I also get lots of requests to connect, and as a result, have about 12,000 connections and 36,000 followers currently, so I suppose I could be described as an ‘active LinkedIn’er’.

Active enough to realise there are a few things LinkedIn users simply should never do!

Don’t just chase numbers for number's sake

Numbers mean nothing if they have no value. Target your niche people!
I seldom send connection requests, but when I do, I know the person. I will have met, or dealt with that individual. I will certainly be sure that person is in a related field, and that there is potential for our business objectives to overlap.

And I do not accept all requests to connect. It’s tempting, I know. We all love to feel loved. But when I get a request to connect from an electrician in South America, I mean seriously, why would I? And by the way, no disrespect to that individual. He may be a great guy with great skills, but is there really any likelihood that we can add much value to each other from a professional point of view? And that’s what LinkedIn is for, after all.

Do not, I repeat, do not spam your connections with marketing material

This ranges from requests to read your blog to any self-serving communication. I delete people who are using their LinkedIn list purely to sell aggressively. That’s not what it's for.

Don’t ask for recommendations

I get requests for recommendations all the time from people I hardly even know. You shouldn’t be asking for recommendations from people that know nothing about you or how you conduct yourself in a professional environment.

I feel that, in fact, we shouldn’t be asking for recommendations at all. Don’t you think soliciting people to say nice things about you is just a little bit ‘tarty’?

To me, the whole concept of LinkedIn recommendations is flawed, open to flagrant abuse, and borders on self-love.
Who is going to publish an unflattering recommendation? Indeed, who is going to write one? I have seen LinkedIn recommendations from managers when I know that manager has fired the ‘recommendee’!

What a load of old cobblers! I have written the odd recommendation myself – but only when I really know and value the person’s work, and even then I do it partly out of a desire to please. I increasingly do not answer recommendation requests, particularly where the person is not well known to me.

Don’t be a ‘tart’ with your status updates

Let’s round off this rant with one more pet peeve of mine: constant status updates on LinkedIn.

We all know there is software that allows you to multi-list your updates, using TweetDeck for example. So, you tweet some banal observation about what someone in the office is wearing, but you copy that tweet to your LinkedIn status too?

Seriously, do you think we want to see your LinkedIn status updated every 10 minutes with your inane tweets? Do you think that’s what LinkedIn is designed for? That kind of update is bad enough on Twitter, but on LinkedIn, it’s just so much dross.

When using it for recruitment, don’t abuse it

When it comes to recruitment, LinkedIn can be a great resource. If you abuse it, or the people on LinkedIn, by blanket ‘headhunting’ approaches you’re spoiling it for everyone.

Don’t be the LinkedIn equivalent of the guy in the pub desperately trying to hook up with everyone….. anyone! Be a little subtle.
Do some research on your target. Find a plausible reason to engage, interact, and then ease into job opportunities.

LinkedIn will work best for you if you:

  • Target the right audience
  • Use a professional tone at all times
  • Share great content and
  • Display your expertise in your field

Only after you have done all that, can you afford to ‘sell’ yourself, and even then, just a little.

We simply loves these nuggets of wisdom and truth from Greg Savage, Board Director and guest blogger here at Consult. If you enjoy tinkering with words about career, accounting, leadership or business and would like to be featured on our blog get in touch with our marketing today. 



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