Everyone knows the value of a great first impression but many seem to forget these common sense rules online. When you are trying to generate business online, there is nothing worse than leaving a bad impression with new visitors and not even realizing it.
Sadly, this even happens frequently on more professional social networks like LinkedIn. Business owners, employees and job seekers are not exempt from common LinkedIn profile errors so pay attention to these 9 mistakes … you could be making one (or all) of them!
Top 9 LinkedIn Mistakes (That Are Making You Look Bad)
1. Liar Liar Pants On Fire. You should never, EVER lie on your LinkedIn profile no matter how clever you think you are. Somebody, somewhere will eventually bust you for it and that is an instant credibility drainer. When it comes to your online reputation, always assume that people will find out the truth or you are putting yourself and your business at a risk you might not recover from. Sound scary? That’s because it is!
2. Your Profile Is Written Like A Resume. This is okay if you are a job seeker but completely ineffective for business owners. Entrepreneurs have never needed a resume in the past and LinkedIn will not change this. Always write your profile in first person and speak directly to your ideal client. Talk about the type of people you help and what you do for them so your prospects can self select as a potential client.
3. Unprofessional Profile Picture. Please don’t crop yourself out of a picture you look great in from some party that was taken on your iPhone 3G using Instagram. This might be ‘hip’ with the ‘hipsters’ but it stinks in the business world. Unless you aspire to attract nothing but garbage online, then I highly suggest you invest in a professional headshot. Excuses are lame so get yourself to the nearest Walmart with $40 if you can’t find a real photographer.
4. Boring Headlines. Just like with articles and blogs, your headline is arguably the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. If your prospects are not captivated by your headline, they aren’t going to check out your profile. On the other hand if your headline grabs their attention you can be sure that they will want to open your profile and keep reading.
The ideal LinkedIn headline should consist of an attention grabbing statement that includes or is followed by one of the keywords you want to be found for. For example: “The Media Calls Me Canada’s #1 LinkedIn Expert ♦ Social Media Marketing For Businesses ♦ Social Media Speaker” or “Kelowna accountant & business advisor helping businesses, start-ups & real estate investors experience growth & profits!”
For more help on crafting the perfect headline, check out this great LinkedIn tutorial.
5. Blank Summary. Your summary should tell me why I want to connect with you. If it is blank, I get the impression you can’t think of any reason I should connect with you or that you just haven’t taken the time to tell anyone. Either way, I’m a step further from becoming a potential client or customer.
6. Blank Current Position. Your current position is a place where you can share the products and services that you offer that potential clients would be interested in. By leaving this blank people viewing your profile will have no idea of the things that you may be able to help them with. How many opportunities are you missing out because prospects do not have any idea that you have the solution to their problem.
7. No Recommendations. If you have been in business longer than a couple months than it is fairly simple to get at least a few LinkedIn profile recommendations. The easiest way to get them is to write recommendations for other people; they are far more likely to reciprocate. Only ask people you know for recommendations.
8. You Don’t Personalize. Whether you are sending a connection request or just a regular message on LinkedIn, you must personalize everything. Generic and thoughtless messages get you nowhere and people will not be so willing to connect or respond. People take an interest in you when you take an interest in them.
9. You Send Mass Messages. I honestly don’t think you should ever send a message on LinkedIn to more than one person at a time. It lacks any personal touch and immediately comes off as spam…because it is. I will admit that there are some mass messages that can be successful but they have to include tremendous value and lack a sales pitch vibe.
Everybody makes mistakes but some errors can hit you hard in the areas of lost credibility and lost business opportunities without you even knowing it. LinkedIn is a professional network and can be substantially less forgiving than Facebook or Twitter so you need to get familiar with the etiquette and act accordingly. That is, if you ever intend on getting business from LinkedIn.
What do you see people do on LinkedIn that makes them look bad? Leave your answer in the comments below.