We all know how great LinkedIn is for networking and for finding new leads for your freelancing business or a business you own. However, it is important that we are also aware of some key areas that we should never venture into if we want to make sure we are seen as being professional and also worthy of networking with.

Today we are going to look at a few LinkedIn no-go areas. These are just a few things that you shouldn’t be doing at any point in your LinkedIn journey. As a freelancer or small business owner, it is absolutely vital that you present as professional and courteous at all times. The following areas are simply those in which you should not go.

The one thing we should never do as freelancers on LinkedIn is spam people. Spam takes many forms on LinkedIn, but the three main areas in which you should be very very careful include:

Direct marketing messages are clear mistakes. Here we mean straight up marketing messages. Don’t put across anything on LinkedIn that links to your product or service in a direct way. This means you don’t talk about how amazing your service is, and you don’t talk about how groundbreaking your product is. People are not on LinkedIn to buy, they are on LinkedIn to make connections and to build strong relationships that last a long time.

The next time you feel tempted to produce a marketing message that sings the praises of your service as a freelancer for example, just remember two things. Firstly, no one really cares and it won’t get seen by many people. Secondly, you may well find out if you do enough of this kind of marketing, people will simply sever their ties with you.

One key area in which there is capacity for greatly annoying connections is newsletters. There are now probably about 2 million ways in which you can sure that anyone who becomes your connection on LinkedIn automatically becomes a subscriber to your newsletter. This has to be avoided at all costs. No one wants an extra newsletter in their inbox unless they have asked for it. If you have a system set up that ensures that all the connections automatically subscribe to your newsletter, you have to stop that immediately.

It may initially seem like good marketing to have people sign up for a newsletter automatically, but take a step back for a moment and consider how are you might feel if you made a connection with somebody and then receive the newsletter minutes later via email. It’s a kind of marketing behaviour that was popular a few years ago, but right now people don’t care. It will only serve to annoy your new connection.

The final no-go area is sending any connection requests to people you don’t know. As it happens, I have found connections by sending requests to people I don’t know on occasion. But this is a very rare event.

People generally will not agree to a connection request from people they have no awareness of. It’s a very social platform and it is built on strong relationships, so if people don’t know who you are they are very unlikely to agree to such a connection request. Worse still, they can relay feedback to LinkedIn that says that you are sending a connection request to people you do not know. This could very well result, in the medium to long-term, in a ban or some form of warning. I can’t tell you what that warning will be because I have not been involved in such a situation. What I do know though, is that it will not be very pleasant.

Take the above into account and remember that they are areas that you should not get involved in on LinkedIn. If you’re serious about using LinkedIn to help you build your business, do not spam people and do not annoy them. Remember that LinkedIn is very professional, and LinkedIn allows people to report that behaviour.