Business Strategy

Top 10 Most Egregious LinkedIn Violations

Are you guilty of any of these LinkedIn faux pas, indiscretions and bloopers? I've spent a fair amount of my life in social lately. Granted I've experimented wildly myself and no doubt lost one or two followers along the way. I actually had one fast enemy once but his bark was louder than his bite and he was frozen in his tracks by all of you. (Above Dracula profile credit to Celina Guerrero's brilliant blog)

I want to specifically call out the biggest mistakes in a shock-and-awe list for your viewing pleasure and overall amusement – write or comment and let me know what I've missed!

1) Profile picture of a dude with a hot date, Ferrari yacht or in a leisure suit. Embrace some decorum and panache - you could be doing real business on here as opposed to radiating Deuce Bigalow! Your LinkedIn CV is not a bragging contest or 'Rich Kids of Instagram.' Don't have shades on or snap a pic from a rager party!

2) Using LinkedIn like a dating social network. No – this is not Facebook! Recently some connection commented on my post, 'Wow, that woman is beautiful.'

3) QUOTA CRUSHER profile. If you claim to crush your clients at 300% you will repel clients like Dracula taking a holy water bath!

4) Feedclogging e.g. posting the same article in 20 groups to jam up the newsfeed. Motivational posters or kitschy cats with snorkles is again a bad idea.

5) Sharing pictures of sunsets, classic cars, celebrities and quote bombing. Again, it's not Facebook or the aisle of the grocery store. Post clean people!

6) Formulaic auto-response promoting your 5 latest books. This is almost worse than a Twitter DM.

7) Soliciting business as a formulaic chain letter spam to a dozen friends all openly CC'd. Any time I'm being asked to wire money to Cameroon.

8) Dubbing yourself a social media expert. Who isn't? Completely non-differentiated simplistic and generic Publisher posts that state the obvious make you Captain Obvious. Snore!

9) Spamming on comments. There are a couple profiles in here being powered offshore that take a contrarian tone (debating everything) or like every single comment on major posts. Broken English auto-bot spam or backlinks with phishing attempts.

10) Link Bait - Posts claims specialized knowledge and then is basic. Post gives you one paragraph and then forces a click to a gated site where email is required.

Bonus Round:

  • Why is LinkedIn Influencer closed? Even top authors around the world can't get in. But many who got in early have less reach. Seems unfair. I bet many of us have written them on this point. It's not a contest but I'd imagine I have more sales validity than a Kardashian... just maybe! [No, I've never asked LinkedIn to make me an Influencer]
  • Writing referral requests to people who have never met you? How on Earth could they possibly refer you?
  • Asking for endorsements from people who couldn't pick you out of a police line-up!
  • Endorsing someone who has no clue who you are. #creepy
  • Using InMail to reach me with an investment offer that looks sketchy.
  • No information on their profile. No profile picture. Scary up close selfie.
  • Wildly over-polished YouTube videos that look like an 80's self-help informercial.
  • Name dropping, grand standing and narcissism.
  • Whoever that business reporter is who wrote 25 identical posts about Marissa Mayer. Super irritating! Please vary the subject matter.
  • LinkedIn experts that consistently post the same SEO optimize or redo the writing on your profile but don't teach any advanced Group Strategy, Publishing or how to leverage LinkedIn with Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
  • Haters, trolls, misanthropes and shock jocks.
  • Social Sellers who oversimplify what it's really going to take to monetize all this from both a time and effort perspective and in respect to methods that came before which must be firing on all cylinders too to stand a snowball's chance in hell of make strategic social selling work.
  • Outright plagiarism. Not quoting where statistics come from.
  • Spamming me with those unimaginative - Make Money with LinkedIn Courses. I recently got an ad for LinkedIn for Insurance Agents.
  • Stop liking and commenting on 'hot' people's profiles especially when I see it in my feed! This is a business network.
  • I don't doubt that there are many models who are active in career networks but let's face it, not everyone's a model. Not exactly a trust builder:
  • Fake profiles from lead gen companies that clearly aren't a real person. They usually feature a young looking model and no data on the company. They add in and spam you with 'generate 3 to 4 leads' per day until you must delete them.
  • LinkedIn LIONs that literally post a picture of a Siberian White Tiger on the hour saying, 'Let's connect!' I'm serious this actually happens.

