LinkedIn now has more than 200 Million users worldwide! The professional networking site is a rich resource for recruiters and marketers who are just beginning to discover the potential of this site. Many people though misunderstood LinkedIn to be just another social media platform and are using it carelessly by making many costly mistakes. These LinkedIn mistakes have the potential to damage the perception of your brand/business and reduces the chances of others wanting to work with you in the future.
The good news is that these costly mistakes can be easily avoided and fixed. It is my intention to highlight these common mistakes so you can start using LinkedIn effectively.
These common LinkedIn mistakes that people make can by neatly grouped into 3 categories.
1 – Not Displaying Authenticity
No Profile Photo
When online, professionals want to know who they are dealing with. Not using a profile picture can make you appear anonymous, which gives the impression that you are hiding something. If you are serious about building business relationships, be comfortable showing who you are. In fact go ahead and show yourself as confident and approachable
Not Looking Like Your Profile Picture
Many people get studio photos done for their profile, which can give the sense that you are serious about the impression you want to make. However, make sure that you don’t go overboard with the photo shoot so as to still be recognizable as you in real life. Worse case scenario would be that you met with a potential business contact, only for them to not find you on LinkedIn as they didn’t recognize your profile picture when they searched for you. Just be real!
Posting Photos Of Cute Babies & Pets
This is a BIG no-no! Potential business partners want to connect with you, not your family or pet. They want to see someone who is professional and ready for business. LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure to save the baby photos for Instagram or Facebook instead. Afterall, you wouldn’t include them if you were sending out a CV or Resume would you?
Having Anonymous Endorsements
Having too many LinkedIn endorsements from people with no profile picture, can be worse than not having any endorsements at all! This seems to indicate that your contacts, or people who can testify of your services, are themselves not comfortable showing who they are (or maybe they have nothing to show and are not confident of themselves).
The best endorsements that you can get (and show) are from people with an active, well maintained LinkedIn profile. Business clients and potential employers are going to look at who is endorsing you, as they will give a better indication of you. Make sure that they are good ones.
2 – Not Making A Good First Impression
Lacking a complete write up on your profile summary, experience or work section can look bad. An empty profile creates a negative first impression to anyone that may be viewing you. First of all you give no reason for other professionals to want to connect with you. And secondly it shows the lack of care and attention you give to your own online professional image. Spend time drafting and refining your profile before you show it to the public and of course keep it up to date.
Complete Profile, But Very Vague
Long paragraphs of vague descriptions on your profile summary, jobs and experience does not allow others to see where your expertise is or what results you have accomplished. Where possible use quantifiable results with a timeline or show actual achievements by linking to a white paper, a certificate or some slide presentations. Any way that you can back up what you are claiming on your profile is good to include.
You’re Being Too Personal
Status Updates that are too personal are frowned upon on LinkedIn. By all means, post about trends, upcoming events, a book you just read or published, an interview where you were just featured, etc. but no one is interested in the TV show you watched the night before. If you have nothing useful or informative to post, you can share other people’s content.
3 – Not Showing Sincerity
Not Making An Effort When Connecting
Try not to use the default text provided by LinkedIn when inviting others to connect. Do a little homework on the person you want to reach out to and remind them where you have met or why you want to make the connection. Care enough to reach out personally. It will make a better first impression if you do!
Pitching All The Time
Talking about your offer and pitching the moment connections are made. All this does is show that you are not interested in building a relationship with someone, but are only here to pitch your sales. You may argue that that is the main reason why you are on LinkedIn, but be prepared to be removed from people’s contact lists if you are doing this. It’s just like cold calling, people don’t like it.
Similarly, some HR recruiters go around asking new LinkedIn contacts to apply for jobs (that they may not be interested in). This is just to boost their own application numbers, so when they go to their boss, they can say that they got X amount of people to apply. Often, these people won’t even include details of the job that they want you to apply too. LinkedIn is a place to network, not spam. Recruiters who do this are not only hurting themselves but the image of the brand they represent.
Not responding to queries and messages sent from your contacts can put you in a very bad light. You kill the potential for any real business relationship this way, as they will be less likely to get in touch with you again. It’s absolutely pointless getting onto LinkedIn if you have no intention to build meaningful relationships with people. Start as you mean to go on.
If you are doing any of the above, you need to stop before you destroy your image or any potential business opportunity. Take time and care to build high quality business relationships online, it is not a numbers game. Spamming is never welcomed, whether you are on LinkedIn or not, so just don’t do it.
It is my hope that these common mistakes be avoided so real connection can be made for future partnerships and collaborations.
Are you guilty of any of these LinkedIn mistakes? What other mistakes have you seen people making on LinkedIn? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!