We've all heard the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words," but in the world of LinkedIn, a single post can have the power to make or break your professional reputation.
Remember the story of "the Crying CEO," who posted a selfie of himself crying on LinkedIn after making layoffs at his company? While he may have intended to show empathy, the post went viral, ultimately leading to ridicule and damage to his professional image.
To avoid similar pitfalls and maintain a positive online presence, it's crucial to be mindful of what you shouldn't post on LinkedIn. In this listicle, we'll cover eight topics to avoid when sharing content on this platform.
Avoid controversial topics such as politics or religion, as they can be divisive and damage your professional reputation.
People often have strong emotions associated with these subjects, leading to a polarizing environment and negative reactions from those with opposing views. For example, posting a politically charged article about a recent election may result in a heated debate that alienates potential clients or partners (even if they agree with your opinion).
Just imagine how you would feel if you saw your potential partner sharing a politically charged article with a caption like:
"This is why I'll never vote for [Candidate's Name]!"
And even if you agree with her beliefs, would you consider that is relevant to your business network?
On top of all of this, in 2022, LinkedIn was testing out a “no-politics” feature, which filtered out content about political squabbles, future presidential leaders, and more.
That was LinkedIn's response to the members' feedback about how increased political posts were deterring the visitor's experience.
While LinkedIn has seen an uptick in personal stories meant to inspire and showcase one's personality, it's important to draw a line between sharing relatable experiences and oversharing personal updates unrelated to your professional life.
For example, posting about your child's birthday party or your recent vacation might not be appropriate to share with your LinkedIn connections. Instead, reserve these updates for a more personal social network like Facebook or Instagram.
Examples of personal updates to avoid:
- Posting pictures from the club or vacation.
- Sharing stories that are unrelated to your career.
- Sharing updates about your daily routine, such as going to the gym or attending a friend's party...
But does it mean you should never post something from your private life on LinkedIn?
Of course Not!
Personal stories help your network to learn who you are, what matters to you, and what struggles and wins you had in life.
If you are inspired by a story from your life, or you learned something from your kid today, you can share it. Just make it relevant.
Posting negative posts, comments, or complaints about your job, colleagues, or clients can be highly damaging to your professional reputation.
For example, publicly criticizing your ex-boss for their management style or complaining about a difficult client can make it difficult to find new opportunities or build trust with potential partners.
What data says about negative and toxic content on social media platforms?
69% of social media users are ignoring toxic content.
45% of social media users surveyed said they'd unfriend/unfollow the particular poster.
17% said they'd report them.
So what to do when you want to share a negative story? Wrap it more in the post about mistakes, myths (that you overcame), or lessons learned. LinkedIn members will appreciate that much more.
Offensive, vulgar, or inappropriate content, including jokes, memes, or content that may be considered offensive or insensitive is definitely something you should avoid posting on LinkedIn.
For example, sharing a meme with crude language or an inappropriate image (like an image from the beach) may damage your credibility. Such content can make it difficult for others to take you seriously and therefore falls under the "things you should never post on LinkedIn" category.
So when you are thinking about posting something that is not the edge, think about the message you are sending. And perception from someone who sees your profile for the first time in the feed.
Is that something you want to be known for?
This doesn't mean you shouldn't post a meme or gif as a post. But you must think about the message you are sending.
Sharing content that is not relevant to your audience or industry can come across as spammy or unprofessional. For instance, posting a recipe for your favorite cake or a review of a popular TV show doesn't belong on LinkedIn.
Instead, focus on your industry and specific areas of expertise.
The best way to do it - define 3 to 5 pillars (topics) you want to discuss and consistently stick to these subjects, ensuring your posts contribute value to your professional network and reinforce your personal brand.
While LinkedIn is primarily a B2B space, some consumer product promotion can work for luxury products like cars.
However, promotional material for items such as makeup, clothing, toys, or furniture is generally out of place.
For example, sharing a discount code for a clothing brand may not resonate with your audience and can appear out of touch. Focus on sharing content that speaks to your industry and target audience.
