How to Use LinkedIn Successfully: 10 Top Tips on What NOT to Do!

By Nigel Cliffe

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Wondering how to use LinkedIn successfully? Here are my top ten things to avoid doing to secure your success!

How to Use LinkedIn Successfully

1) Avoid joining LinkedIn PODs!

A ‘LinkedIn engagement pod’ is a group of LinkedIn members who unite to try and get the better of the LinkedIn algorithm to increase visibility and reach. Some people even pay to be in them! When one member of the group posts, the others all agree to swiftly comment on it, even if the comment is a mere “That’s great”.

You may briefly fool the algorithm, but you won’t fool the people in your network! I encourage people to comment and engage on LinkedIn, but only do so if you have something valuable to add!

2) Don’t Connect with as many people as possible, never turning down a request. Nip generic or blank Connection requests in the bud!

LinkedIn ISN’T a numbers game! Sure, I’d aim for 500 Connections so the content you’re hopefully sharing on the platform has a healthy chance of reach and exposure. But after that only Connect with people you either know, have had recommended to you, think you can help, or would like to work with.

ALWAYS personalise your LinkedIn Connection request. LinkedIn is about relationships. How can you expect to begin one with someone if you don’t take the time to say why you’d like to Connect? How do you expect them to invest the same time and commitment into you? Simply say you like a recent post of there and why or explain that you have a mutual Connection or that you have encountered a video or article you think they can benefit from. Whatever you do, you don’t sell to them!

3) Stop searching for as many people as you can each day. Limit your use of automation as much as possible!

You may think that people love you looking at their profiles, but if they don’t know you, the profile view won’t mean much to them at all! Again, LinkedIn is about building meaningful connections with people. You can only do that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to do it authentically. Just because you can find a bot to view several LinkedIn profiles for you meaninglessly each day, and save yourself time, doesn’t mean to say you should!

4) Never overload your posts with as many hashtags as humanly possible!

LinkedIn is NOT Instagram. They recommend three hashtags per most. Me? I reckon keeping the hashtags relevant is the way to go. Mix them up between really popular ones but also more the niche hashtags that your audience follows.

5) You don’t have to post every day!

The platform won’t forget you if you’re absent for 48 hours. I believe posting twice a week is plenty.

Firstly, you want to focus on quality over quantity.

Secondly, you need time to respond to comments on your posts if you’re fortunate enough for them to receive high engagement rates.

There’s also growing evidence that the dwell time or the time a post appears in your network’s feeds is increasing.

You don’t want to post so soon after publishing your last post that you effectively kill off the visibility and chance of engagement on the first post, do you?

Then there’s the danger that people might not believe you have time to help them and do your day job because you’re too preoccupied with posting on LinkedIn all day every day…

6) Avoid posting photos of your dinner!

Yes, in one respect LinkedIn is getting more personal. People do business with people after all. Storifying your content makes it relatable. Humanising your content but linking it back to how it can be applied to the world of work is where the secret lies. LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. No one cares what you had for breakfast!

7) Steer clear of unprofessional or personal profile photos!

Your profile photo shouldn’t feature your other half in it. It’s yours! People want to do business with you, so they need to know who YOU are! And it shouldn’t be a snap from your wedding or holiday either, even if you’re really fond of it. Yes, smile and appear friendly, but dress smartly like you would for the office. Make sure the image is of your head and shoulders, no full-body ones otherwise you’ll look like a spec when LinkedIn shrinks the image down next to your comments across the platform.

8) Give the CV carbon copy a miss for your About Section!

Your LinkedIn About section is YOUR story. It should be in the first person and outline what your values are, your career journey, what drives you, and what you’d like to achieve. It shouldn’t be a description of your job role or an advert for your company. It’s not all about securing you a better job, it’s about introducing the real “you” to the world!

9) Stop reading from a script when you create videos!

Yes, plan but try and sound natural and relaxed. Easier said than done, I know. Don’t forget you can always do a retake and edit. People aren’t perfect and your network will understand that. As long as what you have to say is valuable or interesting, they won’t mind the authentic you!

10) Don’t be a clickbait creator!

Many fall into the trap of sharing “Top three tips” or “Top five ways” or “Ten steps to…” and then only reveal two tips, four ways, nine steps and encourage you to click on the link in their post to view their profile to see the final tip or step. Including a link to your profile in every post gets repetitive and salesy. If you’ve impressed people enough through your content and engagement, they’ll find you!

Hopefully, this helps you understand how to use LinkedIn successfully!

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