LinkedIn is, without doubt a fantastic business development, networking, educational and profile raising platform. Last time I checked, over 17m UK business professionals have a profile on the site. That’s a Hell of a lot of people for you to reach out to, engage with and maybe do business with.
Personally, the vast majority of our referrals come through LinkedIn, as we work with businesses and individuals up and down the country. We head here first thing for business news, to check up on contacts’ news and to see how we can help fellow group members.
Our Lu offers LinkedIn training, and as such knows a thing or two about using LinkedIn. Like it or not, she gets to see the good and the bad of LinkedIn activities, and she’s decided she can’t keep her mouth shut any longer.
Caveat: Though we do offer LinkedIn training via Time Saving Heroes we are NOT trying to sell anything here. Our sole purpose for writing and sharing this blog is to help people get the most from this potentially amazing platform, and ideally not look like they’ve just come from Facebook. In the long run, it will hopefully make everyone else’s days just that little but happier when they are on LinkedIn!
#1 – A profile picture that won’t get you hired
When it comes to online interaction, what’s the most important and memorable brand asset you have at your disposal? That’s right, your face!
If the image you’re using is a grainy selfie, holiday pic, a photo from a drunken night out or something from a family photo shoot you’re really not going to be making the best of impressions.
The same applies for avatars and pictures with someone else other than you in them. And let’s not get started on pets!
Get a profile picture of just your face, and nothing but the face. OK, shoulders are allowed.
#2 – A professional headline that is anything but
Chief fixer? Director of customer love? Marketing extraordinaire? Social media guru? You are probably none of these things. Think about how it looks and how people search on LinkedIn.
When writing your headline, make sure you use a description that is both accurate and related to either the benefit you provide or your title within your company. Either way, this is guaranteed to return your profile in some searches.
Head of Beverage Operations, will not!
#3 – Shameless friend collecting
This is without doubt one of the biggest crimes on LinkedIn. You use one-click connect which sends generic messages rather than connecting through a person’s profile and personalising the message specifically for them.
Trust us, it’s a bad first impression. It says you can’t be bothered to take the time to genuinely reach out and connect. It’s even worse if you’ve not been on their profile at all (and seriously, they’ll notice). Give people a reason to connect with you and start off on the right foot.
#4 – Not even really wanting to be friends
Once you’ve collected all these random connections, what do you actually do with them? Do you actively keep in touch? What do you do when you get a message from a contact about business? Do you tut, sigh and ignore them? Fly into a rant about people contacting you on LinkedIn to talk business opportunities?
How very dare they, indeed!
The whole point of networking is to make connections, NOT collect names. So change things around and start building relationships by having actual conversations with the people you asked to connect with.
#5 – Going all “selly sell” from the outset
If you send a message to someone the second they connect with you trying to sell something, then you’re spamming. You might think it’s a warmer way to do it than cold calling, but it is absolutely no different.
It is far better to create rapport by asking questions, sharing content, joining the same group and showing your expertise. Once you’ve made contact via those methods, get in touch and start a discussion – it’s not all about you. In fact, in sales, it’s not about you at all!