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 I suppose I could have titled this “How We Run Ourselves Aground”

but that seemed a little long-winded


Being guilty of a couple of these was part of my learning curve on LinkedIn. See how many of these seem a little too familiar to you. 

1) New Feature Bandwagon Jumping

To be fair, this can be a very tough call. LinkedIn comes out with a new feature and you think it’s revolutionary. And it may be. Then again, investing heavily in a new feature that after three months LinkedIn decides they really didn’t need after all can come back to haunt you. This is why I prefer to wait and see things shake out before I get involved. Sometimes you can go from being an early mover on LinkedIn to an early remover. 

2) Connect and Pitch 

Yes, I know you stopped doing this three years ago. But admit it, every once in a while, you come across a prospect on LinkedIn that is so perfect for your product or service that you just can’t resist jumping right in with a sales pitch. Don’t succumb. The last thing you want to do is ruin a really good prospect via premature propositions. 

3) Losing Your Customer-centric Focus

You started off pure. Your content was all about your prospective customer and the problems they are facing. Then it kind of evolved a bit to how you have experience handling that type of problem, and from there to a list of your features, and from there you transition to talking about how your company founder had a vision. Wait a second, where did the customer go? 

4) Any Type Of Automation 

Profile viewing, connecting, commenting, messaging, anything that you use automation to do instead of doing it yourself. When you obviously don’t care about someone’s specific situation, only that they fit in a broad category of prospective customers, that’s when you start losing your edge. 

5) Not taking Advantage of The Data on LinkedIn

There is a lot of useful information available to you – a prospect’s profile, their company page, their company peer’s profiles, what they have posted – and it can be surprising how much you can learn that you can use in your outreach and initial discussions with them. 

6) Being The Same As Everyone Else

If someone is considering making a change, looking for a new vendor or supplier, the people they come across had better demonstrate in their profiles and LinkedIn activities how they are different and worth being considered. That would be you. How are you different? What makes you special? Does that come across on your profile? Your company page? Your actions on LinkedIn? 

7) Saying Too Much Too Early

Especially in outreach messages and first encounters with new people. When you send that first message to a stranger on LinkedIn, your goal is not to make a sale. Your goal is to earn the right to start a conversation. That’s all. When you try to accomplish too much too quickly in a first message, what you often wind up doing is giving the other person extra things to object to and that ends the conversation. 

8) Not Following Up When Someone Shows An Interest

I find it bizarre when people and companies complain that they get no sales leads on LinkedIn. How odd. I get forty or fifty a week. There’s overlap but I typically get sixty people who look at my profile, thirty new Newsletter subscribers, forty new Followers, a dozen people who comment on my Newsletters and another couple dozen who Liked it. Now, a lot of these people are already Connections or people known to me, but several dozen are not. Every week. And those are all people I can follow up with if I chose to. You have people showing an interest in you. Show an interest back – and not in a passive way by following or profile viewing. Do it with an outreach message or an invitation to connect.

9) You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Plan

I saved the best – or worst, depending how you look at it – for last. You show up on LinkedIn and just kind of wander around and do stuff. Read a couple posts, leave a few Likes, maybe a comment. Go view some profiles. You are putting time in but you are not putting work in that will get you results. You need to do things on LinkedIn with intent. You comment in order to start a conversation with the poster or another commenter. You view a few profiles and send connection invitations to the interesting ones. 

Don’t spend time on LinkedIn, invest time on LinkedIn.


At Practical SMM, we pride ourselves on delivering highly effective LinkedIn strategies.