It’s a fact that many entrepreneurs and businesses approach social networking sites for professionals all wrong.
Many of them sign up for one or two professional networking sites, and after completing a section or two of their profile, they think they’re set. But they’re doing more harm than good to their online reputation.
Listen up, folks: If you choose to devote your energy to one professional social networking site, make it LinkedIn. And once you’ve chosen it, use it to its full potential. Because LinkedIn alone can make or break you.
The fact that LinkedIn profiles appear at the top of Google’s search results is just one reason it’s the top social networking site for professionals — but it’s a crucial one. If the first thing a potential employer or prospective business partner sees about you online is an incomplete and poorly-conceived LinkedIn page, that can be a huge embarrassment.
Consider the repercussions when your LinkedIn profile could be one of the first places people learn something about you when they search for your name on Google.
To increase your chance of success in whatever way you envisioned when you signed up for LinkedIn, you’ll want to avoid the following mistakes:
Participating actively on LinkedIn only when you’re looking for a job
You can almost always tell for certain when someone is looking for a job through his or her LinkedIn page. Suddenly, their profile comes alive after months of lying dormant.
I’ve had prospective clients approach me even though I am not actively searching for a job. That’s because I maintain an active LinkedIn page: I stay current just by posting updates that matter to my network.
Doing the same will serve you better than just contacting people when you need them.
Leaving your profile incomplete
Think of a time when you went looking for a job. What did you bring with you? Most likely, a carefully crafted and complete resume.
Treat your LinkedIn profile similarly. It’s a professional resume that’s on permanent public display. It enables you to put your best foot forward online even when you’re not looking for work.
Creating a keyword-optimized profile that’s specific to your industry will allow people to find you much more easily — not only on LinkedIn, but also through the search engines in general.
Failing to join industry-specific groups
LinkedIn allows users to join up to 50 groups. Joining groups is a fantastic way to network with the kind of people that matter to you the most. It’s also an extremely great way to showcase your expertise to folks you think might be interested in doing business with you in the future.
Join as many industry-specific groups on LinkedIn as you can, and be sure to participate in discussions as well as share insightful thoughts on issues that matter to your industry.
Not sharing content that matters
Facebook and Twitter are not the only places where people find information these days. In fact, a lot of professionals and entrepreneurs have decided LinkedIn is a valuable source for information related to business and industry.
There are several ways you can contribute content to LinkedIn. You can post it on your profile as well as make comments on discussion boards within groups.
Sharing valuable information allows you to stay in front of people that matter to you most on LinkedIn, and it also positions you effectively as an industry expert.
Not expanding your connection
LinkedIn is a social networking site. Use it like one. Reach out and establish connections with people who interest you or that you think might benefit substantially from what you have to offer.
But don’t just connect blindly. LinkedIn doesn’t allow users to connect with people they don’t actually know. You can try to connect to people even if you don’t know them, however, by having yourself introduced via an acquaintance.
Failing to take advantage of LinkedIn Answers
I personally am fond of LinkedIn Answers. It doesn’t only allow me to share what I know; it also enables me to stay in touch with like-minded individuals.
To be honest, participating in LinkedIn Answers has provided our business with plenty of growth opportunities. It’s a great tool for establishing connection, as well as for lead generation.
Not using Recommendations
If you’ve had a satisfying business relationship with someone, it’s worth recommending them on LinkedIn via Recommendation.
Go ahead. Use it to make someone’s day. Sincerely praise an individual or a business for having done a great job for you. They’ll love you for it, and they will likely return the favor.
You can also proactively ask people who have openly appreciated your work to recommend your work on LinkedIn as well.
LinkedIn is growing on all fronts. Don’t get left out. Use the site to your advantage and grow as an entrepreneur and as a professional.
For more recommendations on how to use LinkedIn, contact us today.