I was asked to endorse someone on LinkedIn yesterday. Nothing unusual in that. However, I’d never worked with them, in any capacity, never known anyone who had worked with them. I’d only exchanged one or two tweets…. I also vaguely remember my suggestion, some time ago, to help strengthen his LinkedIn profile was not well received. So, you can imagine the slightly flippant recommendation I was thinking of writing… However, I behaved myself and wrote a polite little note back explaining that as I had never worked with him, I didn’t want to damage either of our credibility by writing him a recommendation.

Asking people you have never worked with – or even met in person – is a really stupid and desperate thing to do on LinkedIn. (Not mincing my words today!) It stinks of desperation and raises the very real thought that you have potential problems with your current delivery of service. This lead me to think about some other really stupid things you can do on LinkedIn.

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A second really stupid thing to do is ignore the LinkedIn group rules. Whilst you may want to use the group to advertise your event or article, it’s a quick way to get banned from a potentially lucrative community for you and your business. I run the FT Guide To Business Networking group on LinkedIn, and got increasingly annoyed by a new business network owner, who decided that it was OK to bombard the group with links to his blog. No context, no attempt at a discussion, just a link to a blog. After a gentle nudge, and a clear update on the group rules, I saw no change in his behaviour. So I blocked and deleted him from the group.

A third really stupid thing to do is to treat your LinkedIn connections as an extension of your mailing list. I eventually unconnected myself from a Northern based evangelical new NABO networking group leader, who didn’t seem to understand that when I said I was uncomfortable with retweeting his NABO tweets, I probably wasn’t going to travel 300 miles to go to the launch and subsequent events. This is probably an extreme example, but on several occasions I’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn and immediately been sent via e-mail or LinkedIn an opportunity to attend their event. I, like many others connect with someone on LinkedIn to build a relationship, not get immediately sold too. Treating your LinkedIn connections as an extension of your mailing list is likely to get you unconnected and possibly reported for Spam. It doesn’t take that many people to report you for Spam before your account gets suspended.

This is similar to my last point. Think before you decide to invite all your LinkedIn connections in a mass message to the latest event you are prompting. This kind of messaging may have the opposite effect to the one you intended – irritation. You may be amused that in the past I’ve been ‘personally’ invited to a 2-day launch event in Auckland, by a so called networking expert (well OK, if you pay the air fare and appearance fee! ), a beginners workshop on social media taking place over 100 miles away.

What other stupid things have you seen people do on LinkedIn?

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