5 LinkedIn Mistakes That Are Harming Your Business
(and How You Can Avoid Them )
LinkedIn is a powerful reputation asset and business development tool for entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter if you work for yourself, work for someone else, or some combination of the two.
Your modern professional identity is now defined by LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the dominant business social network, just like Facebook is the dominant personal social network. LinkedIn was the first and continues to be the largest global professional social network in existence.
The question is, how do you position yourself on LinkedIn so that you are viewed as the credible, likable, trustworthy, and influential expert in your market or industry? And can this actually help you grow your business?
You bet it can. When you build your influence on LinkedIn, you set the stage for growing your business.
Don’t make the same mistakes that other LinkedIn users are making. Most users are making these mistakes because they don’t realize the kind of impact LinkedIn could be having on their business. They just don’t understand the value.
In this cheat sheet, SBGC’s Social Team is going to share with you the top mistakes we see entrepreneurs make every day on LinkedIn AND how to avoid them.
When you avoid these LinkedIn mistakes, you are going to attract the right people and opportunities to your business.
Mistake No. 1
Not Valuing LinkedIn as a Business Building Platform
Many entrepreneurs are still viewing LinkedIn as a place to post a glorified bio or resume. They don’t see that LinkedIn is a dynamic ‘business’ social networking platform that surrounds their modern, professional identity.
The truth is, LinkedIn is one of the best business networking opportunities that has ever existed for establishing yourself as an expert, growing your influence, strengthening relationships, and attracting new clients and referral partners to your business.
LinkedIn currently has over 400 million members. These members are affluent (over 40% of them earn more than $100,000 per year), educated, engaged, and accessible to you. LinkedIn members are also decision-makers.
These are the people you want to be in front of!
Here are 4 Major LinkedIn Benefits for Entrepreneurs:
- Gather detailed information about relevant people who have profiles on LinkedIn
- Gain access to connect with or send personal 1-on-1 messages to LinkedIn members
- Expand your 1st-degree network with relevant people from your 2nd and 3rd-degree network (friends of friends)
- Leverage an in-depth professional profile to share your story, expertise, experience, and thought leadership
No other social media platform on the planet provides this level of data, insight, and access at scale as LinkedIn does. No other social media platform is purely focused on the business side of social networking in the way that LinkedIn is either.
When you start viewing LinkedIn as a people and content goldmine that can help you achieve your business goals, you will begin to uncover the opportunities that await you there.
LinkedIn is a virtual, perpetual, digital business networking event that you can experience from the comfort of your own home in just a few minutes each week.
Mistake No. 2
Not Having a Complete and Compelling LinkedIn Profile
There are more than 45 billion LinkedIn profile views per quarter, and 50% of those LinkedIn profiles are incomplete.
Did you know that those who have complete LinkedIn profiles are 40 times more likely to receive relevant opportunities than those who don’t?
Even if your LinkedIn profile isn’t all that compelling, simply completing it puts you in the top half of all members. It’s a no-brainer!
Here’s what you need to have a complete LinkedIn profile:
- Profile photo, location, industry
- Educational background
- Your current work position and description
- Two past positions (if you don’t have two, break down your current role into two)
- Your skills (choose these wisely)
- A minimum of 50 connections
LinkedIn profile views are the name of the game. When the right people are looking at your profile, good things can happen for your business.
A compelling profile is just as important as a complete profile
How do you create a more compelling profile?
To start with, you need a professional headshot and headline on your LinkedIn profile.
Smile and look straight ahead in your photo, as if you are making eye contact in order to build instant trust!
Your 120-character LinkedIn headline should succinctly describe who you are, who you help, and how you help. If you’re able to fit a short ‘personal tidbit’ about yourself, do it! This is a great way to build a connection. SBGC’s Social Team can’t tell you how many doors this simple personal tidbit has opened.
Your profile is not a glorified business bio or resume. It’s an opportunity to showcase a 360 view of you and how you serve your clients or customers.
Showcase the parts of your story, expertise, experience, passion, perspective, and process that are most relevant to who you are trying to attract today.
Don’t be afraid to change up your profile language as your business evolves.
Add rich media such as videos and presentations to your profile. Link to articles or books that you’ve written as well as awards and recognition you’ve received.
Most importantly, do your best to weave your personality into your profile. Your personality is one of your best unique differentiators. There is no one else like you. ☺
Remember, your LinkedIn profile is your modern-day professional identity.
Give it the attention it deserves.
Mistake No. 3
Not Proactively Building a Strategic LinkedIn Network
Are you intentional about how you grow your LinkedIn network?
Most people aren’t.
Most people don’t really know who to connect with on LinkedIn. They receive those pesky invitations that all look and sound the same, many times from people they don’t even know.
What happens when you build a random network of connections on LinkedIn is that you get random results. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
What if you were strategic about how you built your LinkedIn network AND intentional about putting the time in to grow your network?
