Conquering the Seven Deadly Sins of Linkedin

I believe I’ve committed every one of the following transgressions throughout my years of LinkedIn connections, posts, and interactions. Please feel free to share your own sinful LinkedIn experiences in the comments below this article.


Pride – Not having a profile picture, or having an inappropriate one.

Profile pictures are a must. They increase credibility and allow your current and potential business associates to recognize and relate to you. Personability is huge when working with people. LinkedIn has said, based on their analytics, that profiles with a picture are seven times more likely to receive interaction than those without.

There is no perfect format for a LinkedIn profile picture. It is best to use a professional, personable, and high quality photo.

Here are some dos and don’ts:

  • Use a photo of yourself, not something or someone else.
  • The image should be recognizably you.
  • The pose should be professional although don’t be afraid to smile.
  • Use a photo that reflects your industry, finance = a suit, personal trainer = workout wear.


Gluttony – Not taking your customer’s perspective into consideration.

In all walks of business the customer’s point of view is crucial. We get caught up adding content without understanding the reason. The aim is to improve online presence and shine in front of those who view your profile.

With that in mind it’s time to take a look at the elements people view most when looking at your LinkedIn profile. The below points were taken from a quick question and answer session with some of the brightest lights I know across the world who use LinkedIn on a daily basis.

What people look at first on your profile:

  •    Your current role.
  •    Companies where you worked and time employed.
  •    Opportunities to work together.
  •    Shared connections.
  •    Your description and how it’s written.
  •    The quantity and quality of your endorsements.

The customer wants to know whether you are credible and of value to their business. With that in mind, look at your profile at least once a year with fresh eyes and ask yourself: “What will my customers see that might add value to their business?”


Greed – The old “Connect & pitch.”

This happens often. People connect with you then immediately pitch their services without any previous interaction.

Why it doesn’t help you:

  •    The person pitching doesn’t know you.
  •    People don’t want to feel like they’re being used.
  •    LinkedIn is about people, not templated email interactions.
  •    The assumed sell is a turnoff to most people.
  •    Your reputation is worth more than a throwaway email.

It’s important to make clear that it’s not pitching that’s the problem here. It’s the approach. Your first words to a potentially valuable working relationship shouldn’t be: “Buy this.”

If you are going to pitch on LinkedIn, or anywhere else for that matter, research and building relationships are key. Interactions are a two way street. Building them takes time. Ruining them takes a second.


Envy – Not knowing how others get noticed.

Are you at the top of LinkedIn’s search results? If you are, how are you going to stay there? Are  you using keywords? Follow in others’ footsteps. A major factor that differentiates your profile from others is the choice of keywords throughout your content. Think of LinkedIn as a huge search engine. That’s what it is, after all, with thousands of people competing to be at the top of your industry.

Let’s not make the mistake of thinking keywords are buzzwords. Driven, passionate, motivated, and creative are examples of buzzwords. Keywords are different, specific to your industry and include words such as Operations Manager or Digital Marketing Expert.


Wrath – Not getting to know your audience, being unapproachable, or worse, invisible.

To truly engage with your audience you need to be aware of one thing…what their interests are. If your audience is interested in finance, posting about new technology in the hospitality industry isn’t going to cut it in terms of highlighting your expertise and value.

Everyone wants something. The ability to deliver it to them in an effective, concise way will reap benefits. Your status and credibility will reflect more positively in their eyes.

How will I know my audience?

  •    Ask. The most important thing to do is to ask people what they want.
  •    Listen to the answers.
  •    Look at what others in the industry are doing.
  •    Action trumps inaction. Try something and gauge the response you receive.
  •    Change what you are doing as needed.

All of the above points can be boiled down to one tactic: get involved with your audience. Spend time in their shoes and try to understand what makes them happy.


Lust – Group interaction: seeking the immediate without taking into account the opportunity to build relationships.

Think of LinkedIn as a 24/7, engaged networking event with thousands of people who have something to offer. There are also thousands of different tables at this networking event called groups.

Within these groups there are different levels of engagement. You can engage with people who post. You can signify your agreement with posts, and if you want, you can identify yourself as a leader by writing and posting.

What does it boil down to?

Relationship-building is the key to a successful sales mindset.

If all you wish for are voluminous connections on LinkedIn, but don’t take the time to build relationships, you will not get the long-term results you may desire.

How do I know which groups to join? A good place to start is by knowing yourself and your brand. Next, think about which groups provide the best fit for your needs. Would you like to build relationships about your chosen subject or industry, or do you want to build potential business relationships?

The two are distinctly different. If you wish to find mentorship from a group and you are in the financial industry, then your best bet is to find a financial services industry expert group. If you are in the same industry but want a seller to business relationship, then your best bet is within CFO and CEO groups that potentially need your services.


Sloth – Inaction.

The most deadly sin in my opinion is inaction. This is true on LinkedIn or anywhere for that matter.

Harry Truman said, “Imperfect action trumps inaction.” It rings true here as well. The absolute worst thing is not to take action on your LinkedIn personal brand strategy.

Taking action on one or all of these Seven Deadly Sins of LinkedIn could make the difference between landing that job and closing that sale or coming up empty-handed.

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