LinkedIn, the world largest professional network, spans the globe encompassing every industry out there and now has more than 433 million members in over 200 countries and territories, adding 2 new professionals each second. Take a moment and grasp what that means. If you are in business, your colleagues, competitors, and next sales leads are already there waiting for you.
Stop reading for a second and navigate to LinkedIn.
First, realize that if anyone wants to do any kind of business with you this is likely the first place they will start. Try to remove yourself from your own personal ideas about your profile. Objectively take a look at what your profile says about you. If what you see is less than the first impression you want to make, it may be time to clean things up.
The following 6 common profile mistakes cannot only discredit you as a professional, expert in your field or thought leader, they can actually cost you money. Think about it, if your profile is less than stellar and is inferior to your top competitors profile, who do you think the prospect will reach out to?
By far the most common mistake I see is either posting an unprofessional picture or not posting one at all. A LinkedIn profile pic should be a head shot. You should be smiling and your background should be plain, or at least not distracting. It doesn’t need to be professionally taken but should be professional in feel and composition — meaning no children, pets, scenic shots or anything else that doesn’t say “I am all about business”.
This may seem like a no-brainer but hundreds of people are still getting this wrong. Publishing your profile (or any document for that matter) with typos in it says many things about your business style and none of them are good. If you can’t take the time to run your writing through a spell checker, how can you be trusted to manage the details of our potential deal?
Your headline appears along with your picture whenever your profile shows up in search results, and when someone hovers over a thumbnail of you in their newsfeed. It’s also highly indexed by the LinkedIn search engine so make sure you use all 120 characters allowed in the space and that it’s rich with the keywords you want to get found for. After all, when was the last time you searched for ‘owner’?
There are many places within your profile that you can include contact information as well as a section dedicated solely to that. Make sure you include both an email and a phone number to ensure prospects can reach out whichever way they are comfortable.
LinkedIn is a social network that’s an excellent starting point for two-way communication that leads to sales, increased business, valuable networking opportunities and much more. Two-way communication requires approachability, something the 3rd person style of writing doesn’t lend itself to. Writing in the first person allows the reader to feel as if they are getting to know you, there is an element of authenticity that is simply not present in 3rd person writing. Show your network that you are ‘Open for Business’ by speaking directly to them in a well written, 1st person summary.
Recommendations speak of your expertise, your professionalism, your ability to get the job done and your credibility amongst colleagues and competitors. If your prospect sees two profiles with identical credentials but one has 10 recommendations and the other none, who do you think they take more seriously?
This is hands down the quickest thing you can do to highlight your profile and start generating leads so don’t skip this step. In fact, if you do only one thing today to improve your standing on LinkedIn, do this.
Not believing in the power of this platform means only one thing — you don’t know enough about it. LinkedIn facilitates sales, procurement, networking, lead generation, talent acquisition and corporate image building for thousands of companies every single day. To ignore it or downplay its potential could be costing you a lot of money, although it’s probably making your competitors very happy.
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