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The 5 Ways You Stink At LinkedIn

Ah LinkedIn. The Granpappy of “Social Media”.

So much potential, yet so much stink. The fans and fanatics shout about how great it is since it’s only for “business people” and you don’t get all the junk that is on the other social sites. The problem is LinkedIn isn’t even a social media site. It’s a digital Rolodex pretending to be social. As a way to connect with the very people you hated at your last job it’s perfect. I’m actually one of their original members and have more contacts than an octopus with 10,000 biz cards (only to make up for my lack of popularity in high-school) but I go there less and less now.

I actually do see the potential of it, especially for job-seekers and employers looking to hire. If I was still in HR (which I left when I realized I hated people) it would be the perfect recruitment research tool.

The problem is once they tried to make it social, the “business” people started farking it up.


Here are the Top 5 Ways You Stink At LinkedIn:

1. Warm Spam – Just because I accept you as a contact, does not mean I want you to pitch me your product/service. Although I wrote a post about it, take a gander at what happened today. Some financial planner thought it was wise to pitch me his services right after accepting him as a contact. When I enlightened him in my reply on why spam is a bad thing, this was his reply:

“”I’m sorry that you felt so negative about that email. I try to send that correspondence out to a select group of people that I think have the financial sense and means to be interested in this strategy Scott. Obviously I was wrong in your case and apologize for brothering you with this suggestion. Linkedin is a way to network and connect with other business people Scott so if I can help enhance a high income earners retirement, that’s what I try to do as a Financial Advisor. Most high income earners are always looking for a way not to pay taxes Scott and this is a strategy to do so and this is why the rich get richer.”

I assume the book he read about selling said:

1. Every no is a yes in disguise!
2. Use the person’s first name multiple times. It makes them trust you!
3. Social media is really social selling!

Outside of his lack of a comma anywhere, spelling and the perception that my name was just auto-filled into a form email, what he doesn’t realize is that in his industry above most, I have to know and trust you to an incredible level before we’d even start this discussion.

Social is just that, getting to know each other. Not social spamming.

2. Blank Requests – “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Do you feel that? That’s the feeling of a relationship! Nothing says “I know you!” like a generic request for a connection! Let the good times roll! If you want someone to be your connection, put 5 seconds of effort into it and let that person know how you know them or why you want to connect. I know some of the apps don’t allow for it and fire off this request anyways, but spend a little time and care and those requests will get accepted much quicker.

3. Twitter + LinkedIn = Litter – Go login now to LI and tell me what you see from people and their “status”. 98% of what I see are automated feeds from Twitter. Broken @ names, and “via Twitter” all over the place. Is that the message you want to send to your business contacts? That you’re not there but you’re giving them the honor of reading your tweets? Social media isn’t about being everywhere, it’s about being great at where you are. Stop the social synching.

4. Drive-by Group Articles – The saving grace of LinkedIn is the group functionality. The ability to share discussions with industry peers or ones of like minds is incredible. Sadly, running one of these groups is a daily battle at removing drive-by spam disguised as “articles”. You know the ones, where the person posts “Thought this would be interesting!” or “Hope this generates discussion!” and they post the article in 10 groups, where it’s a bunch of regurgitated drivel designed for you to check out their blog or read their profile. Want to start a discussion? Post a question and want answers, not your own. No one asked you. I know the frustration, I tried building an UnMarketing group there for a long time, it just wasn’t worth it. If you run a great group on LI, post it in the comments, since they’re rare to find.

5. Endorsing Strangers – The endorsement option is the best part of the entire place to me. You can give endorsements for a job well done and it feels pretty awesome to receive them. We’re farking them up when you blast request this to your list. I get at least two a week from someone I’ve never done business with to endorse them. Seriously. Stop it. Want to do them right? Pick a contact a week and give them an endorsement. A real one. Not a “Hey I’m giving you one, sooooooo where’s mine?” Give them unconditionally, and if you’re good at what you do, you may just get a few yourself.


Have you found success on LinkedIn? Something grind your gears? Let me know in the comments below!