“Your network is the people who want to help you,
and you want to help them, and that’s
~ Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn
(Julie Hood) – If Facebook is like an “online party” for its members, LinkedIn is like the biggest and best “networking event” for you and your business.Every business owner (and employee) should use LinkedIn to build their business and grow their personal reputation. With 330 million plus members, the site offers several ways to build connections with your target audience.
Every business owner (and employee) should use LinkedIn to build their business and grow their personal reputation. With 330 million plus members, the site offers several ways to build connections with your target audience.
But making the following 10 mistakes will ruin your efforts and spoil your interactions. Use the action steps below to take your LinkedIn profile and activities from “good enough” to “off the charts amazing” so you can land that next big client – or your perfect job.
Mistake #1 – Using LinkedIn as a glorified resume (and nothing else)
While much of your resume can be included in your LinkedIn profile, your profile is much more than a resume.
Include the following in your profile:
Include the following in your profile:
- Don’t skip the Summary section. This key section of your LinkedIn profile gives you an easy way to share your online elevator speech with everyone who visits your profile.
- Use first person to add energy to your content. Express your personality – with a business emphasis.
- Add at least 7-10 of your most marketable skills.
- End your profile with a sentence about the best way to contact you.
- Include details and specifics about projects you are working on and the results you have achieved.
- Update your privacy settings based on the stage you are in. Businesses should keep their settings public to help attract prospects. Employees actively (or secretly!) looking for a new position may want to be careful about sharing too much about their job hunting to their current employer on LinkedIn.
- Avoid using the most common words found on LinkedIn.
Mistake #2 – Not using a professional photograph
Your LinkedIn photo is essential to your online presence – it’s how people notice and identify you. Make sure you use a professional photograph. When connections are considering whether to accept your invite, their first impression will be the photo you have on your profile.
Your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed when you include a photo.
Mistake #3 – Restricting access to your profile
Your profile should be set to share with the public. Why? So that you show up in searches.
Your LinkedIn profile can even show up in Google search results – but you need the details set to public.
Mistake #4 – Ignoring the built-in customer relationship manager
LinkedIn provides features which can help you track and monitor your interactions with prospects, clients and customers.
The customer relationship manager lets you set reminders for the next time you should contact. You can also track how you first met the person (which can be very impressive when you share the details the next time you meet someone).
Mistake #5 – Failure to research prospects on LinkedIn
The search functionality in LinkedIn is incredibly powerful. For example, with just a few clicks, you can find the names and details about all the Chief Financial Officers within a 20-mile radius of your office.
In fact, I used LinkedIn to research a company that resulted in a $65K proposal.
Mistake #6 – Not regularly adding connections
LinkedIn is a quality AND a quantity game – you want to build your list of connections regularly.
Set an appointment with yourself each week to spend five to ten minutes finding new connections. Connect with ten new prospects each week and you will have over 500 connections in just a year.
Mistake #7 – Trying to use LinkedIn like Facebook
LinkedIn has over 330 million users – and they are strictly interested in the business networking side of the site. You shouldn’t find (or share!) any cat videos or dancing Santas on LinkedIn.
If Facebook is like having a party with friends, LinkedIn is like attending a networking meeting with colleagues and prospects.
You want to be interesting without being too personal – or too cute. One acquaintance tried to connect with me and she had used a Facebook photo of her dancing across the stage as her LinkedIn photo. It immediately made me question how seriously she took her business.
Mistake #8 – Not reviewing your profile regularly
At least once a quarter you should review your profile and update it with new projects, new skills and any new results you have obtained.
Mistake #9 – Forgetting to share resources and your favorite finds with your connections
You can use the sharing function on your profile to give out links to your favorite content, including useful links for your industry.
By showing and sharing your knowledge, you increase your credibility and build trust with your connections.
The LinkedIn publishing feature also lets you share and publish your own essays or blog posts. Your contacts are notified when you publish content.
Mistake #10 – Avoiding LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups are an easy way to not only research what your prospects are asking about, but also learn more about your industry area.
If you are trying to research your target audience, LinkedIn groups provide demographics AND a list of questions written by their members.
Groups exist for every interest area, and you should be regularly commenting on the discussions relevant to your business. For example, one thread I commented on two years ago still gets follow-up comments, reads and shares.
Your LinkedIn profile and account can provide a treasure trove of information and inexpensive exposure for your business. With a few key tweaks to your profile and a weekly “LinkedIn appointment,” you can build your audience and your level of credibility with them.
Julie Hood is an online marketing consultant and trainer who helps businesses use their online presence to find more clients and make more money. She has been addicted to computers since she used her first one in seventh grade. Her Success with LinkedIn training course has been across the country to improve profiles and build more business for her clients.