Avoid LinkedIn Mistakes by Doing the Following

Do Not Waste Your LinkedIn Presence

I recently read an article on the 13 LinkedIn Mistakes You Should Avoid by Suzanne Vara.

In her posting Suzanne reinforces points that I have made regarding the importance of your LinkedIn Profile.

I am adding my additional commentary on Suzanne’s points.

  1. You must personalize your profile using the profile edit capability and changing the default URL.
  2. Identify your personal and company websites with the specific name, do not use the defaults of “My Company” and “My Website”.
  3. Do not flag your profile as private, unless you really do not want to be found. You should have a public profile that can be found by the Search Engines.
  4. Join Groups – this is the way to reach your target community. You can join a maximum of 50 groups, but sub-groups do not count toward that maximum.
  5. Participate in group discussions – Groups are your opportunity to establish yourself as an expert and to spread your sphere of influence. The more people that you reach the greater your chance of accomplishing your goals.
  6. Ask and Answer Questions – Your goal should be to again establish yourself as an expert and as someone that recognizes that you do not know it all and others can help. Graciously give and receive.
  7. Do not link every tweet. This is a hard one, because you want to give your connections a complete picture of yourself, but because this is a business community you want to keep somewhat of a business focus. Connect to your Twitter account and if you want your status on LinkedIn add #in to the end of the Tweet.
  8. Connect to your company page – If your CURRENT COMPANY does not have a page you can create one. The caveat here is to use the OFFICIAL name that other employees will use. You cannot create a company page for a company where you no longer work.
  9. Create a complete profile that tells your story. Make sure you add your picture so people finding your profile will know that it is you. You do not want your brand scarred because you failed to differentiate and somebody less reputable was associated with your brand.
  10. LinkedIn is for connecting; not blatant selling. Do not turn people off with an immediate sales pitch. This is where discussions and Q&A are so important. When you have a solution that will help with a problem; then the selling can start.
  11. Keep your status current. Do not let it sit idle for months on end. That practice shows that you are not involved or committed to LinkedIn.
  12. When you start a conversation and someone comments; you must comment in return. Do not leave your participants hanging waiting for a reply.
  13. Give recommendations and once given you may ask for recommendations. Make sure that the recommendations you give are relevant and help to tell the individual’s story. “Jack is a great guy and you will be lucky to have him in your organization” is not a powerful recommendation. Tell people what Jack accomplished so they can get an accurate picture of Jack. Also, give Jack a chance to comment and request changes to your recommendation. You do not want the recommendation to become a fabrication, but you do want to work with Jack; so he will be willing to work with you on your recommendation.

My Additions to Suzanne’s List

  1. Increase the value of your network – “Weak” connections constitute the primary value of your network. Yes, your first level connections are valuable, but the real value are the connections belonging to your first and second level connections.
  2. The use of keywords in your profile, job titles, summary, current position, etc are key to great search results. Make those keywords consistent as long as they do not change the accuracy of your profile. If you were an IT Security Consultant; you should try to avoid having other entries as an IT Security Project Manager. The repetitiveness of the keywords will raise your Search Ranking and therefore your placement in the results.
  3. Suzanne pointed out that you have a limit that you can only join 50 groups (again not including sub-groups). Considering that limit do not waste your group options. If a group is not actively discussing topics and contributing information; find another group! Belonging to an inactive group will not build your brand or increase your sphere of influence.
  4. Create your own groups; as the group owner you have more opportunities to communicate and increase your sphere of influence. Make sure, however, that your group is active by your own and other’s posts.
  5. If you attempt to join a group and it takes an eternity for approval; do not waste your time. Find another group or start your own group on the same topic.

Read Suzanne’s post for her perspectives on the subject.

Email Tom and visit UPPROACH to receive more Social Networking tips for businesses and job seekers.

Copyright UPPROACH, 2010