Top 9 Mistakes Businesses Make on LinkedIn

Posted by Ryan Farrell in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

Most people think of LinkedIn as a “resume” site. And those who use it for networking or sales often go about it the wrong way… and end up pushing their prospects away instead of attracting them.

It’s a shame because LinkedIn can actually be a highly efficient tool for getting leads and finding new business, IF you avoid some common mistakes that too often get businesses in trouble.

Sometimes it’s better to know what NOT to do, so in this post we’ll share the top 9 mistakes we see businesses make that not only leave them without leads and prospects, but that can actually ruin a reputation for good.

Mistake #1: Going Straight For the Sale

This is likely the first mistake that comes to mind for some. If you’ve ever received a message or email that looks something like the ones below, you know what I’m talking about…


It’s easy to see where these people are coming from… they’re trying to introduce themselves to potential prospects and open the door to conversation and, hopefully, new business. Unfortunately, these messages often have the opposite effect. From the recipient’s perspective, it only seems that someone you don’t know is pushing their stuff on you and fishing for your business. Even if they are nice and respectful, these are inappropriate messages when you first connect with someone. And they often get ignored.

The truth is, it’s all too easy to send a message like this, but before you press send… just put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re sending it to. What are the chances they’ll respond to a stranger with an unwanted offer?

Our LinkedIn strategies are focused on building trust first. So that people actually seek you out and ask for more, so that they welcome your message and look forward to further contact with you. To see how we do this, click here.

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Mistake #2: Neglecting Your Prospect Profile

Another very common mistake we see people make is that they haven’t given much thought as to who their best prospects are. This has two implications:

  1. They reach out to people who may not be a good for their services.
  2. They can’t speak directly to their prospects’ needs and therefore get them to convert to leads and clients. In other words, in all their marketing they rely solely on “general” benefits of their services, a fast track to getting lost in the noise.

In order to stand and command attention, trust, and authority, we suggest that you create a specific prospect profile so that you can target your ideal prospects and speak directly to their needs, pains, and desires.

To learn more about creating a prospect profile, check out this blog post on the topic:

Prospect Profile: The #1 Thing Screwing Up Your Marketing

Mistake #3: Using a Generic LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn headline is probably the most important thing you can focus on in your LinkedIn profile. After your picture it’s the first thing people will read about you. Unfortunately, too many business completely neglect their headline and use the generic headline that many LinkedIn users do.

When you sign up, LinkedIn will ask you to submit your job title and the company you work for. This will become your first headline…

And that’s exactly what you don’t want to do. What people want to know is whether or not you can help them and how. So, when you want to attract new prospects, you need to clearly explain who you help AND how you help them. This is what we use…

The Headline Optimization Formula:

[ title ], [ company name ] | We help [ avatar ] [ benefit ]

Here are some examples:

  • COO, LinkedSelling | B2B Marketing Expert helping businesses generate consistent sales opportunities
  • VP, JDA Retail | We help consumer technology brands stand out online, on shelf & in print.
  • Innovative publisher helps entrepreneurs share their message, increase exposure & ascend to a new level in their market.

Mistake #4 : Writing your profile like a standard resume

The problem with this mistake is that it’s too much “Me, Me, Me.” People aren’t looking at your profile because they want to read your resume, they want to know “What’s In It For Them?” and your profile should answer that for them.

This means that along with your headline, your summary and your job experience should contribute to your one objective: let your prospects know who you help and what you help them achieve. Looking at your “Experience” section, you need to include everything that contributes to that objective.

For example, when you share that you worked as a Marketing Manager, explain how that experience gives you insight into your current work as a business consultant and how your prospect will benefit from that.

Also, be sure to include testimonials, documents, or other supporting materials. Here’s an example from our CEO, Josh Turner’s experience section:

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Mistake #5: Disregarding LinkedIn Groups

A lot of people either don’t see the purpose of creating a LinkedIn group or just don’t know how to grow and manage it. The truth is, LinkedIn groups are an amazing tool for positioning yourself as a leader and expert in your industry and a great icebreaker to approach your prospects with on LinkedIn.

Where we see a lot of people go wrong though, is that they create and join groups based on their own interests. For example, a CEO of a tech company might only join or create a group on best tech practices. However, if you want to use your group to get more leads and generate new business, this is more likely to attract only competitors or a small portion of your prospect profile.

Instead, the best thing to do is to create a group around a topic that your prospects are interested in. To learn more about how we use groups to generate high-quality leads, read more here: Are LinkedIn Groups Worth Your Time?

Mistake #6: Sending Default Connection Requests

This is a huge one! When you are sending connection requests to potential leads on LinkedIn, you do not want to look and sound just like everyone else. When you do not add a customized note, this is what your prospect will see in their inbox:

On the contrary, when you add a customized note to your connection request, this is what they will see:

The reason this works is that you stand out both in their inbox and in their mind because you’ve shown a personal interest in them and in your relationship with them.

Mistake #7: No Top-of-Mind Content Plan

A lot of people immediately look at this and will say that they don’t have time, that this sounds very complex. The truth is it’s not.

And if you take just a few extra minutes every month to find articles that your prospects are interested in, then throughout the month, you can systematically stay top-of-mind, offer value, and even show your own expertise just by associating yourself with other experts in your industry.

In fact, it works so well to build that trust and authority necessary to begin those key business conversations, that we call this strategy the “Authority Amplifier” strategy. When you curate content and are consistent about sharing it, you quickly build authority and top of mind awareness.

One client, Miles Nichols, can attest to this:

Mistake #8: One and done – No follow-up

Here’s another common mistake: neglecting to follow-up.

It’s one thing to send out connection requests to targeted potential prospects. It’s another to nurture that connection into a relationship so that business conversations can occur.

Without follow-up, you simply can’t expect for them to email you asking for your services. That’s not how this works. Follow-up allows time for them to get to know you and time for you to prove yourself to them.

Our typical messaging process on LinkedIn included 4-7 touchpoints with our client’s prospects.

Mistake #9: No System at All

And finally, we see people doing a lot of good things on LinkedIn, but without a system to bring it all together efficiently, you’re shooting in the dark, doing a little here and a little there. The whole process can feel random and in turn, deliver unpredictable results. You can’t build or grow a business based on unpredictability.

If you’d like to learn more about the system we’ve developed to help people in nearly every industry get high-quality leads from LinkedIn, click below to schedule a free Rocket Launch Session with a client strategist from our team.

The great thing about these Rocket Launch Sessions is that not only will we share our system with you, but together, we will explore what it will look like for your unique business, plus we’ll help you develop an in-depth, custom strategy to get new leads on your calendar every single month.