Top 7 mistakes to avoid in LinkedIn

by Sohini Bagchi    Aug 27, 2013

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is undoubtedly one of the most effective social networking platforms today for companies looking to grow their businesses. When leveraged effectively, it can do wonders – whether companies are looking to promote their products or services, connect with prospective clients, customers, and even future employees or just about anything to demonstrate their skills and professional expertise. However, often times, their networking efforts in LinkedIn fail owing to the lack of understanding of the platform or for having a casual approach.

Here are some key mistakes business executives should avoid in LinkedIn to ensure effective networking and demonstrate their experience and expertise.

#1)  Not having a profile picture: This may sound quaint, but nearly one third professionals do not have their profile photo on LinkedIn. Some do not realize that not having a photo can have a big impact on the overall appearance of your profile. Brand Strategist Donna Serdula mentions in her blog, just like no photo is a no-brainer, executives who use an unprofessional profile photo may be doing more harm than good to their image. Poorly cropped, quirky photos with more than one people in it as well as those that are not sized correctly should never be used on this professional platform. All you need to focus is on your face.

#2)  Not completing the entire profile: Having an incomplete profile gives others an indolent image about the executive and also does not exhibit his credentials and experience. Many professionals do not include their contact information on LinkedIn, but by doing so they tend to lose a fair share of their business as no one is able to connect them easily and quickly. Therefore, it is important to keep all of the information up-to-date.

#3)  Not including a personalized message. A number of professionals just send an invitation to connect, without bothering to include a personal message. The space however is meant to add that little extra. According to Serdula, the personalized note goes a long way to make your invitation feel authentic. Similarly, your inbox messages can be very effective. For example, if somebody sends you a message, it is important to send a courtesy reply.

#4)  Not endorsing someone back. Many executives willfully accept recommendations but do not care to endorse back. Endorsement is actually a two-way process and can greatly boost your LinkedIn reputation. You should also ask for endorsements or recommendations, but occasionally. Sending too many requests for recommendation and endorsement is poor LinkedIn etiquette and is often annoying. Similarly, recommendation people generously and seek recommendations. A good recommendation can speak a lot about your expertise.

#5)  Not posting suitable content. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. The type of content someone posts on Facebook, might not be appropriate on LinkedIn. According to Poonacha Machaiah, CEO of Qyuki, “The content should not only be professional but also relevant.” It is important to proofread your posts and keep the posts as grammatically sound as possible. Engaging in meaningful conversations from mobile devices or PC an even adding recent updates can be some great ways to make meaningful connections, he believes.

#6) Not sharing rich media: LinkedIn allows photos and videos and its essential to leverage this opportunity. According to social media evangelist Kim Brown, it is important to let people know what you do and by sharing links, videos, infographics, and slideshare, executives can better engage with customers, partners, prospective employees and other connections. It is important to connect LinkedIn with other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Sharing updates can also help a prospective employee join the company. In fact, businesses should post open positions on the site and let know they are hiring

#7) Not being selective about the connections: In LinkedIn, your professional contacts are a representation of who you are. So it is wise to understand who they are and their credentials, tips off Brown. Also choosing who can see your profile is important. This can enhance your visibility in your core network that you want to connect with.

There may be a number of other mistakes professionals keep making in their LinkedIn profile, without even realizing its impact. But avoiding the above mentioned mistakes can also give you a greater visibility and help you create a strong professional impact. Good luck!