When it comes to your online presence and your LinkedIn profile in particular, for years, I’ve been telling professionals: Brand or be branded”
In my opinion when you fail to create a compelling LinkedIn profile, you are basically telling the professional world one or more of the following:
- You aren’t tech-savvy enough to know how to use social media
- You don’t have any truly notable accomplishments
- You have something to hide.
Every year I speak with thousands of business owners on the topic of LinkedIn and Iím constantly surprised by the number of people who believe that having their name and job title up to date is enough to merit a presence in social media.
LinkedIn mistakes people make on their profile
Here is a great little excerpt from an infographic from the Undercoverrecruiter.com. about the LinkedIn mistakes that some people make all the time.
Whilst I’ve seen every mistake possible, below are the 5 most common stuff ups that people on LinkedIn do across the board regardless of age, location or industry.
Any one of these LinkedIn mistakes in your profile could turn into a major professional liability. So here ís how to identify them and get them fixed:
1. No plan
Building a solid foundation is the backbone to being successful and all of that starts by having a plan. You†wouldn’t†build a house without first†laying the foundation or framework, right? Well developing an effective LinkedIn campaign is no different. If you donít have a plan any road will get you there right?
Before designing your profile or building your network, get crystal clear on what your looking to achieve on LinkedIn and how that fits in with helping you achieve your marketing objectives over the next 3, 6 or 12 months. In turn this will help you identify who you need to connect with in order to meet those objectives.
2. Add value
Nobody, and I really mean nobody likes to feel like they are being sold to. Hammering your new connections inbox with messages about your product and services straight away is not going to win you any friends or customers for that matter.
The clue is in the title … Social media is meant to be exactly that – social. Ok so LinkedIn is very much a professional and business based forum but the underlying principle remains.
Before you start email marketing to your contacts, think of a few ways you could add value to them. This will help develop the trust and rapport necessary for them to be interested in what you have to say. Remember, to be interesting, you have to be interested.
3. Profile Photo
You would never go to an in-person networking party naked, dressed in your dirty old sweat pants, or without any shoes. Why? You want to make a good first impression.
Yet, failing to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile has the same effect online as coming to the party dressed wrong. Studies show that people are seven times more likely to click on your LinkedIn profile if there’s a picture than if you don’t have one.
Your photo should be up-to-date, clear, professional, and an expression of you, preferably the smiling you. If you are a casual guy, no one expects or wants to see you in a suit.
In a virtual world we may do business with someone we have never met. The connection provided by a photo, especially when you can see the eyes and a warm reception can go a long way.
4. Personalizing Your Communication
A lot of LinkedIn users complain about the impersonal invitations they receive. When you connect to someone for the first time on LinkedIn, don’t just use the generic message option, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Take a few moments to write something personalized. It will make the recipient more open to your request and the message feel less spammy.
Personalizing your messages is important because it shows that your request is personal — that you didn’t just send out a mass connection request blindly to all of your contacts.
For example: “Hi Steve, I came across your profile earlier and thought I’d reach out given there may be some possible synergies between both our current activities. Would be good to connect. Alex”
5. Not Using It!!
Seriously, the number of businesses who ignore the platform and donít leverage it to its full capacity shocks me.
We’re talking about a platform that allows you to connect with millions of new potential customers, find new partners to help grow your organization, connect with the media to build your personal and even hire new staff.
With over 330 million members across 200 countries/territories and two new members joining per second thereís no other platform like it. In my opinion, this is why LinkedIn is the most powerful marketing tool of the 21st century.
Author: Alex is an entrepreneur and founder of Linkfluencer, the world’s leading online community for LinkedIn training. He loves playing basketball, travelling and covering the latest stories on entrepreneurship. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook