Though LinkedIn was formally established in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and friends, who slowly grew it into the business powerhouse it is today, it doesn’t appear its recent linking of forces with Microsoft will overshadow them but continue to allow the company to grow and leverage its power.
Speaking of power at the writing of this post LinkedIn has 450 million members. Needless to say, the fact as a member you are exposed to millions of professionals, including top global brand presidents, CEOs, and CFOs of Fortune 100 and 500 companies (all through your connections), should remind you of the importance of utilizing proper business etiquette on the site.
In short, you may not discover, until it’s too late, who has viewed your less than stellar LinkedIn Profile and how it may have negatively impacted your possibility of attaining a valuable new connection, client or a well-paid business gig, for example.
Related Article: 10 Smart Ways to Start B2B Marketing on LinkedIn TodayHere are just a few benefits of a well-developed LinkedIn Profile:
- It can help you build connections and followers who can turn into clients
- Bring joint venture partners to your LinkedIn door
- Bring you new biz friends
- Market you and your brand 24/7
- Encourage companies and groups to hire you for freelance or permanent jobs
- Help you get hired for your dream job.
Seriously, what's not to like about all that? Bottom line: If you aren’t using LinkedIn to represent your personal or company brand in the best possible way, your unprofessional side may be showing.
Here are 7 ways in which your unprofessional side may be showing and seven tips for turning them into positives:
1. Are You Skimping on Facts and Background - Providing Nothing but a Laundry List of What You Can Do or Have done?
When it comes to another professional viewing your Profile, skimping on background can blatantly be announcing Take it or leave it, it’s all I’m providing. It’s a fact; we're all busy. But skimping on facts, which may incorrectly form a basis upon which a company determines who you professionally are, can cause some serious issues. Namely, it can suggest you may be untrustworthy, have a serious issue you are covering up.
- Tip: LinkedIn shows individuals with a 100 percent profile completion receive 40 percent more views.
2. You Fail to Respond to L.I. Email or InMail
Nothing says unprofessional like ignoring emails. The usual 24 to 48-hour response is best. Longer than that, or failing to respond at all, can definitely turn a potential connection or client off.
- Tip: Set a specific time, daily, to check on your LinkedIn emails; perhaps after checking regular emails.
Related Article: Why Most LinkedIn Profiles Fail to Drive Demand and New Business
3. You Leave Your ‘Auto Update’ On
By far, of all the ways in which you can err on LinkedIn, this is the most annoying of all. While connections do like to see an individual’s updates, unfortunately, if you are regularly making changes to your Profile several times a day or numerous times a week leaving the auto update on can seriously annoy them. Furthermore, it can cause good connections to disconnect and/or disengage with you.
- Tip: LinkedIn suggests updating your profile once or twice a week.
4. Your Profile Is Overpopulated With Industry or Geek-Speak
OK, so we know you have an MBA or a Ph.D. are a highly skilled tech, or actually are a rocket scientist. The fact is an overabundance of tech, industry or geek-speak will not necessarily impress; remember you want more than other industry people and geeks to connect with you. However, use these words as needed but don't abuse them by over-using them.
- Tip: Do some keyword search and find alternate words which best describe your expertise and stand-in for the usual geek-speak. It’s likely there are dozens of other keywords which can aid in describing your skills and expertise just as effectively.
5. Poor or No Profile Photo
It can't be overstated, a good profile photo helps build trust. A type of visual realism, it helps provide viewers with important information. For example a smile can show you are approachable; on the other hand, no smile may show you as too serious for a particular work scenario and/or unapproachable. It bears repeating: in today's competitive marketplace companies and individuals want to work only with people they know, like and trust. And, believe it or not, a good, smiling photo of you can ramp up the like and trust factors.
- Tip: To be taken seriously by other professionals, says LinkedIn, you should be the only one in the photo no pets, children or significant others.
6. Your Skills Are Inconsistent With What Is Included in Your Background Sections
- Skills listed should always represent your current work; work you want to be known for.
- Delete skills others have endorsed you for which you don’t possess or don’t relate to the current work or job you want to be known for.
- Never add in skills you haven’t utilized in the past five to seven years.
- It’s a no-brainer but never add skills you don’t qualify for.
- Tip: Reshuffle skills so those at the top, regularly endorsed, are moved to the bottom; and move less endorsed or overlooked skills to the top.
7. You Are Posting Non-Business Related Info, Photos and Video on Your Home Page or in Pulse Articles
LinkedIn is a site for professionals. Adding info, photos or videos which verge on questionable, or provide TMI, can cause people to doubt your reputation. Google says your reputation online identity "is determined not only by what you post but also by what others post about you whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update”.
In a nutshell, your online reputation is made up of everything about your business that exists online. The range of materials that could potentially impact your business' online reputation is much broader than you might realize at first.” Negative comments made, in response to your questionable posting/s, won’t help you and can seriously detract from your otherwise good rep.
- Tip: If a video, photo or info you intend to share, gives you pause, don’t post it.
Related Article: Quick Tips to Improve Your Résumé in Just 5 Minutes
When you keep your LinkedIn Profile up to date, clearly describe your services or products, search engine optimization (SEO) by including a few descriptive keywords and steer clear of the issues listed above your LinkedIn Profile will continuously speak for you. Providing you authority, high visibility. And, very importantly, it's marketing you 24/7.