Growing Your Business and Brand on LinkedIn: Mistakes to Avoid

It doesn’t matter if you are upper management or simply seeking to advance your career, using LinkedIn is an important piece of an individual’s overall personal branding efforts, but only if done properly.   Every day I see many people making horrific personal branding and personal marketing mistakes on LinkedIn and in the real world.   Here are some of the more common mistakes that can hinder the effectiveness of LinkedIn and brand development.

LinkedIn Mistakes

One of the most significant mistakes LinkedIn users make is the failure to be active and interact with others.  According to ComScor Inc. LinkedIn users only spend 17 minutes per month on the site.  This demonstrates that most members are not using this free service to their advantage.  Be assured, however, savvy competitors in their markets are active users and attracting business.   To avoided this mistake be active, connect with others, communicate, reply to messages and create a schedule for when you will check in and participate.  A good way to demonstrate that you are active and to build brand recognition is to provide status updates regularly, comment on ongoing conversations, give recommendations and provide helpful information.

Hard selling on LinkedIn is a blatant social media faux pas that signals to others that you are either too inexperienced or don’t understand how to build relationships that lead to business. While LinkedIn isn’t the place to explicitly advertise your products and services, you can do so in a subtle and unobtrusive manner as noted in the Top 6 LinkedIn Mistakes.

Sales pitches, discount offers, and outright sales messages alienate the exact people you want to build trust and relationships with.  Trying to sell via LinkedIn, or social media in general, is akin to offering an expensive lobster dinner to a man who just finished a huge Thanksgiving dinner.  He may love lobster but there is no way he will even try it, especially at that exact moment.  Trying to force him to buy or eat in this case will simply drive him away and you will probably never have a shot to sell to him.   LinkedIn is about creating long-term relationships.  Aggressive selling will devalue the service you offer and hurt your brand.   More often than not these tactics are ineffective and only serve to anger other users and get you blocked and/or reported.

An incomplete or sloppy profile can give others the wrong idea.  Complete your LinkedIn profile to 100 percent to avoid being cast aside arbitrarily.  In addition, carefully proof the content in your profile to ensure it is factually accurate and grammatically correct.  LinkedIn is the social media site where people present themselves professionally; your profile should reflect your professionalism.

Failure to respond to LinkedIn requests or to participate in the conversation defeats the purpose of joining LinkedIn and actually works against you.  Sharon Gram  “Canada’s Career Strategist” reminds us all that LinkedIn is the only site on the entire Internet that offers business professionals insight and access to people, companies, industries, and jobs. Those who do not answer requests or In-mail are seen as flaky and aloof.  The goal is to appear professional and dependable.  The best way to get results from LinkedIn is to participate, respond to requests, answer In-mail, engage with others.  Be a part of the community and don’t go into social media hibernation.

 

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About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

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