LinkedIn is a great place to network and build relationships that can lead to real sales and business. It is a communication tool that, once you know how to use it, can put you in front of the people you most want to connect with. But there are some common mistakes that you should try to avoid. Here are 5 common mistakes I see often with LinkedIn:
Sending spammy messages to your connections
If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you’ve learned a lot about how to sell your message whenever you are in front of prospects. But if you use that mindset with LinkedIn, you will turn a lot of people off really fast! The mindset to adopt is the same mindset you use when you are meeting new people at a face-to-face networking function. You don’t start your conversation with a sales pitch. This rubs people the wrong way and will cause them to walk away. The same is true in LinkedIn.
I am connected to thousands of people, many who are new to LinkedIn. I can always tell someone is new when they send me a direct message that talks about what they sell and want to know if I’m interested. I haven’t even met you yet. No, I’m not interested yet. It’s especially a turn-off if I can tell they have sent this out to ALL of their connections, and not just me.
The better solution is to write hello message that are real. Talk to one person at a time. Mention something about them. DO NOT talk about what you do. Don’t worry, you’re not losing an opportunity to sell. These connections will take a look at your profile to see who you are and what you do. That is enough for the first contact. Ask them a question about themselves to strike up a conversation. LinkedIn is not the place to blast messages. It’s a place to meet and get to know people
Posting Too Often
If you’ve ever come to LinkedIn and read through recent updates from connections in your newsfeed, sometimes you will find a dozen messages in a row from the same person. This is someone who is posting way to often. They are flooding your newsfeed and it feels obnoxious to you. The funny thing is, some people do this and don’t realize they are doing it. Don’t be that person.
A better practice is to post no more than once a day. Some of my clients post a couple times a week, and some post once a week. It is true the more you post, the better impact you are having on your connections. But I recommend once a day as a maximum number. If you can post once a day, by all means do continue. But if you’re tempted to post 6 times today, stop yourself and realize how it looks to your connections.
Asking People You Don’t Know to Recommend You
LinkedIn Recommendations are one very powerful on LinkedIn. But they are only powerful if they come from people you know and know your work. It is a very good practice to ask clients, customers and co-workers to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. It is a very BAD idea to ask people who do not know you to do the same.
If you ask someone who has not worked with you to recommend you, one of two things may happen:
- They may not want to recommend you since they do not know your work, and feel awkward about your request.
- They may go ahead and recommend you, but their recommendation will either be false or misleading because they have not worked directly with you and are not in a position to recommend your products or services.
A better tactic is to request recommendations only from those who have worked directly with you and who you know would give you a favorable recommendation. A good time to ask is when a client or customer has praised your work or services. Then it’s a perfect time to ask if they would write you a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Posting Criticisms or Negative Comments in Groups
Discussion Groups are one of the most powerful areas of LinkedIn. In groups, you can meet many people who share a common interest or work in a particular industry. It’s a good idea to become involved with groups and join discussions. However, it’s a BAD idea to criticize and post negative comments. Remember your goal in LinkedIn is to meet people and build relationships. Many times negative comments will work against these goals and will cause people to steer away from any kind of relationship with you. Keep your comments positive and be sure to add valuable responses to the conversations you see in LinkedIn Groups.