Avoid These 19 Common LinkedIn Mistakes

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is currently the third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors — right behind Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the world’ s largest professional online network, with over 467 million active users spanning more than 200 countries (as of 2016 end). The network is primarily centred on careers and network building and is highly popular with business-to-business users. It enables users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues as well as potential employers, business partners, and new employees. It is also beneficial for those looking to share and discover industry news and knowledge and for those looking for jobs.

Listing Skills that LinkedIn Doesn’t Recognise: When you start typing a skill on your LinkedIn profile, make sure it appears in the dropdown menu. If it doesn’t it is not a frequently searched item so make sure you stick to the thousands of skills LinkedIn already has in the system and your profile will pop up more often in search results.

Not Personalising Your LinkedIn Public Profile URL: Many people leave the default mess of letters and numbers at the end of the URL. You need to change this to your name or as close as it you can come to it as it will make you appear more professional and enhance your personal brand.

Having No Photo or An Inappropriate Photo: One of the biggest mistakes on a LinkedIn profile is to not use a photo or using one that is inappropriate. LinkedIn is a professional networking site so your photo should reflect your general industry and your personal professionalism. Ensure your picture is representative of you by being up to date, clear and good quality. Never make the mistake of failing to use a photo at all as this can easily lead to missed connections.

Sending Spammy Messages and Over Posting: Remember to always share updates in the mind frame of helping and providing value to others. This means avoiding posting spammy and self-serving messages to your connections and especially not posting high quantities of updates a day.

Asking For or Giving People You Don’t Know Recommendations: You should never ask for a recommendation or give one to someone that you don’t know and can’t personally vouch for. The reason being that if you give someone a recommendation that is actually a poor worker then it reflects badly on you for recommending them to others, similarly if someone gives you a recommendation that has a poor reputation this also will appear negatively on you.

Criticising and Commenting Negatively In Groups: LinkedIn groups are a great place to make new connections and interact professionally with others, however if you act negatively posting rude, critical or offensive comments you harm your reputation and will miss out on potential business opportunities.

Posting Self-Serving Content in Your Groups LinkedIn Groups: are to be used to share relevant, informative and interesting updates to other members, not for spamming your self-serving content. If you have a genuine piece of information that you know other members will find useful but is self-promoting in some way then you need to craft it in a way that ensures that the aim of the content is to provide value first.

Asking New Connections or People You Don’t Know To Endorse You: It is very easy to give and receive endorsements from others on LinkedIn without thought and this is primarily why endorsements do not hold as much respect as recommendations do. So do not be tempted to go and endorse as many connections as possible in the hope that they return them to you. Rather only endorse those you can personally vouch for and preferably create a personal recommendation.

Treating LinkedIn Like Other Social Media Platforms: LinkedIn etiquette is very different from other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It is widely accepted that LinkedInis the most professional platform and as such you need to act as though you are a professional environment. This does not mean that you shouldn’t show a personality; rather just remember who your audience is as they are not likely to receive a meme of a cat for example in the same way as an audience on Facebook will.

Not Including Past Jobs or Volunteer Work: Your profile needs to be a robust and complete picture of you in a professional setting, so even if you have changed fields you still need to include past examples of your work and the skills you acquired whilst there as it all works together to create an account of you and your skills. Similarly volunteering work can tell a potential employer or business prospect a lot about you as a person, your interests and what extra skills you have acquired outside of work so it is important that you include it within your profile taking care to elaborating on tasks you completed and skills acquired.

Lurking: Many people set up a profile and assume that is enough to get you noticed. Rather, to truly get the most out of LinkedIn you need to make a conscious effort to be active in your groups, share content that engages your connections and maintain an up to date profile.

Not Utilising LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn groups are a great resource for building your knowledge base and connecting with individuals in similar industries. There is much to gain in terms of knowledge development, new connections and business opportunities by joining and being an active member of LinkedIn Groups, so make the effort to join groups that are relevant to you and your interests so you don’t miss out on these important benefits.

Not Making Sure Your Profile is 100% Complete: Always make sure that your profile is 100% completed. If you fail to do so you will not only be harder to find on LinkedIn, you could potentially miss out on business opportunities and connections the result of which means you don’t get the full benefit of being on the network.

Never Modifying Your Profile: You should always pay attention to the numbers at which people view your profile and how often you come up in search as if these numbers are low it shows you that you need to recapture the attention of others. You can do this by potentially updating your titles and your headline and revitalising your descriptions every so often to try and attract attention and capture additional search traffic.

Not Knowing the Difference Between a LinkedIn Profile and a LinkedIn Company Page: There are two ways you can choose to have a presence on LinkedIn as a business owner. If you choose to create a company page you will be communicating as your business to others that have chosen to follow you and get updates from you to learn more about your business. With a LinkedIn Profile you will be communicating as an individual rather than as a business, allowing you to connect with clients, colleagues, and other members of your professional network.

Not Being Selective About the Connections You Accept: The people who you have connected with on LinkedIn are a representation of you and shows to others the kind of professionals you associate with. From this it is important not to just accept and connect with anyone just to appear more popular, instead look to connect with people you can genuinely learn from or be a benefit to and make sure you know who they are and what their credentials are.

Not Sharing a Variety of Rich Media in Your Posts: It is critical to embrace the visual and be creative with the updates you share by posting a variety of content types such as videos, infographics and SlideShare documents to engage and interest your connections.If you post unappealing, self-promoting content continually you will not attract the critical attention you need from others and will inevitably damage your reputation.

Not Promoting Your Profile to Others: You could have put together the perfect LinkedIn profile but if you fail to tell others about it then you miss out on connecting with new prospects. So remember to promote your profile across all other social media including a badge on your website, putting a URL on business literature and packaging and including it on your e-newsletter and email signature.

Not Considering Your Search Optimisation (SEO) Efforts: You need to consciously optimise your profile for SEO looking to at the very least have a completed profile and strategically place keywords throughout your profile. If you neglect your efforts and your profile is not SEO friendly then you risk losing crucial visibility and being highly ranked in search and seen by others.

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