Last week I wrote about the top 5 mistakes on LinkedIn. The list was made up of mistakes that were strategic in nature, and dealt with mistakes that affected your ability to monetize LinkedIn. Today we take a look at the Top 5 mistakes from a tactical perspective. These mistakes affect your credibility, success in connecting, and ability to generate success.
1. Typos, Grammatical Errors, Pointless Info
If I had to choose one area that I am guilty of violating my own advice it would be this one. Typos just happen. I write most of my posts now in Word to avoid misspellings, yet I constantly get caught by misspelled words that are simply the wrong word spelled correctly. “Your” instead of “you”. “Can” is “an”. And many others.
Its always fun to write a post that talks about typos only to receive emails from my readers correcting errors. I still feel strongly about the subject, but I’ve come to terms that for me they will periodically occur. In the end its a function of time and with the growth of the blog and the need to continuously add content (and run my two other companies), I’ve chosen to rely on help from my readers. Hopefully the content is valuable and can overcome a typo here or there.
Also make sure that you are providing relevant content. Pointless information wastes time and adds no value.
What to do:
Write online posts in a word editor. Go back and read it after an hour or two. You’ll see things you missed. Review your information to confirm that it is relevant to the conversation.
2. Canned Invitations…not personalizing your invitations
This one seems to be a topic I write about often and yet immediately after writing this post I will receive invitations using the canned LinkedIn text. LinkedIn could resolve this issue by simply changing the included text to “Add your invitation information”.
Until then you have a choice. Personalize the invitation and have close to a 100% positive reaction or use the canned text and have a 50/50 chance of your invitation being viewed positively. Given the potential for someone indicating “That they don’t know you”, personalization is as much a defensive action.
Personalization can be telling the invited how you know them, referencing common connections or groups, telling the person why you want to connect, and the value you bring to the table.
What to do:
Personalize the invitation.
3. Requesting Recommendations that haven’t been earned
Even worse is requesting an invitation from someone you don’t know. Its not your connections job to build your credibility.
I received a request to recommend a connections work this weekend. The problem is that I don’t know this person and have never used their services. I connect to others I don’t know because it increases the chances of unexpected opportunities finding me. I’m willing to help as much as possible, but writing a false recommendation isn’t one of those ways.
What to do:
Request recommendations only when earned from people you know. Give recommendation to only those who you know and who have earned them.
4. Keeping Your Public Profile Hidden
The people that you are connected to can view your complete profile. But what about people outside of your network who want to know more about you? If you have set your profile to be accessible to all members no problem.
If you haven’t you may be limiting your opportunities. There may be reasons to keep your profile hidden, but these are few and far between. If you want to attract opportunity you have to provide information that is viewable to all LinkedIn members.
What to do:
Make your profile viewable to the public. “Click on the “Edit Profile” tab and at the top right click on the “Edit Public Profile Settings” text link. Then click in the check boxes to allow all of your profile to be viewable and then save your settings. There is a link at the bottom of the page to view your Public Profile. Click on this to see how it looks.
5. Taking Negative Actions
Everything you do either adds or subtracts from your online brand (I’ve said this over and over…its that important) so act prudently. If you disagree with someone do so in a professional manner. If you answer a question provide a well thought out answer that adds value (answering 300 question in a week may get you on LinkedIn’s weekly expert list, but what it really says is that somethings wrong with your business if you have this much time on your hands)
If you don’t want to connect Archive the invitation rather than choosing the “I don’t know this person” option.(when you choose IDK the person sending the invitation can see that you did so. That may not matter but it creates a negative perspective about you that may not affect you but is better not existing.)
I could write for hours on this one topic but if you use common business sense you can avoid most of these.
What to do:
Use common sense. I don’t know how many times I’ve typed up a response only to delete it once I thought about what it said about me.
This is just a small sample of tactical errors. Most are easy to avoid if you think about your actions before executing them. If you wouldn’t do or say it in person don’t do it on LinkedIn.
Bonus Mistake: Unsolicited Sales Pitches
I really don’t need to explain this any further. If you want success on LinkedIn provide value and communicate your messages indirectly. Direct sales pitches are more likely to have a negative impact on your efforts.
If you would like to build a solid foundation on LinkedIn my “LinkedIn MBA” guide is a great resource. Its currently priced low at $4.97 for two reasons:
1. I want as many people as possible to build a solid foundation on LinkedIn. This leads to more activity and helps every other member; and
2. I want to create a desire in as many members as possible to get to the point that they want to go from using LinkedIn from a networking perspective to a money making perspective. I call it going from “Connecting to collecting”.
These two resources will help you take the next step. They do cost money but if you compare the cost to the time it would take to discover and learn the information included they are a cost effective way to learn LinkedIn.
Buy the books or simply continue reading the blog. Either way you’ll likely know more about LinkedIn today than you did yesterday.
**Don’t keep the blog a secret. Twitter, Digg, and other social sites are a great way to share with your friends and others.