This is the magic combination.
Our Social Team definitely made the mistake in years past of connecting with way too many people on LinkedIn that we didn’t know. But there is a fine line.
Many of those people that we didn’t know who had mutual connections in common, for example, ended up being important people in SBGC’s network!
We recommend using discretion when you make new connections on LinkedIn, but don’t automatically dismiss people just because you don’t know them.
Do your research.
Determine if there is a good reason for connecting or some commonalities.
Personally, SBGC’s Social Team likes to connect with people who fit into what we call my Unique Market Opportunities.
Unique Market Opportunities can vary widely from person to person, but here are a few examples:
- connecting with people in the community where you live and work
- connecting with clients and prospects
- connecting with people in your industry
- connecting with people who share your hobbies and interests
- connecting with people who are connected to the people you want to get in front of
- connecting with influencers
- connecting with people you meet at conferences
- connecting with people you are connected to on other social networks
- connecting with people who have the knowledge and skills you would like to develop
- connecting with people in the media
Map out your Unique Market Opportunities based on your own personal and business goals. Find those people on LinkedIn and send an invitation to connect.
You can personalize your invitations using the LinkedIn mobile app!
If you currently have a random, messy network on LinkedIn, you can go through and remove connections (no one will be notified that you’ve removed them from your network).
This is a manual process that can be time-consuming if you have a large network. Or you can simply focus on being more strategic going forward.
The more relevant your LinkedIn network is, the more relevant the people and opportunities you will attract.
Mistake No. 4
Lurking on LinkedIn (versus being actively visible and valuable)
We don’t know about you, but being flooded with information and messages today across multiple social networks is overwhelming. It is difficult to remember or even find anything you may have stumbled upon in the past because there is just so much noise!
The people who stand out in our news feeds are those who show up consistently and give value over and over.
When you serve your LinkedIn connections in this way, they remember you.
They will look for your messages and engage with you. They will identify you as one of their influencers, adding you to their ‘favorites’ lists and liking or subscribing to your social channels. They will seek you out elsewhere online and offline. They will think of you when someone they know is in need of your services.
Then, there are the LinkedIn lurkers who make up a majority of LinkedIn users. These are the people on LinkedIn who watch but don’t engage or contribute.
There is nothing wrong with lurking, but if you want to build your influence and grow your business, you have to be a contributor.
If 80% of LinkedIn users are lurking and only 20% are contributing, that’s an awesome opportunity to stand out!
Get active on LinkedIn.
- Engage with your network.
- Publish your thought leadership insights.
- Send out 1-on-1 personalized messages to your connections asking how you can help them grow their business or network.
- Share content to the LinkedIn news feed that is interesting, insightful, inspiring, and informative.
When you spend time on LinkedIn, try to be more focused on adding value to your network.
Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game.
Mistake No. 5
Not Positioning Yourself as a Thought Leader Inside of LinkedIn
Thought leaders are leaders who share their thoughts publicly and build a following.
Sharing your thought leadership builds your influence. The reason we like, trust, and follow influencers is because we relate to the way that they think. We feel like they truly understand us.
The LinkedIn Publishing Platform (otherwise known as Pulse) gives you the perfect opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader inside of LinkedIn. This is LinkedIn’s built-in blogging platform that is directly tied to your personal LinkedIn profile.
Think of it this way; each time you publish a thought leadership post on LinkedIn, you are building up your LinkedIn profile ‘equity’ or value. The greater your profile equity, the more it will bubble up to the top in your industry or niche.
Publishing and promoting your thought leadership is not marketing, it’s building influence. There is a big difference.
An in-depth article that can help your ideal client or customer overcome a hurdle, solve a problem, or achieve a goal is much more valuable than sharing information about your products or services.
When you publish insightful content to LinkedIn, that content has the possibility of getting discovered across the social web, not just on LinkedIn.
Don’t be afraid to get personal with your posts. Share stories and examples from your own experiences. Zero in on the top issues, concerns, and problems that your clients and customers are experiencing.
If you’re not a great writer, use presentations, videos, or even audio podcasts to share your message. All of these formats are allowed on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.
Publishing blog posts on LinkedIn that give insight into your perspective can help position you as a valuable thought leader and help you attract your ideal clients and customers.
Avoid These Mistakes and Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business
SBGC has no doubt that you can avoid these LinkedIn mistakes if you become more focused and intentional about your LinkedIn presence.
LinkedIn is in the sweet spot of modern business social networking.
If you become a major player in your industry or niche on LinkedIn, your business will grow as a result!
Looking for help with LinkedIn?
Visit the member’s directory and search for LinkedIn as your keyword and find those providers to interview
If you are intimidated by the thought of hiring without knowing everything there is to know please email us at su*****@sm*****************.org to be connected with vetted professionals for all things LinkedIn.