It’s that time of year when we take stock of our year’s activities and see where we have excelled – and where we have fallen behind. But we aren’t the only ones doing a business review: Santa is also checking us out to see if we fall into the LinkedIn naughty or nice list! Make sure you aren’t getting a lump of coal in your LinkedIn stocking this year.
Having a bad profile
There are a few common practices that will put your profile on the naughty list. The first is having more than one profile. Now, most people that have two accounts don’t even realize (so search for your name in the search box). If you do have more than one account, you can simply sign in to the account, go to your settings and close the account. But let’s face it: if you didn’t even know you had two accounts, you probably don’t even remember creating the “bad” one. So here’s a video on how to delete or merge your accounts on LinkedIn.
Basically, you want to grab the link of the bad profile, contact customer service in the help section and ask them to merge or delete the bad account. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Check out the video.
Another “bad practice” I see a lot is having something other than your name in the last name field. Talk about a naughty practice – this one probably cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. I went to social SEO training and the person giving it said to put your best keyword in the last name field of LinkedIn. So I became: “Viveka von Rosen: LinkedIn Expert.” The problem is, that totally goes against LinkedIn’s End User Agreement. The result was, LinkedIn blacklisted me and I went from getting about 20 consulting requests a week down to about three a month. Ouch!
Only put your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field. If you want to put your designations or certifications (Ph.D., ISC, MBA), you should feel free to do so – but nothing else! No email addresses. No phone numbers. No keywords. It will only harm you. If you really want that info in the top section of your profile, then put it in your professional headline instead.
The final naughty LinkedIn profile practice is having a bunch of spelling and grammatical errors. It’s making you look bad! Some browsers check for spelling, but I guarantee they aren’t catching all the errors. I mean, are you really going to do business with the “Cheif Executive Oficer”?
The solution is simple. Copy and paste your LinkedIn sections into a Word document, then use the spelling and grammar tool to catch any errors. And also use Grammarly, a free chrome extension that checks your spelling and grammar. Once you’ve copied and pasted your content into LinkedIn, launch Grammarly to identify any additional errors Word didn’t catch. There is a free version of Grammarly that works just fine.
You aren’t connected to the right people
Its not your fault, but it’s still costing you business. You have no idea on how to find and engage with your ideal prospects on LinkedIn. You know they are on LinkedIn (because everyone says so) but you can’t find or engage with them. LinkedIn is all about creating relationships. Whether you have a large or small network on LinkedIn, you’re probably going to want to spend a little time researching and getting to know some prospects in your LinkedIn network.
The trick to finding people on LinkedIn, especially with the new user interface, is using the word OR in your searches (if you have used boolean search in the past, OR is the only modifier that will work.) Once you get your search results you can further refine them by sorting by location, industry, company, language, non-profit interests and schools.
Once you get your search results, you might be surprised to see that you are already connected to some key prospects. That means you have invited them – or they have invited you – and you’re able to just send them a message. Or if you find someone who would be a good connection, invite them to connect, remembering to go the extra mile and customize your invitation!
You aren’t engaging
You might have a great profile and a healthy strategic network, but if you’re not staying in touch with your connections, you will be losing out on new business. I have so many clients who are 90% there. They have a great profile, they are connecting to the right people, and yet they are still not seeing any significant increase in the leads they’re attracting or deals they’re closing. It all comes down to increasing the KLT factor – the “know, like and trust” factor with your network. As my friend Bob Burg says, “All things being equal, people do business with people they know, like and trust.”
The solution is simple: communicate! Whether it’s sending messages on a regular basis to your connections, sharing updates (similar to Facebook posts or tweets) or writing full-length published posts, you have to stay in front of your network. And while it’s perfectly OK to repurpose your content (tweets, updates and blog posts), just remember that you want to share content that is relevant to your LinkedIn audience – so no piano-playing cats (unless you are a talent scout or veterinarian!). A little consistent communication on LinkedIn will go a VERY long way towards increasing trust, and therefore increasing your business on LinkedIn.
It’s nice to be nice
Just take care of the “naughty” practices from above and you will be well on your way to building a very nice business next year. And remember, it’s nice to be nice, so anything nice you can do on LinkedIn – share helpful content, pass along an introduction or endorse or recommend someone – can go a long way to ensuring your place on Santa’s LinkedIn nice list for 2017!
Café Quill has more tips on how to use LinkedIn to build your personal brand, but we’d love to hear what you have to say. Follow us on social media and join in on the conversation.