Best Ways to Avoid LinkedIn Mistakes

Many recruiters and hiring managers worldwide use LinkedIn as a social media platform. There are over 740 million LinkedIn users in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe. This is a great platform to find a job faster. A LinkedIn profile will also increase the chances of your discovery by various companies looking to hire someone with your skillset and experience. This article will address LinkedIn mistakes and how to avoid them. We will also explore LinkedIn sales prospecting and sales messages on LinkedIn.

linkedin sales

LinkedIn Mistakes

To put your best foot forward on LinkedIn, make sure you avoid these common LinkedIn mistakes.

You’ve Made Your Profile All About You.

Making your LinkedIn profile all about you is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. People care more about what you can do for them rather than all about you. When people visit your profile, they’re looking through the lens of “What’s in it for me?”

Make sure your skills, knowledge, and experience clearly show how you can benefit your target audience. This could include potential prospects and clients, partners, organizations, or employers. You want those who land on your profile to see that you’re the person who can help them with their specific problems.

Don’t Add Symbols, Words, or Acronyms in Your Name Field.

According to LinkedIn’s Terms of Service, you cannot put something other than your name in the name field. If you violate this, your account can be restricted. By placing something other than your name, you also risk the potential of not being found. It also makes you appear unprofessional and reduces your credibility. Some exceptions include adding suffixes, certifications (Ph. D), former names, maiden names, or nicknames.

No Professional Headshot

Another LinkedIn mistake is not having a professional headshot. This photo should be a clean headshot of you, not your company logo or a picture of your family on vacation. A professional headshot will increase the trust potential viewers have in you. You will make an excellent first impression when the background is clean and focuses on your eyes and smile.

Having a Boring Headline and Summary

When someone lands on your profile, you have a matter of seconds to impress them and make them want to learn more about you. Since they will see your headline and the first two lines of your summary section, make sure to grab their attention. You have 120 characters in your headline to tell people who you are and what you do. Make your readers curious so that they’ll want to click “See more” to learn more about you.

linkedin mistakes

Not Adding Social Proof to Your Profile

Social proof is the idea that people copy the actions of others in an attempt to emulate the behavior in certain situations. Social proof increases your credibility and establishes yourself as an authority. LinkedIn has made social proof easy by incorporating sections for Recommendations and Skills & Endorsements on your profile. Recommendations build trust and help people get to know you. Skills and Endorsements increase your level of social proof and improve your search ranking. Add a list of relevant skills to your profile so that people can easily endorse you for those skills.

Failing to Personalize Connection Requests

LinkedIn makes sending a default connection request on both desktop and mobile makes it easy. Therefore, you have to avoid sending the default invitation consciously. Instead, do some research and write a personalized connection request. Make sure you personalize every request, remind people how they know you, and explain why they should connect with you. This will decrease the chances of reporting you as spam and increase the likelihood of them clicking ‘Accept.’ 

Don’t Forget to Follow Up With New Connections.

Simply adding connections to your network isn’t enough. If someone has hundreds or thousands of connections, you’ll likely get lost in the shuffle. That’s why it’s essential to follow up and build a relationship with them. Send personalized messages thanking them for connecting. 

Posting Too Much Personal Information. 

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a professional network. That being said, only post business-related content. Keep it professional so as not to lose credibility with your connections. You can still post personal content, but limit what you post and consider your audience. 

Being Inactive on LinkedIn.

Anyone who visits your profile can see how active or inactive you are on LinkedIn. Being active on LinkedIn will keep you at the top of your connections’ minds. Posting a status update once a day and publishing articles to LinkedIn Publisher are great ways to stay active. Finally, engaging with the posts and articles of your connections in your news feed will keep you at the forefront of peoples’ minds. 

linkedin for sales prospecting

Being a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker)

A LinkedIn Open Networker is someone who accepts a connection request from anyone and everyone who sends them on LinkedIn. It would help if you were concerned more about the quality of your network than quantity. Therefore, you should be selective and connect with people who’ve put time and effort into making sure they are connecting with the right people. There are zero benefits in connecting with fake accounts. Being a LION is a big LinkedIn mistake that can hurt your credibility and authority. It would be best to only connect with someone when it makes sense for you. 

LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting

Before diving into LinkedIn for sales prospecting, what exactly is it? Sales prospecting is sifting through a mountain of businesses and individuals to uncover prospects that are most likely to convert into paying customers with little effort. This takes time and relies on knowing where to look. 

So, how do you use LinkedIn for sales prospecting?

Look at the “People Also Viewed” Sidebar

You can visit one of your best customers or prospects and look at the “People Also Viewed” sidebar, displaying users similar to your contact. Violå, you’ve just turned one prospect into several. 

Reach Out to New Prospects in New Roles

When people accept a new role, they are more open to purchasing a new product or service. If you swoop in at just the right time, you have a chance of getting a new customer. Use the “notifications” tab and regularly check which connections have a new job, birthday, or blog post. This allows you to reach out. This is an easy way to add new prospects to your list. Be sure to reach out sooner rather than later. 

Investigate Your Competitors’ Networks

LinkedIn members’ networks are searchable, which includes rival salespeople. These salespeople likely connect with their prospects and customers, so you can put on your prospecting hat and peruse their networks.

See Who’s Commented on Your Prospects’ Posts

As you scroll through your feed and notifications, pay attention to comments under your connections’ posts. Many people interacting with your prospects and customers will be potentially good fits for your product. Praise their insight, offer a related perspective, share a relevant article, or ask if they’ve considered a specific fact or data point. 

sales messages on linkedin

Use Boolean Google Search

When searching for prospects on Google, consider using Boolean search operators such as quotation marks, OR, AND, or NOT. 

  • Quotation marks: Will surface results containing the exact phrase.
  • OR: Will surface results containing search term A or search term B.
  • AND: Will surface results that contain both search term A and search term B.
  • NOT: Will surface results that contain search term A without search term B.

Sales Messages on LinkedIn

When sending a sales message on LinkedIn, you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Effective sales messages will include the following information to avoid making another LinkedIn mistake:

Their First Name

Start by using the prospect’s first name to know the message is specifically for them. “To whom it may concern” will not be enough for a sales message on LinkedIn. 

Your Name and Company

Introduce yourself right away, so there is no confusion. Don’t make your prospect click on your profile to find out who’s messaging them. That will take away from your message. They can focus on your message instead of thinking, “Who is this?”


Your message should be welcoming and establish some commonality. People respond more to LinkedIn messages from a salesperson with whom they have a connection than someone with whom they don’t. A commonality or connection will boost your credibility. 


Your messages should have some focal point and should be something that prompted you to send the message. Show them you value their insight by making your emails, voicemails, and sales messages buyer-centric, not about you. To keep your messages buyer-centric, do your research and mention their activities and content like social media group contributions, blog posts, or whitepapers. 

Resource Offer

Immediately add value and offer something in exchange for the observation you just made. Offer something meaningful, productive, and relevant that can help them do better. These resources can include content assets, an introduction to an expert, or recommendations for further reading about the subject you’re discussing.

sales prospecting on linkedin


Thoughtful questions are a great way to get a conversation going. Hubspot suggests a few questions:

  • “Is [topic] a priority for you right now?”
  • “Do you have any unanswered questions about your [topic]?”
  • “How, if at all, would you like to improve your strategy?”


You’re not sending messages for the heck of it. Every message should have some definitive steps and an endgame. Ask yourself, what do you hope to get out of this message? A call? An email exchange? A referral?

Be sure that your message is evident in what you hope to accomplish, and your prospect can easily follow through. Don’t be “salesy.” Instead, start a conversation. 

Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting

LinkedIn is the largest professional network platform to reach new customers. If you need help with your LinkedIn strategy, reach out to SEO Design Chicago. We are a marketing agency that can help you with LinkedIn advertising and many other services such as web development, content creation, and SEO. 


  • How many people use LinkedIn?
  • What should sales messages on LinkedIn include?
  • How do you use Boolean search on LinkedIn?
  • What is a LinkedIn Open Networker?
  • What is sales prospecting?

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