Almost everyone I’m in contact with through business is on LinkedIn these days (and if you’re not, you should be). It’s a brilliant, professional, online business networking site and a place where you’re expected to promote yourself through your own profile and other areas of the site. Having said that, I constantly hear people moaning about things their connections do that really annoy them.
Since my post on 18 things you should not do on Twitter was so well received, I thought I’d share my candid thoughts on what you should avoid on LinkedIn.
Don’t lie: you will be found out. And it will be embarrassing. After all, look what happened to former Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson.
Don’t send an invitation to connect stating that you’re a “friend” if you don’t know the person. People hate it and won’t accept.
Don’t be lazy when sending invitations to connect. I get really irritated when people can’t be bothered to write a customised message to me when asking to connect. It makes me think they’re just trying to connect with as many people as possible, rather than looking to nurture a professional relationship. Unfortunately, some LinkedIn pages, such as “People you may know” (and when users are on iPads or smartphones), LinkedIn sends invitations to connect, without giving people the opportunity to customise their message. LinkedIn should fix this.
Don’t forget to read a person’s profile before sending them a personal message to connect. Don’t send the same message to everyone. True story: I received an invite to connect with a message asking to meet me for a coffee to explore a potential partnership. When I wrote back saying “What do you mean by potential partnership?” the person wrote back, apologising and admitting that they didn’t read my profile properly. I guess no coffee, then?
Don’t use a logo as your profile image. No exceptions. LinkedIn is a professional networking site — people to people, not people to logos. There is a different place on LinkedIn to add your company logo and overview called Company Pages. Here’s an example of Firebrand’s company page.
Don’t use anything other than your full name on your profile. There’s an option to use your first name only, with an initial for your family name, but why would you do that? It looks suspicious. I’ve seen spammers do this often. And while I’m on the subject, don’t change your privacy settings to “anonymous” when you’re looking at other people’s profile. It makes them feel like someone is stalking them.