Hallelujah, LinkedIn did its users a great service this past week when they stopped supporting (for whatever reason) the feature that allowed its users to connect their Twitter Stream to their LI Status. It had reached the point where the once somewhat useful section where status updates had gone had become nothing more than a Tweetdeck column where your linkedIn contacts tweets could be found. Perhaps there had been a way to turn this feature off all along, however I can tell you it wasn’t easy to find (I looked). Regardless, let’s just say that if I wanted to read the tweets of all of my LinkedIn Connections I would visit Twitter, but I don’t so it had become rather irritating when that was all I saw when using LinkedIn.
While I never understood the decision to offer Twitter integration, I can understand why some people decided to connect their stream. Especially if they are professional marketers that focus in the social or digital space. This gave one more avenue for promotion of content and information sharing. However for the majority of professionals that use the site for making connections with colleagues, customers, and other strategic contacts, seeing follow friday tweets and peoples twitter chats showing up in their linked in stream was consistently referred to as a nuisance. The good news is whether they have a good reason or not, users can no cloud the the update stream this way.
So now that the LinkedIn site is back to what it was intended to be, a powerful networking site where the benefits of social meet the needs of the professional, we can refocus our effort on how to maximize this platform. However, let’s just say there still seems to be some confusion on how to use LinkedIn. And while filling your contacts world up with Tweets is no longer a LinkedIn option, there are still several basic tenets of using LinkedIn that seem to go ignored. More than anything, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, it isn’t Twitter or any other Social Network for that matter. It is the most useful network on the planet for professionals and companies looking to hire the best talent, find key customer contacts, or network for strategic partners or groups. And if you want the other pros on LinkedIn to take you seriously, you need to avoid certain behaviors. Some of which are perfectly acceptable on other social networks.
So for best results, here are 6 things not to do on LinkedIn (That may be okay on other Social Networks).
- Frequent Status Updates: People don’t check LinkedIn nearly as often as Facebook or most other Social Networks for that matter. So I recommend that statuses are updated no more than once or twice a day. This is more for your benefit than for your network. If you change too frequently few members of your network will see your updates. So oversimplify here and focus on sharing much less frequently, but try to find highly interesting content that your connections will benefit from.
- Connection Spamming: I know you may want to be a first level connection with Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook, however random connection requests here are generally not looked upon fondly. If you are looking to grow connections and you don’t care who they are I have two quick pieces of advice. 1. join a LinkedIn Open Network Group (LION) and 2. you are doing it wrong. Collecting connections is kind of like collecting twitter followers. If they aren’t interested in you, your product, or your service then the connection may not hold much value. (Disclaimer: I know not everyone agrees with this, but unless you are in MLM or something like that open networking may do nothing more than increase your connection stats) However, with LinkedIn’s ability to show you your 2nd and 3rd level connections, the best way to connect out of the blue is a referral using the introduction request. And if you really want to give it a go and connect to those you have no relationship with, at the very least include a little note saying why you want to connect and how it may be mutually beneficial.
- Profile Picture Faux Pas: First of all, there is no excuse anymore for not having a profile picture. That in itself is a faux pas. However, worse than no pic are those that put their Friday night bender pics at the bar up as their profile pic. Worse yet, the kissing the girlfriend pictures or the can’t find my shirt picture. Nevertheless, this is a “Professional” networking site so while I can’t shame the start up CEO for taking a picture in his favorite T-shirt, I may recommend just for this one picture that you put on a collar, and a quality smile.
- Personal Updates: Facebook is a great place to talk about your weekend adventures or great meals out. On Pinterest you can pin the picture of your dinner and you can tweet about it to your followers. On LinkedIn the updates should be professional in nature. So unless it personally has to do with a career change, a published article, or perhaps some good news about your company, LinkedIn isn’t the place for it.
- Spammy Selling: There is no better way to annoy your network than to spam your groups and/or connections with an un-targeted sales promotion. I have connections offering promotional products, mobile web development, and financial services on a daily basis. I find these to be incredibly annoying. I do think that using in-mail and very targeted communications can be extremely effective on LinkedIn and that is a much better way to leverage the platform.
- Inaccurate Information: Just like Spammy Selling, I don’t recommend this on any platform. I always suggest that people treat LinkedIn just like a resume. While it may or may not be official, you can assume that others view it that way. So if you put it on LinkedIn you should try and make sure it is accurate and can be verified.
Just like Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest, LinkedIn is a great Social Network. However, we have to remember it is a “Professional” network and to achieve best results we must use it that way.
How do you maximize your results with LinkedIn? Are there other irritating behaviors on LinkedIn that you often see? Continue the conversation below….