Now it's your turn? What annoys the heck out of you on LinkedIn that I missed? How are people abusing the system or not getting it right?

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by: David Blackwell

3 Lessons Business Can Learn From Sporting Winners

I was recently interviewed by Kelly Riggs on his BizLocker radio program and afterwards we had a great conversation where I asked him what he thought business can learn from sport. Kelly was himself an elite athlete and he has published two acclaimed books. In the Quit Whining and Start Selling book he provides a sales acceleration formula which is brilliant.

So, from someone who really knows; what can business learn from elite sport? Here is his insightful response with three very specific things.

First: Just like sports, business is a competition.

Since we compete for business, it is always in our best interests to hire competitors who want to win and bristle at the very thought of mediocrity. Sure, there is a line one can cross (in sports as well) when it comes to competition, but employers are often guilty of hiring resumes rather than competitors. The problem is that it is too easy to make a resume look good, and most companies have very poor hiring processes. As a result, they hire reactively, screen poorly, and consistently justify bad hiring decisions with the worst of excuses: "It's hard to find good people." 

In fact, there are only four ways to play a game on the field, on the court, or on the pitch: 1) Play to win, 2) Play to win at all costs, 3) Play not to lose, or, 4) Just show up and play. The only real option for long-term success is to consistently play to win - legally, ethically, and morally. Sadly, however, the vast majority of companies just show up and play. It's reflected in their attitudes about business, their lack of planning, and their approach to hiring and managing employees. Lesson No. 1: Hire better. Hire attitude and character first, skills second.

Second: To win consistently, you need an effective game plan.

Winning in sports is a function of leadership, game plan, and talent. Take any one of those out of the mix and your sports performance will suffer - and so it is in business. The thing is, all three are interconnected. Take any two and toss out the third and you have a serious problem.

The bridge between leadership and talent is the game plan, and it is amazing how often businesses today lack an effective, well-communicated strategic plan. In my experience, only 10-15% of companies have a working strategic plan that guides decision making and is consistently reviewed and evaluated.Consider the sports coach whose team was just handed a crushing defeat. Now imagine him or her standing in front of the press and responding to this question: "Coach, it was tough out there today. What was your game plan going in?" Now imagine this response: "Well, guys, to be frank, we didn't have a plan. I just told the team to play hard." Lesson No. 2: Create a strong game plan. Communicate it clearly. Review it consistently. Make sure everyone on the team knows the role they play in executing that plan.

Third: You will not win consistently without a great culture.

It is a truism that great players want to play on great teams. High-performance players, regardless of personality type, are driven to be their best. They won't play (for long) on a losing team or for a mediocre coach. If a coach is a weak leader and/or can't create a winning culture, great players just won't stay. Worse, if a coach can't or won't deal effectively with under-performers, great players won't stay. All of this is especially true in business. 70% of the time, when an employee quits an organization, he or she leaves because of the actions (or lack of action) of their immediate manager or supervisor.

High turnover is like giving away money, and the vast majority of the time it is created by poor leadership. Ineffective performance management is also a major contributor to disengagement and poor morale. Who is responsible? The leader, whether we are talking sports or business. Lesson No. 3: Invest in your leaders, especially at the mid-management level. You can have a great company and a single under-performing manager can ruin your culture.

Wow... Kelly is someone who can both inspire and enable sales teams with both strategy and execution. His radio program is on Mondays at 3pm CST (7am on Tuesdays, Sydney time, for those here in Australia). Here is the podcast library and his interview with me is episode 49. My interview starts about half way through the program (after Suzanne's interview).

Finally, here is an article about why cricket has a great culture... the response following an elite player's death (Phil Hughes) after being struck by fast ball delivery was incredible. Kelly is right on the money when he links the sporting elite to business leadership.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo @ Kelly Riggs 2015.