The reign of social media brought with it…
LinkedIn is an online business networking platform with over 175 million users. It has a more formal tone compared to other social media channels and is used to showcase your professional skills. But in order to maximize the benefits that LinkedIn has to offer, there are several common mistakes it’s best to avoid.
1. Not Using A Professional Photo
Your profile picture communicates a strong message about you, so it’s always best to use a professional shot that shows your head and shoulders. If you haven’t had a professional photograph done, use one in which you’re well-dressed and well-groomed.
Having no photo at all implies you have something to hide, and in the visual world of social and professional networking, this will decrease your chances of successfully promoting yourself to the world.
2. Having An Incomplete Profile
Not making an effort to optimize your profile by completing all sections shows you’re not serious about using LinkedIn. Remember, everything you do communicates a message about you and your personal brand, so it’s crucial to keep all your information up to date.
Once you sign up to the platform a LinkedIn wizard will guide you through each step in completing your profile, including your summary, experience, headline, and skills and expertise. Crucially, the more information you provide, the easier it will be for other professionals to find you, so it’s a good idea to include keywords in these sections too.
3. Don’t Exaggerate
Exaggerating your skills to pad out your resumé is extremely risky. All your connections can view the information on your profile, so if you lie or exaggerate, it is very likely that people will eventually find out.
To avoid embarrassment and potentially career-ending situations, only include your real qualifications, skills, and experience.
4. Not Adding External Links
Your LinkedIn profile should really showcase who you are and what you do, so it’s ok to be a little self-serving. Adding external links will make it easy for people to access more information and learn more about you, and provides opportunities for self-promotion.
If you run a blog, add the link. If you have several Twitter or Facebook pages, add them too. Use the space to add any links which show your work and what you’re capable of. External links also make it easier for other professionals to discover your brand, but many users tend to leave this section blank.
5. Spamming Groups
Most groups are well-managed and tightly monitored. Joining a group and sending out links to your own website will quickly get you labeled as a spammer or someone who shouldn’t be taken seriously, and will rarely result in finding meaningful connections.
LinkedIn groups are where like-minded people get together to exchange ideas, and information, have discussions and ask questions. It’s fine to post links to useful information, just not blatantly posting links for self-promotion.
6. Sending Invitations With Default Text
When you reach out to connect with someone, take a few moments to edit LinkedIn’s standard invitation message. It’s always better to give potential contacts a good reason to connect with you, especially if it’s someone you don’t know, and sending personalized messages is a great way to do this.
There are instances when LinkedIn won’t allow you to edit the default text before sending out an invitation, such as accessing certain pages from a mobile device. So if you notice this, put off sending it until you can customize the invitation from another page.
7. Not Being Active
As with all social media channels, being active is the best way to get value out of a platform. If you’re not actively engaging with others, keeping your information up to date, or only using LinkedIn to promote your brand’s news and events, people often become disinterested and remove you from their connections.