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Ten Do's and Don'ts of LinkedIn

From the upcoming book, Branding Yourself, Second Edition

1. Do Upload a Professional Picture

This should be self-explanatory, but it is surprising how many starfish, cars, sunflowers,

people standing on the beach at sunset, and dogs we witness on LinkedIn

profiles. Honestly, who puts a picture of their dog on a professional networking

platform?The point of LinkedIn is to further your networking ability online as well as offline.

You want people to recognize you when you walk into a networking event. And

when you have a picture of your dog, that never happens. Upload a professional

picture to all platforms you are building your personal brand on, whether that is

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or your blog. We know you’ll want to be fun and

creative on those other sites, but don’t do it if you’re trying to create a professional



2. Do Connect to Your Real Friends and Contacts

Just like we tell children not to talk to strangers, the same applies to your LinkedIn

profile. It’s crazy to see how many people connect with strangers all over the

world because they want to “build up” their network on LinkedIn. Connecting

to hundreds of strangers will NOT help your network in LinkedIn.

Remember, the value of LinkedIn comes in the quality of relationships you have, not the quantity.

Think of it this way: If you ever have to ask someone for an introduction to someone

else, it’s rather a big letdown to get a message back that says, “Oh, I don’t actually

know them; they’re just in my huge network.” People like this do not provide

real value, so don’t become one of them.


3. Do Keep Your Profile Current

Let’s use an example for this. Erik is hanging out with Kyle, and there is a funky

smell coming from somewhere. Kyle asks Erik where that smell is coming from,

and Erik nonchalantly says he hasn’t changed clothes in three days. Does that

change the way Kyle is interacting with Erik? Of course!

Just like Erik neglected his appearance, the same concept applies to your LinkedIn

profile. If you neglect your profile, people will tend to forget and avoid you.


4. Do Delete People Who Spam You

In life and in LinkedIn, there are bad apples. There are times when contacts or

connections abuse the system and spam your Inbox with some new multilevel marketing

scheme or a new product or service they’re selling. It’s polite to ask them to

stop and rethink their strategy. They could be new to this, and maybe they made a

mistake. But if they continue to abuse your connection, delete them. They’re wasting

your valuable time by making you wade through their mess. Get rid of them.


5. Do Spend Some Time on Your Summary

Do you ever read an email, newspaper, or blog post when the headline is terrible?

Of course not. Your summary has the same effect on your LinkedIn profile. Be

extremely concise and specific when writing your summary. Get people excited

about reading your profile and connecting with you. Express your personal brand.

Express what you are passionate about. It may even be helpful to have a co-worker

or close connection review your summary.


6. Don’t Use LinkedIn Like Facebook and Twitter

There is a time and place for professional and personal content when building

your personal brand. We have discussed the importance of having places for both.

LinkedIn is a professional network, and although it is important to share some

personal content, don’t use LinkedIn as a personal network. That’s what Facebook

is for.


7. Don’t Sync LinkedIn with Twitter

Similarly, don’t automatically blend LinkedIn with Twitter. LinkedIn gives you the

applications and tools that allow you to connect your account with Twitter, which

means whenever you post a message to Twitter, it automatically posts to your status

update in LinkedIn.

Don’t do this. Ever. If you’re using Twitter correctly, you’re communicating with

connections, asking and answering questions, giving shout-outs to people across

the country, and even making plans for lunch. People on LinkedIn don’t want their

feeds disrupted by all your tweets.

Remember, too, that not everyone uses Twitter, so your colleagues on LinkedIn

may not know how to read some of the special characters and abbreviations

on Twitter.


8. Don’t Decline Invitations. Archive Them

When a stranger asks you for a connection on LinkedIn, archive the invitation

instead of deleting it. There could be a time when you meet this person, and you

can refer to the previous invitation to connect with her. When a connection is

archived, it’s easier to keep track of it.

9. Don’t Ask Everyone for Recommendations

There’s no hard and fast rule about the number of recommendations you should

have. There’s no minimum, and some people think there’s no maximum. Just

remember that not every recommendation is important.

You do need to have at least two recommendations to reach 100% completion of

your profile, but they need to be valuable recommendations. Here are a couple tips

to follow:

Make sure you know the person—This seems obvious, but unfortunately

it is not. Basically, if you don’t know the person who’s asking

you for a recommendation, send her a nice note that says, “I don’t

know you!” You don’t need to give a recommendation to someone you

don’t know; similarly, you don’t need to accept one either.

Ask your best clients—Happy clients are the best referral and recommendation

source for you. Make a list of 10 people to ask for a recommendation.

You don’t need 20 or 30 because 10 people talking about

you is more than enough to strengthen your LinkedIn profile and build

your personal brand.


