Have you been to a presentation by a LinkedIn “expert” who shared questionable, useless or even harmful advice? I have. Here are 6 top mistakes that can get your LinkedIn account shut down or suspended.
- Spamming. A keynote presenter at a conference in Dallas recommended that people sign up for 50 groups on LinkedIn and then share their blogs on all 50 of them. “It’s easy and fast, she said, all you need to do it keep hitting submit and within 5 minutes your blog will be in front of millions of viewers.” If your blog is consistent with the groups focus and daily practice then it’s a good match for sharing. If you’re doing a blog on time share condos in Hawaii and the group is focused Ohio Business Development it’s not a good match. Think before you share and err on the side of being respectful to the group members. The best that might happen is you could be banned from a group, do it enough and you’ll have to face the LinkedIn police!
- Inviting Strangers to Connect. LinkedIn monitors the number of people who mark invitations as “IDK” or I don’t know. The reason LinkedIn cares is their monetization model includes selling In-Mail and Premium account services. Circumventing paid services reduces revenue and has a direct impact on profitability. After receiving a certain number of “IDK’s”, LinkedIn will restrict your account, and if you keep doing it, they will shut down your account.
- Name Field. The name field is searchable by LinkedIn and Google. Whether you’re looking for a job or clients, everyone on LinkedIn wants stand above the competition and be found on a search. It’s acceptable to add your middle or maiden name, degrees, and certifications. LinkedIn’s objective is to help professional’s succeed. The visual appeal and clean looking name field is consistent with LinkedIn’s professional brand message. However, if you put keywords or contact information in your name field, LinkedIn holds a zero-tolerance policy. Don’t wait until it happens before you make the change. There are no second chances.
- Copyrights. Don’t copy someone else’s material or profile. Last year someone contacted me saying they loved my LinkedIn profile and could they copy it. Believing they meant the tone, a few phrases, or formatting, I said yes. When I later checked, I found that they had copied my entire profile including work history, skills, and expertise word for word. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but representing someone else’s work as yours can land you in trouble.
- Miss-leading information. LinkedIn is highly sensitive of people representing them selves as “LinkedIn trainers” (rather than “trainers of LinkedIn”) and have suspended many of those accounts. To have accounts reinstated these trainers and others prominently add that they are “not affiliated with LinkedIn.”
- Unlawful or Objectionable. Unlawful is self explanatory. Objectionable is subjective. When in doubt, don’t. If you are promoting a business that could be considered objectionable such as what LinkedIn refers to as the “development of a network that seeks to implement practices that are similar to sales by network or the recruitment of independent home salespeople” then don’t. LinkedIn is a social business site. Connect with people. Be authentic and if they want to join your opportunity after a one-on-one call fine but avoid blatant mass market promotions.
LinkedIn grants users a limited, revokable, nonexclusive, right to access the site. In plain English this means, they own the service and can shut down your account at any time and you have no recourse.
If your account is shut down, contact customer service and plead your case. They will probably require you change the offending language on your profile or cease any offending behaviors like spamming or connecting to people you don’t know. To learn more visit the LinkedIn User Agreement page.
What questionable, useless or even harmful advice have you received that was offered as a best practice for LinkedIn?