I am just going to say right off the bat, Linkedin is the most underrated social platform on the worldwide web.

The potential to use Linkedin and connect with business leaders in your field is both tremendous and unparalleled. And yet, it is also probably the most misused and maybe even abused platform out of the big four-- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. People on Linkedin never cease to amaze me how poor their etiquette is and how they have yet to crack the potential of the network.

Here are five examples of things to avoid on Linkedin if you want to capitalize on the platform's potential for your business:

1. Why is your profile picture not public?

I only discovered this recently, but apparently, there is an option to make your Linkedin profile picture visible to your connections only. In other words, when you add someone on Linkedin or if someone searches for you, they won't see a picture.

How in the world does that sound like an option you should be selecting? 

In fact, this leads us to a much deeper and more controversial topic. What are you even using Linkedin, or any social platform, for in the first place? To connect with your next door neighbor? To connect with family?

Obviously not, it's about being social, about connecting with new people, about expanding your horizon. This means that accepting people only if you know them in real life makes absolutely no sense.

Same is true for configuring your Linkedin so that only existing connections can see your picture or bio. Don't forget why you have a Linkedin account in the first place and enable people who want to learn about you-- including the fact that you have a face-- to do so.

2. How is that your tagline?

Just like your profile picture, the same is true for your tagline on Linkedin. That is literally the first thing people see. This is your opening line at the party, your pickup line. Make it good! 

I realize that summing up your career in a few words is not easy but at least make an effort. For example, nothing says "Don't add me to your network" more than a tagline "Looking for my next opportunity."

People like to connect with other successful people. You might be looking for a job but that is not your strongest selling point nor is it something you want to include in your tagline. Literally no one in history saw a Linkedin tagline saying in essence "I am unemployed" and thought, "Oh, I need to hire that guy." 

Think. Choose your words carefully. You know what they say about first impressions-- there is only one of them.

3. Really? That is your strategy to make a first impression?

Then there is that initial message, your first chance to communicate with your prospect, your target audience, and you used it to try and close the deal?

Use Linkedin to connect and build trust, do not confuse it with a sales platform. Once there is mutual trust and the beginning of a relationship, there's nothing wrong with coming in with an ask, but don't do that before establishing some basic trust and mutual respect.

4. Talk about shameless plugs.

This week, I posted two videos about the local tech scene. The videos were super well produced and as a result, they got tens of thousands of views on LinkedIn.

What happened next is that at least 10 different entrepreneurs independently thought it was a good idea to post a link to their venture in the comments.

Their thought process was fairly simple. Here is a video with a ton of engagement, why not hitch a ride and shamelessly promote me and my startup? These people need a formal introduction to tact and subtlety.

Do not behave this way on Linkedin, it is spam and it is not appreciated or acceptable. 

5. When was the last time you updated your profile?

Well, this one is kind of obvious, or at least it should be. Update your Linkedin profile, even if you are not looking for a job. Your Linkedin is basically your resume in 2019 and if it was updated five years ago for the last time, what does that say about you?

If your Linkedin profile has not been updated in years and is not maintained well, my assumption is that you are unreliable, disorganized, and most importantly, not the type of person I would want to work with. 

Bottom line, Linkedin is a powerhouse of a platform in the professional world, and if abused, can become your worst enemy and prevent you from advancing your career.