LinkedIn has 660 million users--and that number continues to creep up. With that many people, it's a fantastic place to network, share ideas, and even make new friendships. There are lots of options for interacting on LinkedIn, but some things people do may limit the usefulness of this career-focused social media site.
I spoke to a group of LinkedIn superusers. Many of them work as consultants, helping people maximize their effectiveness on LinkedIn. They gave me the inside scoop on what not to do on LinkedIn. I'll help you out with what to do instead:
Megan McCarthy: "I personally hate the people who connect and then all they say is 'Hey! How are you doing today?' Like, what does that mean?"
What to do instead: Send a meaningful message. It should be short and explain something about why you connected. "Hi. Thanks for accepting my connecting request. I see we both work in plastics, and I thought you would be a good person to follow."
Grace Judson: "The classic, of course, is sending connection requests without personalizing the message."
What to do instead: Only send connection requests that make sense--if you can't think of anything to say, then it's probably not a connection you should be making. People who work in the same field, or whom you find interesting, or even industry leaders are fine. But if you can't articulate a reason to connect, don't bother.
Kenneth Lang: "I hate all the automated connection requests I get. How do I know they're automated? They cut and paste my name, job title, and company name. Sometimes it's just a 'Hi,' with the request. Other times it could be 'Hi, [first name].' I've actually gotten those where the program sending these out doesn't fill in the [ ] -- I've collected some of my funniest ones for presentations I give."
What to do instead: Bots can't network for you. There has to be personal interaction, otherwise, it's like buying followers on Twitter. It may make you feel important, but it doesn't improve your business prospects. Every interaction needs to be personal.
Carla Deter: "For the job seeker (and during these times it's even more critical):
1) Venting about past or current work or colleagues
2) Posting or commenting strong opinions on touchy topics such as politics, topics of adversity, etc.
Each can have an impact on getting the interview, the job promotion, the job offer.
A negative digital footprint can be irrevocable."
What to do instead: Remember, people assume that if you talk trash about your last boss, you'll talk trash about your next one as well. Be honest but positive. And in an age in which there are so many political conflicts, it may be best to keep your content business-focused.
Karthick Richard: "Plagiarized content. Bit of a rap on your knuckles when you get called out."
What to do instead: Write your own content. Or share others' content by sharing their post, not copying and pasting. And, though Richard didn't mention it, don't make up things either. Keep it real and honest.
Wendi Weiner: "[One] pet peeve is getting a connection request, accepting, and immediately getting sales pitches. Then, if I don't respond, I get two to three more before I have to tell the person I'm not interested. Now I just send them back a pitch for my writing and branding services. Reverse psychology."
What to do instead: It's OK to use LinkedIn for sales and recruitment, but remember that you need to build relationships first. Comment on people's posts. Write your own posts. Show how your product can be of use and build a relationship before pitching.
Donna Svei: "Failing to build out the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile.
People who use LinkedIn's Recruiter product often search for job candidates by skills. Thus, if you haven't listed your currently marketable skills and secured high-quality endorsements for them, your profile won't fare well on a skills search."
What to do instead: If you're job hunting, make sure your skills are up to date!
Hopefully these LinkedIn tips will help you have a more productive time on LinkedIn.