Many business owners who want their company to be considered professional choose LinkedIn as their primary social media platform for a lot of reasons. One is that LinkedIn is less casual like Facebook and more streamlined to connect business owners with other business owners directly. It is more like a genuine networking tool for those who can’t afford to meet up at a giant conference or who are looking to find the perfect new job.

Like any social media platform however, there is a right way and a wrong way to use it. Today, we’re going to focus on the mistakes you can make on LinkedIn big time, the kinds of mistakes that can cost you…especially if you’re looking for a new job or want to connect with other businesses.

Not being personal

Personalized messages are a simple yet effective means of connecting with others on LinkedIn. There is the default message you can send when you click on “connect” on someone’s profile, which reads as: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” This is fine if you’re adding new connections such as close friends, but would you really want to send this to someone who doesn’t know you?

Personalizing the messages you send can go a long way. You need to really look at the other person, understand what they may be looking for in other contacts, and direct your message to their pain points. For example, try saying “I remember meeting you and your company at the latest technology unveiling event. I’d love to connect!”

Using LinkedIn like other platforms

We feel we have to repeat ourselves: LinkedIn is not Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not Instagram. It’s not Pinterest. It’s not like any of the other social media platforms you may think of when you decide to set up your own profile. That means you should treat it less like a casual, everyday platform and more like a platform you would use if you wanted to impress someone. Instead of posting photos about your family reunion, for example, post only work-centric ones such as your involvement with a corporate event. Casual photos will give off the impression that you don’t know why people are using LinkedIn.

Failing to follow up on connections

Let’s suppose you’ve gotten an interview thanks to a new connection. How would that person feel if you got through the interview okay but then never thanked them or followed up with an update on how things went? Failing to follow up on your connections with others on LinkedIn is a sure way to show your inconsiderate side. It is NOT a platform based on the number of connections you have; it’s how you respond and interact with these connections that matters.

Always send a thank-you message to your connections if they’ve managed to help you out in some way. Also thank the people who do accept your invitation to connect for doing just so. Gratitude and consideration go a long, long way in benefitting both you and your connections because it shows you remember and care about them.

No image of yourself

We know some people out there are very camera shy, and that’s fair if you are. However, everyone will agree that a profile with a photo is more likely to be trusted than a profile without one. In fact, a profile with a professional headshot gets 14 times more views than one without.

We mean it when we say professional headshot. Don’t use a photo of your company’s logo, and again, don’t use a casual photo like you would for Facebook or Twitter. A professional headshot is your best option.

Making it all about you—not others

Nothing turns people away than an invite that’s very specifically written out to be a sales pitch. Remember, you are on LinkedIn to connect and forge work relationships—trying to sell something off the bat makes you look desperate. Plus, the majority of people using LinkedIn are not looking at your profile wondering what’s in it for you—it’s what’s in it for them they’re thinking about.

With that in mind, you need to really show in your profile what kind of benefits the other person could receive by connecting with you (or in some cases hiring you at their company). Your profile should include recommendations by your other connections as well as credentials you may have achieved in the past that relate to your business or skill repertoire. It also establishes you as a source of authority in the desired work field you either are part of or want to get into.

Failure to proofread

Typos, weird names, spammy links in the profile headline—all of this adds up to the failure to proofread and edit your profile. It’s a dead giveaway for many who are looking for competent, capable people to join their team or connect with that you don’t care about others or you’re on there to add to the noise.

It’s also a good point to not add a link to your e-mail address lest spammers decide to use it for their nefarious purposes.

The solution to this point is a very simple one: proofread your profile! Also avoid adding links that may come across as untrustworthy.

Not adding LinkedIn to your website

If you have LinkedIn and a website for your business, these two things need to connect. Show that you have social media on your website in the event someone wants to know more about you or wants to connect with and follow your business.

If you don’t have LinkedIn on your website…or you don’t have a website at all…that’s where you need a bigger hand. Give us a call at V3 Media and we can help set you up with a secure, fast website as well as a LinkedIn profile you can be proud of. If you’d rather discuss all of this first, feel free to let us know — one-on-one consultations are another service we can make happen!