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How not to use LinkedIn

I recently wrote a blog looking at 'how not to use Twitter.' It went down quite well, so I thought I'd put together another one outlining how you can best damage your brand via LinkedIn. Try avoiding the following, if you want to do a decent job.

Connect with people you don’t know
Regardless of how much you want to be business acquaintances with the person in question, and no matter how much it would benefit your business or further your career if you knew them, the fact is you don’t. So, act accordingly. There are ways and means of getting in front of people; but don’t ask to connect with them out of the blue. It’s weird. *The same is true here for LinkedIn’s lamentable ‘Endorsements’ functionality; steer clear.


Always abuse the Group

LinkedIn’s Groups are one of its success stories. They are home to thousands of thought-provoking discussions, and can be of great use, both to those looking to inspire and those looking for answers. But be warned – these ‘Groups’ are populated by passionate self-policing social media enthusiasts, so attempts to cheaply steer people away from the Group and on to your (irrelevant) landing page are often met with hostility.

Be a ghost
It’s true for every social media platform, but it’s perhaps most true of LinkedIn: if you don’t have a well-completed profile you may as well not bother. You don’t have to include every scrap of your professional history, how many times a day you do the tea run and every milestone your brand has reached, but it’s better to include the basics, rather than have a blank page. It’s your shop window, so why leave the mannequins standing there half-dressed?

Sell, sell, sell...

As with most social media platforms, LinkedIn is not particularly conducive to selling. Despite the professional focus of the platform, relatively few users are logging on in order to specifically buy your stuff. It’s a space conducive to collaboration and influencing more than a means to earn a quick buck.

Become a stalker

Everyone uses LinkedIn to check out what the person they are meeting for a coffee looks like, or to gain a bit of insight regarding a potential employee, employer or client. But there is another breed of user operating on LinkedIn: the stalker. These people (often men) trawl the site, clicking from profile to profile in search of... I don’t know what. Remember, people can see who has been viewing their profile, so it doesn’t pay to snoop around unnecessarily.

Pretend you’re on Facebook

LinkedIn has managed to carve out a niche for itself among the other major social media players on the strength of its professional focus. It certainly wouldn’t be doing as well as it has if it was battling directly with the friend-focused Facebook or the immediacy of Twitter. Its strength is that people use it for business. It’s worth bearing this in mind because ‘banter’ and flippancy can be taken the wrong way on LinkedIn. It’s probably best to keep most of your lols on Facebook.