Whilst also being a go-to platform for business people to connect with like-minded individuals, LinkedIn has grown to be one of the largest social media platforms in the world with over 175 million registered users.
Set up with the express purpose of providing an easy to access portal to share ideas within their professional network, because of this the inherent tone of the platform is more formal than other social networks.
It is a brilliant place to learn about new things, as well as showcase yourself and your personal brand.
1. Use a professional looking photo
People want to see what you look like. It’s as plain and simple as that. A great starting point for your profile is your profile picture. It will often be the first thing that people will see of you before your headlines and posts. Because LinkedIn is a professional platform, a picture of you drinking beer in a pub isn’t going to give off the best impression (unless of course you are a professional beer taster).
Some people don’t have a photo at all and this gives the opposite impression. Where a photo of you in the pub might be too open, no photo at all comes across as you have something to hide.
2. Don’t lie.
All of your connections can view your profile. If you lie you will be found out. These days it is relatively easy to perform a Google search and find out a wealth of information about someone. Just look at what happened to the former CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson.
I’m not saying that what would happen is going to be that high profile, but imagine missing out on a job because of a white lie on your LinkedIn profile.
3. Don’t send people an invitation with LinkedIn’s default text
Okay. I’ll admit I’m not the best at keeping to this one, instead choosing to let my profile speak for itself. Whether that is good or bad I’ll let you make the decision.
When you send a connection request you have the opportunity to send them a personalised message. A great way of giving you the chance to talk to your new connection from the outset, especially if you don’t know them personally.
If you are connecting with people on smartphones, the iPad app and the “People you may know” page on LinkedIn, then you won’t be able to customise the message that you send.
4. Don’t use the “Friend” option
You shoudl only do this when you are a friend of theirs. It will hugely annoy people on LinkedIn if you use this and they don’t know you.
5. Include all your external links
Linking to your online properties will give your connections a quick and easy way of viting your websites, blogs and other social media profiles.
Many people don’t realise that you can do this.
You can include 3 links under the “Websites” headine, as well as another 3 links under the Twitter headline.
6. Don’t leave your LinkedIn profile incomplete
This is so improtant if you want to be found on LinkedIn, conveniently they have “wizard” that will guide you through completing your profile and will tell you when your profile is 100% complete.
The most important parts of your profile are your Summary, Experience, Skills and Expertise and your Headline.
Because all of these are searchable, making sure that these are keyword rich will allow you to show up when people search for job titles, key skills or even companies.
It is well worth the effort to make sure that you optimise your profile and regularly go back and keep it updated.
7. Don’t be lazy when sharing links and updates.
A lot of people post the same message on multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other platforms that they use. The major mistake that they make when doing this is to not adapt their message to the platform that they are on.
It comes across as lazy when you post on LinkedIn with Twitter handles and #hashtags in the main body of you LinkedIn text as you would with Twitter, instead use a few at the end of your post.
Clicking on the hashtags in a post will show you all of the posts which have that hashtag included in them, from here you can follow the hashtag to see more of posts discussing a particular topic.
A couple of minutes spent adapting your posts to each platform that you are on will make a world of difference and will let your posts be picked up more readily by the individual algorithms.
8. Don’t use LinkedIn groups for getting “linkbacks” to your website or blog
One sure fire way to p**s people off is to join a group and then contributing little beyond sharing posts from your website or your blog.
Not only will this get you labelled as a spammer, you will be blocked by that many people within those groups that you will begin to find it difficult to develop genuine business connections.
Most groups will be tightly monitored and will promote discussions, questions and commentary for the benefit of all the members. Many will let you comment with links to other people’s blog posts but will be strictly against self-promotion so you won’t be able to share your own links. Which is a bit strange if you ask me.
9. Don’t spam your connections.
Their are two parts to this.
Firstly don’t use LinkedIn as an extension to your email marketing efforts by spamming your connections with news and events about your company. This includes adding people as a connections and then sending them a generic message about your products/services.
Secondly, LinkedIn isn’t a dating platform. Tada. Newsflash. Yes, it sounds like a big shock. But as you spend more time on LinkedIn you find that inappropriate messaging is rife among members. Not only does this reflect badly on you but it will also damage your professional reputation on the platform.
10. Don’t ask people who DON’T know you to write recommendations for you
Recommendations on LinkedIn, just like reviews for your business on Google are brilliant when people take a look at your profile.
That being said you wouldn’t ask any random person to review your business so why would you ask someone you don’t know to give you a recommendation. It’s weird, creepy and you probably won’t get a recommendation that you would want to publish anyway.
Plus it will just be awkward for you and them if you send a request for a recommendation and they reply with the inevitable “Who are you ?”.
How about you?
What is your LinkedIn etiquette like? Are you enhancing your personal brand in every turn or could it do with polishing?
How effective is your LinkedIn profile at meeting your goals? Could you take some of these tips today and make some improvements?
Or is there something that I should have added to this list?