So if you’re here, you probably already know the value of LinkedIn and the positive effect it can have on your career. It’s an incredible tool! And...it’s a heavily underutilized one. Part of the reason it’s underutilized is because there are so many WRONG ways to use it, and people seem to be afraid of doing it incorrectly. Here are ten common mistakes that people make on LinkedIn and why you should avoid them.
Mistake #1: Hire someone to manage your personal LinkedIn page
This can be tempting, especially for someone who kind of knows the value of LinkedIn and has the resources to hire someone. While you can absolutely hire someone to manage your company page, this is very different than paying someone to pretend they’re you on LinkedIn. This should be avoided for many reasons, but one in particular is to stay out of an awkward situation. What happens when you’re at the grocery store and run into someone your hire has been communicating with as you? I’m picturing a very confusing, and potentially damaging, situation...
Mistake #2: Get too personal on LinkedIn
LinkedIn was not created to be a dating website. Don’t be creepy. Don’t share too much personal information. Even though LinkedIn is a professional platform, online safety rules still apply. Don’t give out your home address. Don’t post a picture of your house. And be careful about sharing identifying information, like where your kids go to school. Trolls are everywhere, even on LinkedIn.
Mistake #3: Post and engage with controversial content
Unless your political beliefs directly relate to your career, please don’t share them with the rest of us. This is a really good way to turn people off and away from engaging with you professionally. Passion in politics is not a bad thing - but it’s more suitable on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Mistake #4: Post too much
One of the great things about LinkedIn is that maintaining an effective presence does not entail being on and available all day every day. It’s expected that people on LinkedIn have jobs that require them to do things other than be on LinkedIn, and so immediate response is not generally essential. My recommendation is to post 2-3 times per week, whether that’s on your personal profile or on your company page.
Mistake #5: Be inconsistent
One of the biggest keys to LinkedIn success is consistency. Here are a few simple ways to be consistent:
Spend 10 minutes scrolling through your newsfeed each weekday (don’t worry about weekends!)
Do something on LinkedIn every weekday - like a post, make a comment, or post something
Respond to each comment that someone makes on your posts
Create a posting calendar with some kind of consistent posting schedule, even if that’s just 1-2 times per month to start
Mistake #6: Connect with someone and try to sell them immediately
This is an almost sure way NOT to make the sale. Spend the time it takes to interact with people and build your LinkedIn presence instead of using LinkedIn to just sell, sell, sell.
Mistake #7: Keep things vague
If you make people work hard to find out what you actually do, chances are you won’t meet your objectives for being on LinkedIn in the first place. Your profile, and everything that you do on LinkedIn, should be very clear.
Mistake #8: Make your profile picture something that doesn’t look like you
Your profile picture should look as you do today if you were going to a meeting. If you’ve been interacting with someone on LinkedIn, that person should be able to easily recognize you if you run into them at the grocery store. Don’t use your favorite picture of yourself from 20 years ago. Don’t wear a hat and sunglasses in your profile pic. Don’t have other people in your profile pic. Don’t use a picture of your product or of scenery from your last vacation. Your profile picture should be a good headshot (from a phone is fine) in front of a neutral background.
Mistake #9: Aimless activity
If you don’t have an identified objective, my guess is that you won’t be happy with whatever results you think you want from being on LinkedIn. Take the time to think through and identify your LinkedIn objective and 2-3 SMART goals to get there (you can download a free worksheet here to help you do that).
Mistake #10: Spelling and grammar errors on your profile
Please, please, please take the time to make sure your profile is free of spelling and grammar errors. Have a colleague proofread it. Copy and paste it into a Google Doc or Word doc to check for errors. This is very, very important. As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Errors in your profile could prove to be costly.
LinkedIn is such a great tool. Be sure to avoid these common errors, and you’ll be well on your way to LinkedIn success!