Don’t be a donkey – avoid these major LinkedIn mistakes

LinkedIn is the world’s most powerful professional networking site with 10M+ Australian members. The networking opportunities and business  generation potential is clear.    But the strength of your profile and how you use LinkedIn will determine your success.  So don’t be a donkey – avoid these major LinkedIn mistakes.

A core element of personal branding is how  people can and do perceive you.   But you won’t know who came on by and kept scrolling  by because your profile wasn’t appealing.  And you won’t know who has been observing you in the background.  And if you really want to connect with someone and don’t make the right approach and effort you may not get a second chance.

You cannot be everything to everyone, but these mistakes can really damage your results.  So get onto them asap.

Major LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid 

Profile – Boring, Lazy, Incomplete

Don’t’ appear disconnected and pompous by writing your profile summary in the 3rd person. Get real here – unless you are super elite or a TV mega star you look egotistical.    Always write in the 1st person.  Writing in the 1st person is memorable and inspiring – which is the aim of the game.

Don’t kick off your summary clichés, cut and pastes, childhood narratives and vanilla and silly adjectives (ie unless you are  a salt and pepper shaker you are not ‘seasoned’).   Launch with an inspiring summary  with the problems you solve, your market  and your value proposition – be inspiring and without ego.

The headline is not the place to be a smarty-pants. It’s a search section to list your expertise. Common keywords are the critical and if space is available sure add extra.  Keep the quirkiness for your summary and banner.

Don’t put your mobile or URL in the headline or extraneous information in the name fields.  It’s against LinkedIn’s User Agreement and you just look desperate.

Complete all sections – Experience, Skills, Education etc with relevant detail.

Contact box  -complete all sections –  current  email, website, mobile details.  It just wastes peoples time if they cannot easily see how to contact you.

Do NOT leave a grey blank box against your company name – set up a Company Page so you can include your Logo there and link  It looks professional and is critical for business name branding.

Low Visual Appeal – Photograph & Banner


We cannot trust who we cannot clearly see – have a clear close up.

No sunglasses, glamour shots, holidays, dated snaps, animals, caricatures, other people

No logos or other images (it is against LinkedIn User agreement). The photo should be the best version of you – whoever that is.

How you would present in business to clients is the guide to what your photo should represents. Reality must meet expectations.


This is your personal cinema billboard. It has so many creative options to create a WOW factor.

Don’t leave blank or have just a boring photo of scenery. Use the banner  for taglines, logos, brand value, photographs, images, website colours – go crazy with creativity that is ON BRAND

Change it around when you want to promote a workshop, new launch, book etc – be flexible to marketing intent.

Great extra  tips here on LinkedIn’s blog :   MHow to Make a Great First Impression 

Connection Requests & Networks

Don’t be lazy and spray and pray all over the place. . Get real about your strategy and connect with target markets and those of real interest.

Don’t be fooled by the belief that everyone needs a huge network – they don’t.  Some businesses need to build a big network base others don’t.

Do NOT use automation plug in connection tools.  It is against LinkedIns User Agreement and you risk profile suspension as excessive views via automation is a red flag    Most people can sense if a connection request is a generic one via a automation tool – its tacky.

Always send a short but personalised invitation on why you would like to connect.  Make people feel a tad special – not just a number in the LinkedIn supermarket.

Paid Fake Boosts

Don’t go down the slippery slope of  quick win gloss and immorality.   Sure  many people want instant result to build traction. But going down the path of false illusion is just crazy. unethical.

Never  BUY  followers, recommendations, endorsements, likes.   There are many  businesses spruiking  the golden goose of instant success on LinkedIn by the purchase of  (fake) huge followers,  endorsements, likes and recommendations.   The pitch is that it will boost your credibility quickly will be vacuous. Most come from  overseas  sources (80%) or fake or low value profiles (Aust)     And  LinkedIn are picking up the patterns and you will compromise your profile and reach.

Bad Manners

Big one here around the perception of your personal brand. Always respond to messages from your 1st degree connections and all comments on your posts and articles.  People observe how you treat others publicly.  Check here for more etiquette  tips.

Hashtags & Tagging – Overuse

Don’t go crazy with more than six (6)  hashtags at the most in each post.   More than that and you just might look  desperate for attention. Be strategic with hashtags. You are not trying to stuff an all you can fill bag of clothes.

Similarly with tagging people.  It again looks desperate to tag in a excessive  number of  names (on the post or in comments).  Make sure the people you tag you 100% know will want to engage.

LinkedIns algorthims are starting to penalise members posts if they keep tagging without engagement.   And especially don’t  tag the  big influencers  players – do you really think they will  respond?  Again you look desperate.  If you really want to get someones attention – send them an InMail (2nd 3rd connections)  or PM (1st connection)

Engagement Pods

Exercise caution.  Most LinkedIn Engagement pods are designed to simply game the algorithms to inflate visibility and reach with disparate industry members.  They can harm your personal brand, feed display and have a host of other issues.

Crappy Videos

Videos are powerful when done well.   But 75% of videos shouldn’t see the light of day.  Don’t follow the craze without strategy.  Car videos, seat belts fastened whilst driving, running down the street, out of bed hair, I just wanted to share my thoughts etc – not a great idea.  You don’t need to look like a TV newsreader polished to a second of your life, but how you would show up in your business meetings is the ideal presentation style you should focus on.  Whatever that is for you – make it consistent.

Share great tips, industry updates in your authentic  personal brand style.  Focus on quality value each time not quantity videos because you believe you must pump them out.

Low Value Content  – No Strategy

Sharing quality content builds expert authority and personal brand credibility. It’s not about how successful you are but the learning and value you give to your ideal client and networks.

Some personal stuff is OK in moderation. Ideally tie the personal to a business value and message.  Share a mix posts, articles, and PDF document downloading, videos. Mix it up – don’t flood with events, look at me how well I’m doing and smashing it content and promotional noise.   Create a strategy of value marketing and intent.

The Humblebrag

Humblebragging is  boring and transparent.  Come on you want to say how wonderful you feel BUT there are clever ways to position yourself, events, awards etc without self-aggrandisement.  Don’t fall into the covert trap of:   I’m so humbled – I was privileged – It was an honour.  Review your  intention also of why you want to share something – and position it with clarity and value.

Sort these donkey  mistakes out and ramp up your profile and success on LinkedIn.  Your personal brand and  network experiences will be more powerful & enjoyable.


Image by Wokandapix on Pixabay

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