Not all social media platforms are created equal, and each one has carved out a unique niche for itself. LinkedIn is a social network that’s recognized as the online hub for professional business networking. It’s not simply a place to post your resume and look for jobs; it’s an extremely useful tool to build relationships with colleagues in any industry and demonstrate your experience and expertise. LinkedIn is also a place where businesses can showcase their products and employees to potential clients.
LinkedIn is also a social network you may feel a little unsure about how to use. There are different social guidelines when it comes to using LinkedIn versus other sites like Facebook or Twitter. The last thing you want to do is look like you don’t know what you’re doing. To help you avoid embarrassing mistakes when it comes to your professionalism, I’ve compiled a list of 6 things you’ll want to steer clear of:
Mistake #1: Having an incomplete profile
No one likes to see an incomplete profile when they look someone up on LinkedIn. Make a good impression by presenting a well-rounded and complete profile. LinkedIn gives you a convenient percentage graph that shows you how complete your profile is. Complete your profile to its fullest by including these elements:
- Professional Summary
- Contact Information
- Current Position
- Past Positions
- Education Information
- Professional Endorsements
By completing your LinkedIn profile, you’ll show people that are researching you that you’re committed and pay attention to details. You wouldn't want to send the wrong message with an unfinished profile.
Mistake #2: Grammar and spelling mistakes
This goes without saying: grammar and spelling mistakes give a very negative first impression and make you look sloppy and unprofessional. Especially if you’re in the marketing field, how can a potential client expect you to market them if you can’t even market yourself. Be sure that you proofread everything you post on your LinkedIn profile before you post it. This way you will not risk having your potential clients doubting your professional skills.
Mistake #3: You’re not paying attention to who is viewing your profile
Your LinkedIn profile page shows you the last five or so people who have visited your profile over the last week. Granted, most people who view your LinkedIn profile are folks who will never get in contact with you or even offer to make a connection. However, many people are also strategic in their searches on LinkedIn and are looking for people to hire, collaborate with, or ask to present at a conference.
If someone who has viewed your LinkedIn profile intrigues you, don’t be afraid to reach out and let that person know you noticed they’ve been reading your page and ask if there’s anything you can help them with. They may not respond, or the effort may lead to a lucrative business opportunity. You won’t know unless you ask.
Mistake #4: Lying about your professional history
Your LinkedIn profile is like a digital resume the whole world can see. Always include accurate details about your professional history or career information. If a hiring manager or recruiter discovers inflated credentials or other discrepancies, you’ll be turned down and label poorly.
Mistake #5: Being annoying
Undoubtedly, it is very tempting to expand your professional network on LinkedIn as much as you can, but sending connection requests to everyone is not a very effective way to do it. After all, if too many LinkedIn members click “I don’t know this person” when you send them a connection request, LinkedIn can take action and may delete your account. Unsolicited connection requests are spamming, and nobody likes spam. Show that you give value to your potential connections by carefully selecting them and sending them a personalized message once the request is sent.
Another form of annoyance is over posting. You don’t want to annoy or spam your connections by bombarding them with over frequent posting that may bore or alienate them. Treat your LinkedIn profile just as you would your Facebook business page. One to 3 posts a day and make the content relevant to your particular audience or the audience you want to attract.
Mistake #6: Not asking for any recommendations or endorsements
LinkedIn allows you to reach out to your connections and ask for recommendations and endorsements from former and current colleagues, professors, and employers. This is a great way to validate the skills and experience you've listed on your profile. A glowing recommendation can be impressive. Don't be shy. Ask for a recommendation and offer one in return if you can.
Now that you know how to avoid the most common LinkedIn mistakes, you can add it to the list of social sites that you’re able to use to promote your business and yourself. To learn more about how social media can help your business, download the free ebook below. It’s a fantastic guide that will help you master social media platforms just like LinkedIn.