In recent years, LinkedIn has become one of the best platforms for business leaders to build their personal brand, reach new clients and boost engagement or sales. But despite the wealth of features designed to help you stand out, there are 7 mistakes on LinkedIn that beginners make when it comes to marketing themselves. And with nearly 675 million members on the platform, there’s a lot of competition!
While you’re unlikely to become a LinkedIn sensation overnight, taking some time to fix the most common mistakes will put you on the front foot when it comes to establishing your brand and seeing those all-important results.
Here are 7 common mistakes on LinkedIn that beginners make, and what you should be doing instead.
1. Treating it like other social media platforms. Be professional.
While LinkedIn is, at its most basic, a social media platform, one of the most common mistakes on LinkedIn is to treat it the same way as other platforms – it should not be used the same way you would use Facebook, Instagram or, the world’s most recent phenomenon, TikTok!
LinkedIn is a professional network which means there’s no space or need for holiday pictures and political rants. While jokes and light-hearted posts will find their way to your newsfeed, you should think twice about liking or commenting on anything controversial.
Remember that your connections will be able to see what you engage with. While other social networks are much more private, almost every interaction you have on LinkedIn may be visible on the newsfeeds of those you are trying to impress.
2. Uploading a bad profile picture. A quality photo will make a good impression.
If you’ve been following my posts on LinkedIn, you’ll have read about the importance of a good profile picture. This is one of the first places that you can make a great impression and showcase your brand. Failing to upload a profile picture is one of the most basic mistakes on LinkedIn – it will make you look spammy and untrustworthy, while a bad profile picture will make you look unprofessional and sloppy – not quite the look you’re aiming for!
Consistency is paramount when it comes to branding, so if you’re trying to come across as reliable and professional, you should look reliable and professional. Your picture should be good quality with a high res, good lighting and a non-distracting background. In other words, it should show you in a business setting and not in a bar in Ibiza in 2012!
Take a look at this post for a quick checklist to go through when selecting a profile picture.
3. Focusing too much on themselves. Your profile is not just an online CV.
Writing your profile as though it’s just an online CV is one of the most common mistakes on LinkedIn that can do more damage than good. Listing your achievements, work history and not much else is unlikely to create opportunities, as prospects will head to more engaging profiles that are written with the client in mind.
Instead, your profile should outline how you can solve a problem. Show your potential clients and prospects what you can do for them and keep your goals in mind while you are outlining your skills and achievements. Remember that your LinkedIn is an extension of your website and your personal brand, so your profile should showcase what you can bring – and not just list your education and work history.
4. Wasting the summary. Avoid spammy sales copy and cheesy statements.
One of the most important elements of your LinkedIn profile is your About section, but all too often one of the biggest mistakes on LinkedIn beginners make is to waste this precious real estate. A bland, salesy summary is a big no-no, and most people will see straight through vague claims, cheesy statements, and meaningless business jargon. If it’s something you might hear on BBC’s The Apprentice, it’s best avoided!
Easier said than done, but a great summary will be a combination of storytelling, sales and personality – with a highly persuasive CTA to finish. The first two lines are the most important as this is all the reader can see before they click ‘see more’. These lines must be compelling and make a client want to read on.
Bullet points, lists and short paragraphs will break up the space and make your summary more engaging. Keep it snappy and easy to read but try to make the most of the 2000-character limit.
5. Setting up a profile and that’s it. Don’t forget to interact and post.
If you don’t share anything on LinkedIn, your profile will go unnoticed. Failing to interact with prospective clients and connections is a common LinkedIn mistake and the number one reason why so many LinkedIn beginners don’t see results.
Once you’ve set up your profile, you need to start interacting. This means building your connections, sending personal messages and regularly engaging with content you respect and the content of potential clients. LinkedIn scores every user with their own Social Selling Index (SSI), so you can see if you’re doing the right things. This monitors how effectively you are establishing your brand, and can help you to find the right people, engage with insights and build relationships.
Post your own quality, valuable content, and regularly comment on relevant news on your homepage. This will help you to be seen as a reliable, trustworthy voice, and make you the first port of call when prospects are looking for someone in your industry.
6. Sounding like everyone else. Focus on what makes you stand out.
LinkedIn beginners often get lulled into using jargon and vague claims to boost themselves or their brand. The good news is that copying everyone else requires very little effort. The bad news? Well, you’ll blend seamlessly in with other businesses and be very unlikely to attract new clients!
Spend some time figuring out what it is that makes you unique and sets you apart from the competition. This could be your results, your experience, a certain event or even your personality. People are far more likely to remember you if you are unique, so don’t be afraid to do something a little different.
7. Connecting with anyone and everyone. Stay within your niche.
Many LinkedIn beginners are still under the impression that the more connections you have, the better you look. Connecting with too many people is one of the most common mistakes on LinkedIn and can in fact make you look spammy. Plus, you’ll end up with such a large amount of content on your homepage, you may miss valuable posts.
Unlike other social networks, connecting with someone on LinkedIn will lead you to see posts from those that they are following. This means that too many random connections will overwhelm your homepage with both relevant and totally irrelevant content, including posts from industries that may have nothing to do with your brand.
Add relevant people and interact with relevant content. You’ll find the news on your homepage stays applicable to your industry, and it’ll be far easier to have meaningful interactions with those who matter.
While building your brand on LinkedIn is a slow process, just a few minutes a day should start to make a difference. Above all, ensure your profile is on brand and your content is quality. Combine this with meaningful interactions and you’ll soon start to see results.