There are now 750 million people on LinkedIn. Some of them you want to meet and others you should avoid at all costs, although you may not be able to at first.
But Adam, I hear you say, you keep telling us we should expand our reach and build up a large network on LinkedIn. You say this is a platform everyone should use to promote their expertise, and tell the world about their business.
Absolutely, all of that is still true – if it’s done the right way. Unfortunately there are also some people who just get it wrong. The way they promote themselves is obnoxious and shallow and will ultimately lead to damage to their personal brand.
We can group them roughly into 5 categories and to keep this a bit more light-hearted I’ve given them names.
This one’s a bit like those people you see in the gym madly flexing everything they can as soon as they think someone is looking.
They crave an audience and they aren’t going to miss an opportunity to tell the world about every little personal achievement, no matter how small or irrelevant.
Who really cares that you just completed a course on how to use the comma, or that you just just joined a parkrun group? Do you really have to post about that?
Ghosts are hard to see at the best of times and that’s true of the LinkedIn Ghost too. They know they should be on LinkedIn so they do have a profile, but there’s very little information in it.
In most cases they haven’t completed their About section, they have the vaguest headline if they have one at all, no profile photo, certainly no personalised banner image and only the sketchiest details in the Experience section. And definitely no Recommendations.
You won’t see them creating or engaging with content. No posts, no likes or comments and definitely no sharing, so you’d hardly notice their presence.
The Self-Appointed Guru
There are plenty of these around and they seem to be proliferating. They tend to come in two varieties.
While one focuses on self-help motivation, the other is usually positioned as an online business expert who can show you how to use the internet to become obscenely wealthy.
The motivation guru typically can’t resist posting a stream of pithy quotations and advice intended to get you fired up and moving ahead.
The online business guru pushes their one-of-a-kind business system that no-one else has thought of – it made them fabulously wealthy and can do the same for you.
Both of them are often people you have never heard of before and probably never will again.
The Hard Sell Pitcher
I’ve written about these before but they’re still very much around so they deserve a mention. It doesn’t seem to matter to them whether there is any common ground or relevance for you in what they want to push.
They send out random, generic invitations to connect. They send Inmails with blatant sales pitches irrespective of whether there’s any likelihood that you’ll be a natural customer. They seem to operate on the velcro principle – put enough hooks out there and something’s bound to stick!
The Creep (a.k.a The Stalker)
I won’t say much about these except that they are truly creepy. LinkedIn naturally encourages members to be as visible and open as possible to promote business related networking.
Sadly this can open members up to unwanted attention. I’ve come across numerous examples of blatant attempts to use LinkedIn as a dating app and frankly it’s just not on. Shudder!!
If you find yourself on the wrong end of any of these there are ways to deal with the situation.
- Don’t engage with anything they post; if you do you’ll just be encouraging them
- Don’t accept any invitations to connect
- If you have already connected with them delete them from your Connections. Don’t worry they won’t get an alert from LinkedIn, but you’ll stop seeing each other’s content
- Block them so you never receive anything further. You can do this in Settings & Privacy
- If it gets out of hand you can also report them to LinkedIn
The other side of the coin
As I said in right at the start of this article there are plenty of people on LinkedIn that you do want to get connected to and engage with. It’s still a fantastic platform for promoting your business and generating leads, if it’s done right.
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