5 Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile
Most people have a Facebook friend who is constantly spouting aggressive and ill-informed propaganda, sending Candy Crush requests every 6 hours, and sharing videos with “You won’t BELIEVE what happens next!!” in the description.
Most people know to avoid this friend digitally, at all costs. Who wants to be associated with that kind of activity? But what actions on LinkedIn are seen as faux pas? As a professional network, posts and conduct are typically a bit more mature, but users can be quite a bit more critical in their assessment of your worth (especially when considering doing business with you). Your profile can speak much louder than any posts are articles you share, so make sure that you’re presenting yourself to the community in the right way.
If you are planning to integrate LinkedIn into your guerilla marketing or paid advertising on social media, make sure that both your personal and company profiles are squared away first. Here are a few basics to make sure that when you do draw people into conversations, that they know right away that you mean business:
How many times do I have to say “Get a professional headshot?”
I may sound like I’m echoing everyone else who is offering advice on optimized LinkedIn profiles, but this needs to be done! This means, no ‘selfies’ (have someone else take the photo, please), no webcam pictures, no cropped photos, and most importantly of all: high resolution only! Not everyone needs to wear a tux for their profile picture, especially if they work in an industry or at a company that is less “straight-laced” than others, but if you’re going to be casual don’t make it blurry.
I don’t need your life story, but I need details
Obviously, you should be listing your previous experience in your LinkedIn profile. This section is basically a copy of your resume, and when your profile is viewed, your expertise will be weighed and measured based on the information you have here. Make sure that you list all of your accomplishments, duties, and areas of expertise, as they pertain (or have pertained) to each position that you’ve held. A casual reader should know exactly what it is that you do, based on this information.
Speaking of details, how can I contact you?
LinkedIn offers a relatively simple way to contact professionals, by messaging them within their platform. But how often do you check your email that’s attached to your LinkedIn profile? Do you have a blog, a twitter account, or a Facebook page? If someone wants to learn more about you, or your company, they shouldn’t have to hire an investigator to find out what you do. Make sure that you put all of your pertinent info in your contact details.
Popularity isn’t everything, but…
If you only have 37 connections, you’re just not trying hard enough. What about old colleagues, classmates, casual acquaintances, or even family members? A solid network doesn’t have to be in the 1000’s, but you should make an effort to uncover potential networking opportunities on a regular basis.
What about the company page?
Even if you have your profile set up to convey a strong and trustworthy presence, if you don’t have a company page that emits the same message you’ll be likely to run into some issues in client acquisition. Make sure that your company profile is just as informative as your main website, with appropriate links, information, and images. (And make sure that all of your employees are connected, each with a profile following the guidelines above). This is a team effort, and as we all know (thanks to Thomas Reid and Anne Robinson) we are only as strong as our weakest link.
Now that you’ve cleaned up your profile, you can start interacting with the community as part of your social marketing strategy.
Just like any other social media network, the important thing is to interact with your community in a genuine and natural way. You can promote your services, but don’t spam people with generic sales pitches. Demonstrate your value, and remember that you can use your personality as a way to connect with people. Be professional first and foremost, and know when to loosen your tie and really connect with the people in your network. (“People” being the key word in that sentence, you can see that I didn’t refer to anyone as a “lead” or a “prospect”. At the end of the day, you’re trying to connect with a person, not a pile or money hiding behind a computer screen.) Christopher Raeside
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