Maximize Your LinkedIn Network: Steer Clear of These Top 3 Engagement Pitfalls

LinkedIn can be a great place to build your business; you just have to get out there and start engaging and making connections — the right way. Just beware of the traps!

This article explores the most common traps and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Your Networking Style?

Are you not making the kinds of connections you want on LinkedIn?

Unfortunately, due to bad advice and "quick fixes," you might find yourself falling into one of these common engagement traps.

Do not worry; you are not alone; it is easy to send the wrong message and miss your best connections.

LinkedIn is a great forum for meeting business-to-business contacts and sharing your expertise through content related to business.

This is the beauty of the network. One connection leads to another, which leads to another. As your network grows, so do your business opportunities.

But before you dive in, be aware of the common engagement traps and how to avoid them.

TRAP #1 "The Oversharer"

Getting Too Personal Online

Authenticity is an important part of effectively using social media. In fact, research has found that people who present themselves authentically online have greater life satisfaction.

But if you are oversharing, getting too personal or talking too much altogether, you can limit your ability to make connections.

Sometimes, this might be due to nervousness, but no matter the cause or the presentation, the solution is to focus on the person to whom you are talking.

Make it about them.

At every step of your LinkedIn strategy, think about how you can center the needs of your ideal client. What are they struggling with? What problems are stopping them from reaching their goals? The answers to these questions should inform every piece of content you share.

For example:

  • Share tips and resources that will be valuable to them.
  • Create content that provides real and actionable help.
  • Craft your profile to answer their questions rather than brag.
  • Respect their boundaries and time.
  • Keep the distinction between private and professional.

When their needs are relieved by your solution, you come to mind first and become a trusted resource for the future.

TRAP #2 "The Black Jack Dealer"

Focusing On Quantity Over Quality

Can you think of a time when you went to an event and saw someone handing out business cards like a black jack dealer at a table in Las Vegas?

How many of those business cards do you think end in business-building, life-changing connections? How many ended up in the trash?

The same is true on LinkedIn.

If you come across as one-to-many, rather than one-to-one, not only are people less likely to connect with you but also the algorithm may penalize behavior that seems automated or artificial.

How do you get out of this trap? Seek common ground with the person you are contacting. You probably do this intuitively in real life.

Ways to Find Common Ground:

  • Do your research by actually looking at your prospect's profile.
  • Look for opportunities to make introductions to them.
  • Show gratitude when you have the opportunity.
  • Show you care by commenting on a piece of content they shared.
  • Ask them questions and take time to listen to their answers.
  • Become a treasure-hunter looking for common interests or passions.

Small talk is just as important in establishing connections online as it is in person. Great connections will lead to more people initiating conversations with you, too, through referrals and recommendations. As cliche as it may sound, taking the time to show people you care really does matter.

TRAP #3 "The Spectator"

Letting Fear Get In The Way Of Connection

Fear is a paralyzing proposition. A lot of people will not admit how scared they are of doing or saying the wrong thing. In business, and even more so on social media, this can lead to total inaction.

"The Spectator" is the person who scrolls through social media but does not interact, but no one will hire you or introduce you if they do not know who you are.

Research and active listening are important parts of using LinkedIn. But if your main reason for using LinkedIn is engagement with quality business connections, then take action. When you reach out even in a small way, you can see the power of social media at work.

You never know where a single conversation will take you. Start small and grow as you gain confidence.

One reason you might become overwhelmed is putting the pressure on yourself to navigate social media “perfectly.” Sorry to burst your bubble but there is no perfect way to connect with people virtually. It's as unique as each situation. You will connect with some people and not with others.

Start with something that feels manageable. Maybe you could try commenting on a few posts or sending a message to someone you have not talked to in a while to ask what they are up to. An advantage of social media is that you can try various approaches and see what works best for you and what gets great responses.

The Takeaway

LinkedIn can be a great place to build your business; you just have to get out there and start engaging and making connections — the right way.

Remember your action steps:

  • Make it about them, not you.
  • Be brave, and take initiative to reach out.
  • Invest the effort to make a real connection.

Even when you do everything “right,” not everyone will respond. Do not be discouraged. There are many reasons people might not respond to your outreach. They might not have notifications set up or use the platform often. Perhaps they have been particularly busy or distracted. And sometimes, they are simply not a good fit.

With more than 930 million users on the platform, your audience and the people you want to engage with are likely on LinkedIn.

Go find them!

This article was first published in Forbes Magazine by Judi Radice Hays.



Judi Radice Hays is a sought-after certified LinkedIn strategist, author of 'Elevate, Expand, Engage,' a Refreshingly Different Approach to Winning on LinkedIn’ and regular Forbes contributor.

Judi is known for successfully turning underperforming LinkedIn profiles into prospect-attracting powerhouses. Judi helps business executives identify their audience, elevate their LinkedIn profile and personal brand.

Judi consults with businesses that sell high-ticket professional services in high-trust selling environments. Through her proprietary methods, Judi guides her clients strategy to build authority, credibility, and trust which ultimately leads to increased revenue with her expertise.


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