The six LinkedIn mistakes that make you look bad. And what you can do to prevent that from happening.
I'm Joshua Feinberg from SP Home Run, and I started using LinkedIn back in 2008. I have tens of thousands of followers. I've been using the LinkedIn Campaign Manager (LinkedIn Ads platform) and LinkedIn Sales Navigator for the better part of a decade now.
And there are many things that I have observed with how people use LinkedIn on a paid basis, on a Sales Navigator basis, and most of all with content and with the messaging platform. And I want to share some tips that hopefully will help you avoid making some of these big mistakes.
1) Spamming LinkedIn posts with self-serving comments and sales pitches
First and foremost, I see many people spamming LinkedIn posts with self-serving comments and sales pitches, with no attempt whatsoever to add value to that post.
Suppose you want to improve how you are perceived by the most important stakeholders in your industry and your ecosystem. In that case, it's super-critical that you figure out a way to add value to the content and conversations with LinkedIn.
If someone told you that you should go out and stuff a flyer under the windshield of every post that's on LinkedIn that aligns with your ideal client profile, your target buyer personas, without any thought whatsoever into reading what's in that post and adding value to that conversation or adding insight or even a contrarian opinion, then shame on you.
You are making one of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes, that are screwing up your reputation and making you look bad.
Make sure that if you are commenting on other people's posts, you are taking the time to read that post and add something to that conversation instead of jerking it all up.
2) Spamming LinkedIn inboxes/messages and InMails with sales pitches
The second biggest mistake that I see people making on LinkedIn is spamming LinkedIn inboxes, spamming LinkedIn messages and InMails with sales pitches with no attempt whatsoever to understand who that person is and what that person may actually care about.
This is another one that feels like it's stuffing a flyer under their door, under the windshield of their car, and hoping that if you do that enough times that it works.
The problem is people are completely numb to that because it's so overdone when you connect with someone on LinkedIn, and 30 seconds later, you're hard-selling them on why they should book a meeting with you.
Why the heck do I want to book a meeting with you?
I just met you.
I don't know you.
And then, on top of that, a lot of times:
Okay, now people have gotten a little more clever with these automation, automated spam systems.
Twenty-four hours later, I get a message that is spamming me back because they didn't look at my profile, and they were talking to me as if I'm a completely different person than I am.
And if they just took 30 seconds and looked at who I am and what I care about, and what kind of content I share, they would have completely upped their game and not messed up and burned bridges.
I had this happen to me a couple of days ago where someone must have been doing keyword-based connection-building. I'm like, "Oh, okay, cool. This person does mergers and acquisitions with similar kinds of companies that I work with."
Yes, I work with some people from time to time in the eighth or ninth ending of their career, and some are looking to retire --complete exit.
Yeah. Maybe I'll have him on a podcast or something like that.
Sure enough, 24 hours later, he sent me a canned message as if I were one of their customers and took no time whatsoever to look at my profile and customize it.
That person burned their bridge forever--one of the six biggest LinkedIn mistakes that make you look bad.
3) Making an aggressive sales pitch in the connection request message
The third biggest LinkedIn mistake that makes you look bad is being over-aggressive in your sales pitch in the connection request message.
And I say to that, "Aren't you going to buy me a drink first?"
Isn't there going to be a little wining and dining, and romancing and all of that stuff?
And the reality: sending someone a LinkedIn connection request, and sure, it is a good idea to customize that connection request.
But when you're putting the pitch directly in the connection request, it feels like one of those Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy movies where they get some good laughs because he elopes on the first date.
The reality is, most people don't want to elope on the first date. They know it's a terrible idea.
They've had too many people spamming them with the same connection request, and it just doesn't work.
The reality is, even if that is the right kind of person, no one wants to feel like they immediately accepted your connection request. And it was an immediate invitation to hard-sell them on why they should sign up for your conference on why they should book a meeting with one of your sales development reps to audition for the privilege of speaking with an actual sales rep.
No, the reality is that most people want to get to know you before they feel comfortable going to that first step of engaging with you. The best way for someone to get to know you is to build that connection and let them see the kinds of content, and the type of value you share in your feed for at least a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks.
And then you'll have a better inkling as to
(1) if they're interacting with your content
And (2) there's a greater likelihood that when you do reach out and they'll be like, "Oh, Yeah. I know that guy Joshua that shares all these cool tips on marketing and sales development and sales enablement and customer success and scaling tech startups and AI startups on all those other things."
So you must dig the well before you're thirsty, and putting your pitch directly in your connection request makes you look like you're jerking the place all up.
4) Pitching me to meeting (virtually) with them immediately after I accept the LinkedIn connect request
Fourth, make sure that you don't make the mistake of pitching me to meeting with you virtually immediately after accepting the LinkedIn Connection request.
Again, as mentioned, you're putting your hard-sell pitch in the Connection request message (the third biggest mistake).
Just because I accept your Connection request doesn't mean I want to drop everything and immediately book time on your calendar for 15 minutes to talk about how I can become a paying customer.
It doesn't work like that.
Maybe back 5-10-12 years ago, when LinkedIn was still a novelty, it did.
But in the digital-first world that we live in right now, the digitally-transformed world that we live in, where people are doing tons of research on their own before they're open to a sales conversation.
They're typically going to be 60-70-80% of the way through their research and decision-making process before they're open to having a conversation like that.
So how do you make sure that you have an active role in that first 60-70-80%?
It's through content, helpful educational content that talks about their goals, their challenges, their problems, how you can potentially give them advice, and impress upon them that you are all about providing value and putting deposits into the bank account before you try to withdraw from the bank account.
5) Repeatedly viewing my LinkedIn profile or constantly liking my posts in a desperate attempt to get my attention
Linkedin Mistake number five that is super-important to make sure that you avoid:
Repeatedly viewing my LinkedIn profile
Or constantly liking my LinkedIn posts in a desperate attempt to get on or stay on my radar screen or nag me into submission for taking your meeting.
The reality is that many people look on LinkedIn to see who viewed their profile, which is probably why you think you're getting somewhere by either manually viewing a prospect's profile or using bot software to make it look like you've manually viewed my profile.
But the reality is that's stalker stuff.
And if you keep doing it over and over and over again, it has the exact opposite effect of what you're thinking that it's going to do.
And in the same way, if you're liking content by expressly thinking that liking that content will get you a meeting with that prospect, you're not adding value. You're jerking the place all up.
So again, that is the fifth biggest LinkedIn mistake you want to make sure you don't make.
6) Posting about how wonderful you are and how great your product/services are
And finally, the sixth biggest LinkedIn mistake that makes you look bad is posting content about how wonderful you are and your company is. Non-stop brag-athon.
That can be a good 10 or 20% of the time to put the high-five kinds of stuff out there.
“Hey, we just got a great new hire.”
“We just moved into a great new office.”
“We won a great new award.”
But if the reality is that's the only thing you ever do is talk about yourself, that's like the person that you meet at a networking event or a party who just talks and talks and talks, and never asks you a question and never lets you get a word in edgewise.
What kind of experience and impression do you make when all you do is talk about yourself and how wonderful you are without giving a crap about finding out about the other person you're talking to and how you can add value to their life?
So the six biggest things to make sure that you don't fall into the trap of just talking about yourself, your company, what you care about, and not what they care about.
So those are the six biggest LinkedIn mistakes that make you look bad.
Is there a seventh?
Is there another big LinkedIn mistake that you see people making? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you need to improve how you and your team use LinkedIn to grow your business, be sure to enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.