When was the last time you logged in to your LinkedIn account?
You may not realize it, but LinkedIn is huge right now.
With more than half a billion professionals on the platform – 90-million of whom are senior-level influencers – you can’t afford not to be using it.With more than half a billion professionals on the platform – 90-million of whom are senior-level influencers – you can’t afford not to be using it.Click To Tweet
That said, there’s a right way to use it and a…not-so-right way.
In this post, I’m going to share the biggest LinkedIn mistakes I see people making. Avoid these at all costs!
10 LinkedIn Mistakes to Avoid
1. Having a Bad Profile Picture.
Unlike other social media platforms where sharing images and selfies is the norm, you get one chance to show your face on LinkedIn.
And do you really want that one picture to look like one of these?
I’m guessing not!
To make the most of your LinkedIn profile picture, make sure it meets these criteria:
- Make sure it actually looks like you (accurate and recent)
- Use a high-res image
- Make sure your face takes up a minimum of 60% of the image
- Make sure you’re the only one in the picture
- Smiling is always a good idea! (It makes you look more approachable)
- No distracting backgrounds
- Dress professionally
- Use good lighting
Basically, to avoid this LinkedIn fail, just make sure your image is clear, accurate and professional-looking!
2. Neglecting Your Headline.
Your headline is arguably one of the most important pieces of content on your profile. It’s super-important for SEO (more on this in a minute), and yet many people just slap something up there and call it a day.
Your headline is also key to standing out and grabbing the attention of your target audience, as it’s one of the only pieces of text that people will see in LinkedIn Search results.
Some best practices for your headline include:
- Avoid using industry-jargon or buzzwords
- Consider using a shortened version of your elevator pitch
- Focus on your target audience, rather than on yourself (i.e., How can you help them?)
- Ask a rhetorical question
- Share something a little bit personal to increase your approachability
3. Having an Outdated and Incomplete Profile.
Even if you’re not using LinkedIn regularly, you can count on the fact that people in your industry and target market are!
Make sure you update your profile when you complete a course, are published in a media outlet, get a new job, or offer a new service.
I also strongly recommend making sure you’ve completed all sections of your profile. There’s evidence that LinkedIn gives preference to profiles that are complete; so if you want to get found in Search, make sure your profile is 100% complete.
There’s evidence that LinkedIn gives preference to profiles that are complete; so if you want to get found in Search, make sure your profile is 100% complete.Click To Tweet
Not sure if your profile is complete? Avoid this LinkedIn fail today and go the top of the page to see your profile strength (pictured above), as well as guidance on which sections you could improve or add to.
4. You Sell, Sell, Sell.
We’ve all met that person at a conference or networking event.
You know who I’m talking about: that person who never stops talking about how much money they make, their fancy car, their million-dollar home and their product or service – which of course is the best thing since sliced bread.
Unfortunately, these people are on LinkedIn too!
Focus on helping others, and on using the platform to build relationships. The more relationships you build, the more sales you’ll close and the more referrals you’ll receive.
And all without doing permanent harm to your reputation and relationships!
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
5. You Don’t Include Any Skills On Your Profile.
LinkedIn lets you add up to 50 skills on your profile. While I don’t recommend using all 50, make sure you add at least 5: LinkedIn has told us that profiles with at least 5 skills get 17x more profile views, and are messaged up to 33x more by recruiters.LinkedIn has told us that profiles with at least 5 skills get 17x more profile views, and are messaged up to 33x more by recruiters.Click To Tweet
Adding skills is great for SEO, and for social proof – because when you add a skill, other LinkedIn users can endorse you for those skills.
Don’t forget to add both soft skills and hard skills, as companies are looking for both. According to LinkedIn’s own research, some of the soft skills that are currently in demand are creativity, persuasion, and adaptability; and some of the hottest hard skills are blockchain, cloud computing and analytical reasoning.
6. You Don’t Give or Ask for Recommendations.
Having recommendations on your profile is one of the best ways to show that you actually know what you’re doing.
LinkedIn lets you request recommendations from your connections, simply by clicking the “Ask for a recommendation” link in the Recommendations section of your profile.
I definitely recommend giving recommendations as well! When you give recommendations, you help solidify important relationships and build goodwill – which often results in those people giving you recommendations as well. And you can easily avoid this LinkedIn fail altogether.
7. You Use “Industry Speak”.
Graph courtesy of TrustRadius
While it’s important to use popular and relevant keywords in your LinkedIn profile, people are sick and tired of being bombarded by buzzwords!
If possible, avoid using industry-speak (like “pivot”, “growth hack” and “agile”, to name just a few), and instead write in a conversational tone.
In other words, just write like you talk! This will make you far more approachable and relatable.
8. You Don’t Customize Your Connection Requests.
When you send a connection request, the default message is “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”.
Whatever you do, PLEASE don’t send this boilerplate message!
A great formula for writing your connection requests is the 5 P’s:
Polite – Courteous with a nice introduction
Pertinent – Relevant and not out of the blue
Personalized – Customized to the person you’re sending it to
Professional – Write like you’d talk at a networking event
Praiseful – Mention something you like/respect about the person (but be genuine!)
As you can see in the example above, using the 5 P’s isn’t complicated and doesn’t have to result in a book. Avoid this LinkedIn fail and try this next time you send a request!
9. You Don’t Optimize Your Profile.
I see it all the time: people not taking SEO into account when they create their LinkedIn profile.
Sadly, this often means they don’t get found when people search for their name, skills or job title in Google or LinkedIn Search.
Some basic steps to get you started with optimizing your profile include:
- Make sure you’ve completed every section
- Do some basic keyword research to find popular and relevant terms you can use
- Include relevant links back to your website
- Customize your LinkedIn URL
There’s a lot more I could say about this! But instead, I’d encourage you to check out these two blog posts:
10. You Don’t Create Content.
Do you regularly create and share content on LinkedIn?
If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity!
According to The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, a whopping 94% of B2B marketers post content on LinkedIn – making it the #1 platform for content distribution.
According to The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, a whopping 94% of B2B marketers post content on LinkedIn – making it the #1 platform for content distribution.Click To Tweet
Posting content is GREAT for SEO, for boosting your credibility, and for staying top-of-mind…and top-of-feed.
Some types of content you could be posting include:
- Long-form posts
- Links to posts on your blog
- LinkedIn Lives
- Content on your business page and showcase page
Make sure you read, share and interact with other people’s content as well; this will not only lead to a richer experience for you, but will naturally lead to others reading and sharing your content too.
These 10 LinkedIn pitfalls are common, but fortunately, they’re easy to avoid. The next time you log in to your LinkedIn account, work your way through this list to ensure you’re not making any of these mistakes!
What are the biggest mistakes you’ve been making on LinkedIn? Share them in the comments below.