There some specific LinkedIn mistakes you should avoid if you are a marketing consultant looking to add more clients to your business.
As of January 2015, there were 332 million people on LinkedIn.
41 percent of U.S. internet users with an household income of more than $75,000 use LinkedIn.
In short, the platform presents a great way to network professionally. Therefore, it is a great resource if utilized properly.
When used improperly, though, you can actually undermine your success through the use of LinkedIn.
Read below for the top 10 LinkedIn blunders that marketers should avoid:
1.) Don’t Ask For Connections
It’s never good to use people only for what they can do for you. This is just as true on LinkedIn.
Don’t ever send someone a connection invitation only to ask them to connect you with someone they know right away.
This will make them feel like you are using them as a means to an end only. It implies you aren’t interesting in connecting with them for them.
Don’t do this. It makes people feel used and is in poor taste.
2.) Don’t Beg For Clients
Wait…isn’t the purpose of LinkedIn to network and grow your business?
Well, yes and no.
It is a good way to connect and get a new client.
However, you shouldn’t send someone a connection only to have access to jobs they might know about. This again makes people feel used.
Research a company yourself if you want to find out about their needs.
Don’t ask someone else to give you information you could easily find yourself. It just looks bad and makes you appear lazy.
Instead, do the research.
3.) Don’t Ask For Endorsements
Okay. It might be acceptable to ask your closest friends to endorse your skills.
Whatever you do, though, don’t ask someone you don’t know that well to endorse you, even if you endorsed them.
In other words, don’t ever message someone and say, “I just endorsed your skills. Now, please endorse mine.”
This request makes you seem desperate, just don’t do it.
4.) Don’t Overdo Your Sales Pitch
It can be tempting to try your sales pitch on your LinkedIn connections, especially if you are in Business Development. Try to avoid this though, at least when you first make a connection.
If you must put your sales pitch out there, at least wait until you have been connected for longer than a few days or months.
Then, only present a soft sale. Present it as informational only and not a hard sales pitch.
5.) Using InMail When Introductions Would Work Better
If you know someone who knows someone, ask for an introduction. Don’t use the InMail feature to connect to a connection’s connection.
You might wonder why this is okay when earlier we said not to use people for their connections.
This is true.
However, it’s all about how you go about it. You have to be smart.
Don’t ask for introductions immediately.
Don’t push for that the first minute you are connected with someone. You can ask eventually, though.
When you ask the right way after enough time has passed, it isn’t offensive.
This is especially true if you offer to introduce them to someone in return for the favor.
6.) Using Your Contacts to Introduce Yourself
You might notice when looking over your connections that one of your connections is connected with someone you would like to know.
Some people write these people and say something like “I noticed we have a mutual friend John Brown, let’s talk.”
Don’t do this, especially if you don’t ask John Brown first.
After all, wouldn’t it be more effective to ask for the introduction from John Brown instead, like we just talked about?
7.) Adding People to a Subscriber List Without Permission
You learn basic information about a person when you connect on LinkedIn. This information can include their email and phone number.
Don’t ever use this information without a person’s expressed permission.
For example, don’t add someone to your newsletter subscriber list because you now know their email.
It’s an annoying thing to do.
You can ask them if they want to be added. This will give them the opportunity to partake in something they might enjoy.
Just don’t add them without asking. It’s rude.
8.) Not Asking Permission Before Doing Business
Find out how much business your connections want to conduct by asking them if they would like to talk business via LinkedIn up front.
Sending a business message to them without first checking if this is okay can be aggravating.
If they say they prefer not to conduct business, don’t ask them for any referrals or introductions.
Assume they don’t want to use their connections to help you.
It happens. Just be professional.
They might come around eventually. But, don’t push them.
9.) Being Too Quick to Connect
Some people want to connect with potential business associates immediately.
It can be smarter to show some patience, though.
For example, wait until the end of the process to connect with potential clients if you are going through proposal process.
You can connect easily with your new clients after you officially get the job.
Conversely, if you don’t get the job, you can send a polite thank you note for being considered, and add a LinkedIn connection invitation to your thank you note.
This is a great way to connect and shows your professionalism when you aren’t awarded the job you wanted.
10.) Overdoing Connections and Becoming Overbearing
In general, everyone is busy. You aren’t the only one with a mile long to-do list.
Keep this in mind when asking people for favors on LinkedIn.
Don’t tax the kindness of business acquaintances, strangers or friends.
Although garnering a needed introduction might be important to you, remember that whoever you are asking this favor of is also busy.
Don’t be a pest, and if someone does give you a referral or introduction, make sure you show them the appropriate amount of appreciation for their effort.
All 10 of the above blunders that people make when using LinkedIn can be summed up simply by using others for their own gain.
Yes, LinkedIn is all about networking.
However, you have to remember that each LinkedIn profile represents a real person.
Be professional. Ask permission. Treat each person you connect with on LinkedIn as a professional you’re dealing with in your business arena.
If you wouldn’t ask someone for a certain favor in person, think twice before doing so over LinkedIn.
Simply avoid the mistakes listed above and you are well on your way to utilizing LinkedIn for your professional success, and making your LinkedIn profile worthwhile.