10. Don’t Forget to Use Spelling and Grammar Check

Do you use spelling and grammar check on your résumé? The same idea applies to

your LinkedIn profile. Remember, your profile is technically a résumé, and we’ve

all been taught that our résumés have to be laser perfect. Spell check everything!

Join The Conversation

  • JailynGillard's picture
    May 24 Posted 4 years ago JailynGillard

    This is indeed a great help for all of us. To sum up, the information of your LinkedIn account must be updated and that includes your picture in your LinkedIn profile. We all should know that picture of our LinkedIn profile is very essential to be competitive in today's increasingly technological business world. Your photo should be current. Don't post your flattering prom photo 20 years later. It will seem deceptive if the people you connect with ever meet you in person or see more current photos of you elsewhere. Check more here.

  • Feb 26 Posted 4 years ago Kulls

    Wow! Just the point and guidance I wanted for my LinkedIn profile. Specially where it is mentioned about writing a little summary, only befriend who you actually know and keeping it active. 

    This will help me to become more professional . Thank you .


  • McCabeMarketing's picture
    Feb 15 Posted 4 years ago McCabeMarketing

    Don’t sync your LinkedIn & Twitter profiles because your messages should be unique and targeted accordingly. Although this post is old (July 2012) there's excellent insight for LinkedIn users - thanks!

  • DavinaKBrewer's picture
    Jul 24 Posted 4 years ago DavinaKBrewer

    To Kent's point, think it varies per what we define as a 'stranger.' There are plenty of people in my LI network that I've actually never done business with, or never met. But I 'know' them from networking - groups, Twitter, blogs, other connections. Even if it's something as simple as a discussion thread in a group, there's a connection. But the random randomness of someone just pumping up their numbers - with no other connections via location, industry, people, interests - I am vary cautious against that. Rightly so, but as always -- mileage may vary.

    Otherwise Lisa, this is a solid list of basics for anyone getting started. And I love your "that's what FB is for" remark; it annoys me to no end when a professional or 'business' website, blog, magazine has FB as it's only comment/login option. There is of course some overlap, but us of networks will vary for us all.

    My other additions, FWIW:

    • DO link to your websites. Your professional blog, professional STwitter. And DO use keywords for those links, when applicable.
    • DON'T 'set it and forget it.' Like anything else, you get back what you put in. Can't ignore it, can't not participate or auto-post links and expect to gain any momentum. 
  • learnit2earnit's picture
    Jul 24 Posted 4 years ago learnit2earnit

    Wonderful reminders Lisa.  LinkedIn is a powerful social site that when used properly will be the most effective social platform for your business.  I continue to build and grow my business with LinkedIn being the major factor.

  • Lisa Jacobson Brown's picture
    Jul 20 Posted 4 years ago Lisa Jacobson Brown

    Thanks all - so glad you're finding this info valuable. Have a great weekend!


  • Iyer Premkumar's picture
    Jul 20 Posted 4 years ago Iyer Premkumar

    Rightly penned, like the saying goes "when in Rome dress like Romans"! Linkedin is a very powerfull platform and needs to be taken seriously 

  • irishabh's picture
    Jul 20 Posted 4 years ago irishabh

    Nice Post! Thanks for Sharing!

  • Kent Ong's picture
    Jul 15 Posted 4 years ago Kent Ong

    Regardless of what industry we need to go out to know strangers. Every industry need human to do business.

  • Jul 15 Posted 4 years ago KylaCromer

    Hi Kent,

    I think this really depends on your industry.  If you sell to the public, say, real estate, I agree with you.  For me, "a friend of a friend," is as far as makes sense.

  • Kent Ong's picture
    Jul 15 Posted 4 years ago Kent Ong

    Hi Lisa, I 100% disagree with "Do Connect to Your Real Friends and Contacts". In order to expand our network, we need to connect with strangers. I know it works because it is how I bring sales to my company thru' Linkeidn.

    You can connect anyone, but it depends on what message you write in the invitation box. After connecting, we can build relationship.

    If we don't go out and connect with strangers, how would our network will grow? Before we have quality, we must have quantity.


  • Loraine Antrim's picture
    Jul 13 Posted 4 years ago Loraine Antrim

    Linkedin can be a powerful social media tool. use it correctly. And one way to use it correctly is to grab eyeballs right away! One of the most important tips that everyone should take as an action item is have a compelling elevator pitch! How you define yourself in your opening description is critical! Loraine Antrim

  • dustindetorres's picture
    Jul 13 Posted 4 years ago dustindetorres

    Awesome post!  I will surely share this with our sales team.  


    Also, I think the Twitter updating into LinkedIn function is not an option anymore?  (the reverse is still able)

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