While the occasional sales pitch is acceptable, constant self-promotion without providing value to your audience can be off-putting.
For example, if every post is about your new e-book or coaching services without offering actionable advice or insights, you risk alienating your audience. Instead, focus on providing valuable content and limit self-promotion.
Maintaining a professional tone on LinkedIn is important and avoiding sharing information that may make others feel uncomfortable or unprofessional. It's crucial to uphold a level of professionalism in every post and interaction, especially if you are looking for a job. Employers and recruiters often scrutinize profiles to gauge whether candidates would fit their corporate culture and professional environment well.
For example, posting about your recent break-up or detailing your health struggles can be seen as oversharing. Keep your content focused on your professional experiences and industry insights. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional social network and your content shared on this platform should reflect that quality.
While it's essential to showcase your skills and expertise on LinkedIn, relying too heavily on overused buzzwords and clichés can make your content appear generic and uninteresting. For example, describing yourself as a "guru," "ninja," or "rockstar" can be off-putting to potential employers or clients who are seeking genuine, authentic professionals.
The prevalence of using buzzwords is evident on the LinkedIn feed. Here is the post where a team lead from the US is "NOT looking for ninjas, gurus, or wizards":
LinkedIn is a great place for professionals to share insights, knowledge, and updates about their careers and industries. However, one of the common LinkedIn mistakes is the use of misleading headlines and clickbait. While catchy titles attract attention, misleading ones erode trust and credibility.
Imagine scrolling through your feed and coming across a LinkedIn post with the headline, "You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!" only to find mundane or unrelated content. It’s best to avoid such tactics. Instead, opt for clear, concise, and honest headlines that accurately represent the content. This approach not only respects the intelligence of your audience but also builds trust.
Even though this seems obvious, it should be emphasized. Sharing confidential or proprietary information on LinkedIn can have severe consequences for both you and your company.
For example, posting about a new product launch before it's public knowledge, sharing sensitive financial data, or posting something from internal chats can all lead to legal repercussions.
Always adhere to company guidelines and ensure that the information you share on LinkedIn is appropriate and cleared for public disclosure.
Navigating LinkedIn with professionalism is essential for building your personal brand and fostering business connections.
By steering clear of the ten topics mentioned above, your content will remain valuable and engaging. And if you also implement these what not to do on LinkedIn practices, your brand and reputation will be safe.
To further enhance your LinkedIn content creation process, turn to AuthoredUp—an all-in-one tool designed specifically for this platform.
AuthoredUp empowers you to craft compelling posts that resonate with your audience, all while avoiding common pitfalls. Elevate your LinkedIn experience and accelerate your career or business growth with the support of AuthoredUp.
LinkedIn has strict rules about content that is prohibited on their platform.
You don't need us to tell you you shouldn't post adult or abusive content, but we want to point out on misinformation category.
Misinformation refers to false or misleading information presented as fact, which includes "false news," deceptive or manipulated media, and denials of well-documented historical events. By sharing such content, you risk not only misleading your connections but also undermining the trust and integrity that your professional network expects from you.
Moreover, spreading misinformation can lead to penalties from LinkedIn itself, as the platform aims to maintain a reliable and trustworthy environment for its users.
How to avoid spreading misinformation? By fact-checking and verifying the sources of the information, you share. It is that simple.
You shouldn't focus your entire content strategy on posting personal pictures on LinkedIn. But you can use relevant personal pictures to share some experiences and tell the story.
In short, you shouldn't post personal pictures for the sake of it. Also, do not post any inappropriate pictures (like pictures from a vacation or night out) or pictures that are not relevant to the text.
However, you can post professional pictures, the ones from the conferences or meetings, or the pictures that will help you express your message.
LinkedIn has strict rules of what is prohibited from the platform. So you cannot post anything you want on LinkedIn.
However, even if some content is not prohibited, there are informal rules about what you shouldn't post on this business networking platform.