10 Flagrant LinkedIn Fouls

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Last week we went through some of the most heinous mistakes Page owners are making on Facebook. This week we’re diving into the number one professional social networking site, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn recently hit the 200 million user milestone, and is a serious way to pad your sales pipeline – especially for those seeking B2B leads. However, just like any other social platform, there are some glaring mistakes plaguing more than a few mousy marketers.

Personal Foul!

  1. You have a private LinkedIn profile. REALLY?! I don’t think I need to go into any explanation as to why this is considered a social no-no.
  2. If you’re still sporting the little blue guy that LinkedIn provides you rather than your own professional looking photo, you need to get uploading. Some researchers have even said that not having a photo means you’re really ugly.
  3. If your title is a boring, one word description of what you do, you need to be benched. Not only should your title paint a vivid picture of what you do, your title and profile should be keyword optimized (but not stuffed!) to better help you get found.
  4. Another easy way to get fouled out of the game is by not claiming your personal URL on LinkedIn. If you’re a savvy social user, you’re not going to settle for being user 347562RTGS56.

Illegal Formation!

  1. Accepting Endorsements for things you know you’re NOT skilled it is a nasty habit that many LinkedIn users have fallen prey to. If someone credits you for being HootSuite savvy, but you’ve never used HootSuite or are not HootSuite certified, you need to remove the puffed up praise immediately.
  2. Sending out blanket requests to connect – rather than a personalized invitation – is “SO NOT SOCIAL!” as we at the Social Solutions Collective say. Take the extra 10 seconds to show you care about making connections and starting conversations on LinkedIn and write a short note on why you’re interested in getting to know someone.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct!

  1. If you have a Company Profile on LinkedIn, GREAT! However, setting up the profile and then doing nothing with it defeats the purpose of having one. Updating your status often with curated or created content relevant to your brand is critical to your LinkedIn success.
  2. Following on the last foul, updating your status with only sales and marketing messages about your company is a HUGE social fail. Social media is about the “we” not about the “me.”
  3. Mass emailing your contacts on LinkedIn about your Holiday promotions, or 50% off discount campaign is equivalent to spam. This is especially cringe worthy if your brick and mortar business is 1600 miles away from the recipient. Don’t use LinkedIn to spam, and learn to segment/target your marketing efforts!
  4. To the same effect, spamming your LinkedIn Groups with links to your blog, your business or even just answering threads with “our business can help you” too often is a yucky tactic. Gain credibility first and you’ll earn the right to sell yourself or your business in due time.

These are some of the most common fouls we’ve seen on LinkedIn by social rookies. What flagrant fouls would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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10 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Jennifer G. Hanford
    January 16, 2013 9:11 AM

    Love this post, Brooke! LinkedIn was the very first “social” platform I signed up for, and still continues to be a favorite! You made excellent points – I especially agree with not “spamming” your groups with self-promotional posts. The groups can provide an excellent place for sharing content though. Good job!

  • Nail/head Brooke! The mass email & spamming are the two biggest reasons my LinkedIn profile needs to be dusted off, I never touch it. (I’m sure that is a foul of it’s own) Now I’m off to get my url so I don’t get in trouble with ya. 🙂
    Carrie Keenan recently posted…The Ballad of Bobo and Boo BooMy Profile

    • Well it is indeed a foul to have a profile and not use it, but I will let that slide since you are going to get your URL 🙂

      As for mass emails and spam…YUCK! I can’t stand it!

  • Avatar
    Shannon Baker
    January 16, 2013 3:05 PM

    Another great post Brooke! I don’t use my LinkedIn profile as much as I would like to but that is one of the top items on my list for 2013. I recently created my business pages but I need to be more active in groups. I’ve made some really great connections through some of the groups I belong to. I have been turned off lately by all the spam messages, especially around the holidays! Nonetheless, I know it’s a great tool for making professional connections.

    I’m also tired of people asking me for endorsements when we just made a connection. I’ve looked at your profile to connect with you through a mutual group or when you sent me a request but can I please have a moment to see what you are all about? Let’s get to know each other before you start asking for something I haven’t been able to verify yet! If we’ve been connected for some time or known each other for a while, let me decide when I want to endorse you and what I want to endorse you for please.

    • WOW! They asked you for an endorsement?! That seems a little … brave (I’m thinking of a different word that starts with a ‘b’ but won’t write it!). I’m not sure I’d ask for an endorsement from anyone! Unless it was a client who mentioned how happy they were … then I’d say something. I think. I just think asking is a little presumptuous.
      Thanks for sharing and keep standing righteous in keeping Endorsements real and not FLUFF!

  • I love this Brooke! I really hate getting the generic request to connect message. Most of the requests are people I don’t know, so I don’t have a reason to connect, but if they write a personalized message about why they want to connect, I’ll connect with them.

    • It’s like Kerry’s post for the SSC … REAL connections are for REAL people! I don’t think many people use that. They seem to be in some sort of race to connect for the sake of connecting. Weird.
      Thanks for reading and chiming in, Mandy!

  • Another great post, Brooke! I know that I need to get more active on LinkedIn and that I’ll probably get a foul here… It is also on my to do list that keeps getting carried over into the next day. I’ve also been asked for endorsements by people that I do not know well. Interesting. Thanks again, for telling it like it is!
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…How to Write the Perfect Headline Every TimeMy Profile

    • Well you know I’m going to say be more active … but I also know we all have our own priorities and “to do” lists! 🙂 Many of the SSC ladies put a check mark next to getting more active on LI and G+ – that includes ME.
      Thank you, as always, for chiming in Robin! 🙂


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