Social Media

Does your LinkedIn brand look like a desperate Dan or Debbie?

- July 10, 2023 3 MIN READ


There is a thick line between clever creativity and seedy manipulation on LinkedIn. The former sets business and personal brands apart with trust and impact. The latter erodes trust by appearing desperate and unprofessional, explains leading LinkedIn specialist Sue Parker, founder of Dare Group.

LinkedIn’s commercial opportunities and networking value for small businesses are well-proven and huge. Equally large is the platform’s ongoing growth (now with 930 million global and 13 million Australian members), alongside the relentless stampede for visibility and influence.

On top of the rush is a myriad of opinions and advice on the most effective ways to get traction, build networks and attract clients. And humans, being human, will use either ethical or unethical means to reach goals.

Ignorant or arrogant?

To be fair, many actions and behaviours by members stem from pure ignorance and bad advice. Education here is key. The sheep mentality for ‘doing what others do’ lulls people into a false sense of security.

Arrogance comes with a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude, which is both disturbing and prevalent. Having awareness, yet a blatant disregard, says a lot about a person’s commercial and moral compass.

Expertise positioning, trust and values branding are key runners for success on LinkedIn. However, social media, in general, is the least trusted of all industry sectors, as found in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Report.

LinkedIn members have a unique responsibility to raise the bar for their businesses and for trust broadly. Ignorance is solved by education.

So, what are the main areas members look desperate? And what are the consequences, if any?


There are real risks and consequences of desperate-looking actions. Members risk being suspended from the platform. LinkedIn has detailed User Agreements (UA) and Policies that they can and do enforce. Whilst enforcement is not 100 per cent, it does happen regularly, and the risks are just not worth it.

This is part of the mindset of ‘well, so many do XYZ, so I can too’. WRONG. Even if you don’t get penalised, you look desperate.

Desperate LinkedIn behaviours to avoid

LinkedIn app on smartphone

Risky and desperate

There are many fields and areas to create a WOW factor, including banners, headlines and the featured section. The following not only looks desperate, but risks profile and membership suspension:

Name field:

The Name field is just for your name and suffixes /certifications, per the UA here. Adding marketing messages, taglines and other extraneous information is prohibited and looks manipulative and cheesy. It also negatively clutters the UX and newsfeed. Members can and do get warnings for this and get penalised/booted off with repeat offending. It doesn’t happen every time, but the risks are too great.

Gender pronouns:

LinkedIn introduced a gender pronoun field alongside the name field for the expressed purpose of listing preferred pronouns. Using any other messages is prohibited, and looks – and is – disrespectful and tacky.

Paid followers, engagement and pods:

Not only are these against the UA under Section 8, they tarnish your reputation. People can see clearly who has a raft of dodgy comments and followers and are involved in engagement pods for manipulation.

Tacky and desperate

Whilst the following won’t get you booted off the platform or risk your profile, they look desperate and tacky. And some will negatively reduce your posts distribution with an AI SPAM flag.


Tagging a heap of members in posts is desperation 101. It’s OK to tag a few relevant people if the topic of the post is related, but over-tagging looks manipulative, just for gaming attention.


Adding too many hashtags (like Instagram) looks disassociated from LinkedIn. It gives the appearance that you are unclear of your message.

Long signatures/CTAs:

Putting long CTAs, explanations of what you do and other URLs at the bottom of every post looks a little strange. Sure, add a line or two. But hold your value without the full sales push.


More than one post a day can start to look desperate and it compromises reach. Use your Company page for other posts.

Looking like a desperate Dan or Debbie won’t help your success. But being super creative, unique and daring in the right places, with good intent and ethics, will bolster your personal brand’s influence and reputation.

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Now read this:

Reputation and trust on LinkedIn matter- how to protect yours