Are you a LinkedIn Loser?

This page may contain links to or other sites from which I may receive commission on purchases you make after clicking on such links. Read my full Disclosure Policy

Although I read a lot of blogs and attend training sessions from time to time, I’ve picked up most of my social media strategies by observing what others are doing on various sites and emulating those I admire. At the same time, I see many approaches I’m careful not to imitate, and in the coming weeks, I’m going to share a few of them with you, beginning today with LinkedIn.

Are you a LinkedIn loser?

Do you send out invitations to connect, without personalizing the message?

Isn’t it a little presumptuous to assume that someone will want to add you to their network if they don’t know who you are or why you’d like to connect? To me, this is like shoving your business card in someone’s hand at a local networking event and saying “call me” as you hurry by on your way to speak to someone else. You might get away with it if you already have a relationship with that person, but even then a personalized message shows that you cared enough to make the effort, and may help them remember how they know you if you’re not closely connected.

In my books, being members of the same LinkedIn group is NOT a valid reason to send an invitation to connect. Let’s get to know each other through the group discussions first, and if there appear to be areas of mutual interest, then we can connect directly.

Do you spam your connections?

I went through a phase where I would connect with just about anyone who invited me, but not any more, not since a few people sent me self-promotional messages almost immediately after I accepted their request. At no point did they take a moment to thank me for connecting or to introduce themselves.

Do you ask people for recommendations who have never worked with you?

How on earth can they recommend you if they don’t have first-hand experience of your work? They don’t have to be former employers or clients; even colleagues may be able to speak to your expertise and work ethic, but if someone only knows you through a networking group, what can they really say about you that will add any value to your profile?

Does everything you post on Twitter automatically feed to LinkedIn?

LinkedIn eliminated that feature a while back for a reason – it just didn’t make sense. There are other tools available that allow you to do this, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

If I’m on LinkedIn right now, it’s because I’ve made a choice to be on LinkedIn, not Twitter. I don’t want to see retweets. I especially don’t want to see Twitter IDs, which aren’t even live links on my iPhone.

Is your profile incomplete?

A profile with only a few sketchy details is about as valuable as a business card with nothing but your name and telephone number on it. If I don’t remember why I have that card, it’s going in the garbage. Likewise, if your profile doesn’t tell me anything about you, it’s not going to hold my interest for very long, regardless of how I ended up there.

Is your profile picture anything other than a headshot?

If you use a full body portrait, how do you expect people to recognize your face once it’s reduced to less than an inch on the screen? And if it’s a picture of your child or your pet, you’re on the wrong website! LinkedIn is strictly for business networking.

For more on this subject, read LinkedIn Profile Picture – Do me a favour, let me see your face. by Margarita Ibbott.

I realize that everyone has their own reasons for being on LinkedIn, and that those reasons may influence how they use the site, so you may discount my comments as being no more than the rants of a grumpy middle-aged woman. However, I know I’m not alone in this. A few weeks ago, I posted this question on LinkedIn:

Working on a blog post about annoying things people do on LinkedIn. Got any stories to share?

The resulting discussion was very interesting, with some folks confirming ideas I’d already had, and others raising new issues.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there are times when the above actions are acceptable, or even effective? Are there things people do on LinkedIn that bug you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

I recommend...

A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Join the Conversation


  1. Avatar Jill Robson on April 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Janet
    I like the topic of this blog. I always send a message if someone wants to connect with me, but i don’t usually give a reason when i invite them….hum great point. My pet peeve is group members who are always pushing their personal agenda instead of actually giving their advice and insight for free.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

      I hate that too, Jill! I’ve become very cautious when someone invites me to join a new group. There are a lot of good ones, but there are even more that are just used as a mailing list to promote someone’s teleclasses or products.

    • Avatar Margarita Ibbott ~ on April 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

      I so get your pet peeve. I wrote the post that Janet commented on in this post and there is this guy that constantly add his 2 cents (more like $5) on every one of my posts. He is shamelessly self promoting and I just want to say hey… get off my turf & write your own post.

      • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        How rude! This has nothing to do with LinkedIn, but I once had to remove a blog comment which was a product review including my affiliate link, and the commenter included his own affiliate link in his comment. There are plenty of places for all of us to promote our products and services, there is no need to try and horn in on someone else’s work!

  2. Avatar Margarita Ibbott ~ on April 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Janet, thank you so much for the kind mention. I love the title of your post. Too funny.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      My pleasure – always good to demonstrate that I’m not the only one with a certain opinion!

  3. Avatar Debbie Dunne on May 1, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Hi Janet, what a great blog. To the point. It makes me think twice about how I should be inviting people. Glad you shared it.

Leave a Comment