We all know that LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for growing your network. So, when you notice that you’re actually losing connections rather than effectively expanding your web of professional contacts? Well, that can hurt.
Surely, it’s not your fault, right? After all, why would anybody want to disconnect from you when the entire point of the site is to continuously develop your relationships?
I hate to break it to you—but, in most cases, it actually is you. There are a few annoying things you might be doing that are actually sending your connections running for the hills. Curious? Here are four reasons your connection count keeps going down.
1. You’re the Human Equivalent of Spam
Yes, you want to remain active on the platform and share important updates about your career and professional development. But, when you’re posting every article you’ve ever written, or you’re transforming your account into a daily log of all of your projects and job duties, or you’re keeping everyone updated on every move your company makes (no matter how minor), it can start to be a little overwhelming and obnoxious.
Avoid oversharing and limit yourself to posting only the really important accomplishments and announcements. Not only will you hang on to more people, but those posts will have a lot more impact.
2. You Treat it Like Facebook
I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face: LinkedIn is for updates about your professional life. So, it’s important that you maintain the integrity of your account by only posting about your career and professional development.
Save your vacation photos, celebrity crushes, and political rants for Facebook. They’re not appropriate for this platform, and they only serve to annoy your connections.
3. You Don’t Bring Anything to the Table
Like anything, you should exercise some professional courtesy and etiquette on LinkedIn. So, if you notice that you’re losing connections at an alarming rate, it could be because you simply don’t offer any value to those people.
Are you constantly requesting recommendations from others, but never returning the favor? Do you message connections you don’t know that well for favors? Do you nag people to send you qualified candidates for an opening?
LinkedIn is all about engagement, and if you want to keep your connections, you need to ensure that you’re a valuable contact for your network. So, stop being greedy and craft a recommendation for someone you admire. Post a few thoughtful comments in a group discussion. Share an interesting article about your industry. It’ll show that you’re an active, informed, and beneficial connection to know.
4. You Aren’t Selective With Your Requests
Of course, having a huge professional network is great. But, how valuable is that network if it’s filled with generic contacts that you’ve never even interacted with? Those people aren’t going to be able to introduce you to someone with confidence or speak highly of your skills and expertise. And, you’ll definitely be on the chopping block when they wind up cleaning through their connections.
While you definitely want to make an effort to grow your network on LinkedIn, you should be selective when sending out connection requests. Blanketing the world in general invitations might seem like a great idea, but it doesn’t set the tone for a solid and advantageous professional relationship. Instead, it seems like you’re just trying to meet a quota. If you do want to connect with someone you don’t already know, skip that standard default message and craft a personalized introduction to start the relationship off on the right foot.
Yes, LinkedIn is a great networking resource. But, as with anything, it requires some thought and consideration. Avoid these obnoxious LinkedIn habits in order to successfully grow your network—rather than shrink it.
Photo of target graph courtesy of Shutterstock.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author