If you are in business you need to be on LinkedIn.  We have now entered the era of Social Selling in which relationships are now forged online through the provision of valuable, helpful and relevant information for the purposes of forging genuine business relationships and opportunities.

If you are not convinced that LinkedIn has any place in your business strategy, than ponder for a moment these incredible facts from one of the leading authorities on LinkedIn Viveka Von Rosen.

 

1          1 out of every three professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn     

(click to tweet)

2          50% of LinkedIn members report they are more likely to buy from

a company they engage with on LinkedIn (click to tweet)

3          91% of digital marketers believe LinkedIn to be the #1 channel 

to distribute content (click to tweet)

4          93% of B2B Marketers consider LinkedIn  to be 

the most effective site for Lead Gen (click to tweet)

5          According to HubSpot, 43% of all marketers found a customer

via LinkedIn in 2013  (click to tweet)

As you can read by these stats LinkedIn is a formidable tool to have in your sales arsenal, but many individuals who are on LinkedIn are still making 5 key mistakes that can cause for their personal, and business brand perception, to be seen as less than professional, and at worse see them lose any trust with potential customers before they have even had a chance to engage in conversation.

linkedin


Mistake 1

No personal profile photograph.  LinkedIn is where people come to engage, converse and do business with people, not a brand name or logo.  If you want to show off a logo for your business set up a company LinkedIn page.

However, the worse thing I still see a lot of people do is to not even bother to add in any image, choosing to leave the generic avatar where an image should go.  Realistically ask yourself, what does a profile that has no photo say to you about that person?  Me, it means lazy, not interested, and not worth investing my time in.  If you have no photo you might as well listen as that potential relationship closes the door never to come back.

Get a proper head and shoulders image of yourself, looking straight ahead, and you know what, smiling.  Why are so many people looking so grumpy when they have their profile shots done.  An angry looking photo is just as big a turn off as is no photo, and it will give your profile the wrong impression of what you are really like.  Plus, I guarantee you that you will feel a whole lot better just for smiling when getting that photo taken.

Mistake 2

You ask for a recommendation from a stranger.  I cannot believe I actually wrote that but yes it’s true, it does happen.  This is how you destroy your personal brand.  No professional will ever recommend you unless they have experienced working with you in the area that you want to be recommended for.

The one rule here, is reach out to those relationships you have on LinkedIn who have worked with you, for you, etc and who can provide a genuine recommendation based on trust and experience.

Getting misguided individuals to give you false recommendations is lying plain and simple, and if that is uncovered it would have far reaching consequences for you as an individual and your company.  There are no short cuts.  Earn the trust and the recommendations will come.

Mistake 3

You ask for a recommendation from a stranger.  I cannot believe I actually wrote that but yes it’s true, it does happen.  This is how you destroy your personal brand.  No professional will ever recommend you unless they have experienced working with you in the area that you want to be recommended for.

The one rule here, is reach out to those relationships you have on LinkedIn who have worked with you, for you, etc and who can provide a genuine recommendation based on trust and experience.

Getting misguided individuals to give you false recommendations is lying plain and simple, and if that is uncovered it would have far reaching consequences for you as an individual and your company.  There are no short cuts.  Earn the trust and the recommendations will come.

I have been lucky enough to connect with some of the leading influencers in social media on LinkedIn such as Jeff Bullas, Brendon Burchard, Ian Cleary, Melonie Dodaro, Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, Jenn Herman and Mari Smith.

How did I do this without ever having the pleasure of meeting any of these incredible experts in person?  I shared, liked and commented on their excellent material on Twitter, Google + and Linkedin.  I then reached out to them with a genuine, heartfelt message  telling them how much their material and expertise was inspiring, motivating and helping me to achieve my goals, and that to connect and continue my learning would be fantastic.  I built trust, I engaged, and my connection request was genuine.

LinkedIn is about been real and human.  Giving a hat tip where it is due, sharing others content, and ultimately looking to create meaningful relationships through mutual trust and respect.

Mistake 4

Boasting about how great you are.  I see this happening especially in some LinkedIn groups where there is no real moderator, although LinkedIn is getting tougher as more and more people become less tolerable of it.  Yet from time to time you will still get some people constantly promoting their latest product or how great they are etc etc.  It becomes tiresome, annoying and eventually leads to that person getting multiple complaints against them which could lead to a suspension of their account.

No one likes a bragger and no one wants to be sold to 24/7.  Use LinkedIn to raise your expertise level by sharing and providing great content that your audience and connections will find useful.  In groups, ask questions and engage in a professional and meaningful way with those members who provide you with guidance.  You in turn can provide the guidance and help to them on their questions and by taking this social path, opportunities and relationships will arise.   But we warned if you use the battering ram spam approach you may as well prepare for 0 connections.

Mistake 5

Endorsing connections for skills you have no knowledge they have.  I think when LinkedIn brought out this ability to endorse people the theory probably sounded great, it seemed like a nice way for people to give their connections that little endorsement and pat on the back, but I personally think that so many people endorse each other just because they might know someone, or as a favor,  the endorsements on your profile have lost any real credibility.

However, worse still, I think endorsing a connection for a skill just because you want to make yourself look good in their eyes, or to show you want to support them, actually has the reverse effect and shows you out to be ignorant and self serving.  If you know a connection is great at social media or marketing, then do endorse them, but if you have no idea if they are great at excel 2010, why the heck would you give them that LinkedIn thumbs up?  I have been endorsed for community outreach but sorry, I cannot tell you what that is because I don’t know.

OK, so there you have it.  5 mistakes to avoid like the plague the next time you are working on Linkedin.  There are many more pitfalls to avoid I know, and I would love to hear about other mistakes you have seen, or if you experienced any of the above faux pas that I mentioned.

Till next time have a great one.

About the Author: This is a guest post by Phillip Twyford. Follow him on Twitter @PTwyford or visit his website www.philliptwyford.com to learn about Digital Marketing.