Google considers LinkedIn one of the top referral sites for information on professional people. If someone googles your name, more than likely your LinkedIn profile will come up in the first few of the Google search engine results. That’s where you want to be. However, if your profile doesn’t put forth your best image or is missing major keywords, forget it! It never ceases to amaze me how many LinkedIn mistakes I see people making!
You have only 7 seconds to catch someone’s attention and make a good impression!
What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Here are a few LinkedIn Reputation Killers (LinkedIn Mistakes) that you need to address ASAP!
- No picture. There is no reason why you should not have a picture of yourself — not a caricature or a cartoon character. You are networking. People remember faces before they remember names or even occupations. I’ve walked into live networking events where I don’t know a soul and someone will walk up to me and say, “I’ve seen you on LinkedIn!” I reply, “That means what I do works!” They saw my picture next to posts in one of the local area groups. (More on this later) Not having a picture on your LinkedIn profile is like walking into a networking event with a paper bag over your head.
- Incomplete name and location. You must put your full name and your location. That way people can find you easier. Even if you have a “global” business, put your actual location. Also, it must be your name not your company’s name. People connect with people. People follow companies. Companies have company profiles which are separate from personal profiles. Your personal profile “owns” your company one. (This is also true for Facebook and Google+).
- Incomplete heading. Your heading tells someone what you do in a glance. You must put your title and your company. Don’t just put “owner” or “entrepreneur”. Put your company’s name.
- Less than 50 connections. 50 is the magic number on LinkedIn along with a complete profile to be an “all-star”. Connect first with your friends, co-workers, former colleagues, former classmates, then connect with people you’ve met at networking events. After the event, sit with the cards you collected and invite everyone connect with you on LinkedIn. Remind them where you met: “John, it was nice meeting you at the networking event last night…”
- No vanity URL. If your LinkedIn address has a bunch of numbers at the end of it, you need to create your vanity URL. This makes it easier for you to put your LinkedIn profile address on your business card. If you have a common name, you’ll need to add your middle name or initial. LinkedIn will let you know if your name is available.
- No summary. Here is where you promote your business – not your resume or your life story! You have a business, you’re not looking for work. Here’s where you add relevant keywords describing what you do and what you offer. Use bullet points not long, wordy paragraphs. Don’t use “flowery language” either. Get to the point. You’ve got plenty of space here. Use it.
- Only one job experience. For a profile to be complete, LinkedIn requires at least 2 jobs. Add even a college job in there. Make sure that your current position is where you are working now. Even if you do more than one thing. Moreover, make sure people know exactly what it is that you do!
- No recommendations. Recommendations are important as they carry more weight than “endorsements”. Anyone can click on the “endorse” button — even if they know you or not. Recommendations have be to personally written by someone who knows you or your work and they need to be connect to you on LinkedIn.
- No skills. These are your keywords. You can put up to 50 skills. Use them.
- No company profile. As mentioned in #2, companies have company profiles. You must have an email address at the company URL to set up a company page.
- Not participating in groups. There’s a group for every interest and industry out there. Search for those where your target market hangs out, post and participate in discussions regularly.
- Not having a link to your website – The link must go to your current website and the website should work properly and showcase what you do. The link helps with search engine optimization (SEO). It helps promote your business.
- No business email address – Unless you’re looking for work, the email address should be your work email with your website URL. If you are job searching, make sure your email is not a funny or cute name. Keep it professional.
- No phone number – If you are in business for yourself, you need to make it easy for people to contact you! There are still many folks out there who prefer to call rather than email. It’s easier to call you from a mobile phone. More and more people access LinkedIn via the mobile app. If your phone number is there, all they have to do is touch it to call you.
- No link to Twitter – You’re missing a huge marketing tool if you’re not on Twitter and if you don’t have your Twitter account linked to your LinkedIn Profile.
- No link to your blog – Again you’re missing the biggest online marketing tool if you’re not using a blog to show off your expertise.
- Having multiple links to wrong sites – one person has 2 links to her one Twitter account. Another has a link to a site that either no longer exists or hasn’t yet been built.
- Posting about sports, religion, politics or personal topics. LinkedIn is a professional, business-only site. Save the personal stuff for Facebook.
- Trying to set up a company profile with a Gmail or Yahoo email. You can’t. You must have a verified email address with your company’s URL.
- Trying to set up a company profile that’s not listed in your experience. You have to have your company listed in your experience with the exact same name. Your are connected to your company as an employee.
- Not knowing the difference between “Update” and “Publish a Article”. “Update” is a status update similar to Facebook. “Publish a Article” is writing an article in LinkedIn’s blogging platform, Pulse. It’s like writing for your local Business Journal. Write at least a 500-word article.
- Sending promotional selling emails just because someone is in your network. That’s spamming and it is not tolerated anywhere in social media. Just because I’m connected with you doesn’t mean that I’m interested in your product or service. It’s not who you know, it’s who your friends know.
- Starting a group thinking you’ll get participants. Just because you start a group, doesn’t mean people will flock to join. It will help if you have an existing organization and a plan for what will be the theme and discussions.
- Spamming groups. No better or faster way to lose credibility than to self-promote in a group.
Whether your B2B or B2C, you can benefit from having a LinkedIn profile. You:
- Show off your expertise
- Toot you own horn
- Establish credibility and trust
- Network with potential referral sources
Remember, it’s not who you know, it’s who your friends know.
Here’s a video tour of LinkedIn’s new layout: