As a seasoned business coach, I’ve been on LinkedIn for a really long time. Whilst others say how much they love Facebook or Instagram, I actually really enjoy LinkedIn and find it very effective for business. However, I do see some professionals make some pretty ordinary mistakes on this platform.
Let me share my personal thoughts on what I hate seeing on LinkedIn – and probably what I’ll bet a lot of you hate seeing too!
1. A profile without a photo.
It’s a statistical fact; less people will accept your connection request. This goes across all platforms. Please also make sure your photo is a professional one – remember, LinkedIn is a professional network … it’s not Facebook where you can potentially get away with a photo of you in party mode.
2. Impersonal requests.
If you’re going to ask me a favour, or expect me to read something, or even ask to connect with me, it does work heaps better if you personalise the request – that is – use my name. Take it a step further and actually take a moment to glance at my profile; is your request relevant? Only this week I was asked if I’m considering writing a book. If that person had read my profile, they would know I’ve written six. If they even glanced at my title, they would see “Multi Published Author”.
Think this is probably the best word for it. As a woman, I get those messages from people overseas, who work in one place, perhaps the USA, born somewhere else and live yet in another country. Usually, their name is two first names, like David Robert. The photo is often of a man in uniform (or in one case the image of George Clooney) and they start the conversation with calling you ‘dear’ or ‘beautiful lady’. Or 10 messages with simply the word ‘hello’. My advice; immediate disconnection (and if you have the time, report it).
4. Selling straight up.
Hey, I’m a coach and I appreciate the purpose of being present on these platforms is – however, I strongly recommend you refrain from selling from the first moment. I absolutely hate the first things I read from you is “Thanks for connecting … sell, sell, sell”. Instead of selling, try actually offering some help or giving something to someone, rather than jumping into full sell mode from the second we connect.
5. Blatant Spamming.
Don’t send a message to me addressed Dear ,…. where clearly someone has forgotten to insert my name. In fact, if you cannot include my name, I am really going to consider you’re just spamming your connections. If you want a message to be read, then be sure to use my name, and please do try to spell it right.
6. Long-winded messages.
Remember that more than 55% of emails are accessed now from a mobile phone, and even more people are accessing social media on a mobile device. For this reason, when you send over a letter/mail which is very long, on a smaller screen it seriously goes on FOREVER. Everyone is busy and no one has time to read long spiels. Get to the point, be succinct and ditch those long meandering messages that will not get read.
7. Gone AWOL.
If you bother having a profile, then bother being on it. I’m not saying be on every hour, or even every day if you absolutely don’t have the time. However, ensure you do spend some regular time on LinkedIn and reply to messages, accept (or reject) connections and generally actually monitor your profile. I have seen people not be active for more than six months; it’s unprofessional and sends a negative message. If you are not going to post, at least like and comment on a few posts so that your connections know you’re still alive.
8. Update your Profile.
Ok, this isn’t so much something I hate seeing, but you do yourself a disservice when you don’t keep your profile up to date. I was just looking at a new client’s profile this week and he hasn’t even got his current business listed; it’s literally years out of date. I recommend, at the very least, you review your profile once a year – although more often is better. For the same reason, have a full and complete profile and not just the bare bones. Don’t just tell us your duties list, but tell us how you rocked that position and what you accomplished. Remember, LinkedIn is far more than an online resume.
9. Connect to people.
Lack of connections isn’t a hate of mine, but again, you’re doing yourself no favours if you don’t take a little time to connect with your network. These days, people focus so much on getting an email address, but with email marketing starting to wane, I find LinkedIn connections are almost for life (as long as you don’t do the wrong thing). If I see you have 13 connections, I’m wondering whether you have no friends, or you’re anti-social, just don’t care about your online profile or no one knows you and wants to connect? Make it a routine to connect with those you meet. Before long you’ll find yourself with a nice number of contacts.
We are all human; however, the number of people who have a typing mistake on their resume or in their online profile is just not on. I was actually helping a client shortlist some candidates recently and one young lady has 10 typos on page one of her resume, 8 on page two and that’s where I stopped. Ask a friend or colleague or family member you trust can spell to proofread your profile (or your resume) to ensure it’s error-free.
Don’t ask or (or offer to give) a fake recommendation. If you ask me to recommend you and I barely know you, I am a little offended that you don’t see me as someone of integrity. My recommendations, reviews and referrals are always genuine; I connect people to those I know and trust. Like, know and trust doesn’t happen overnight and certainly not after three seconds.
12. Stay Cool.
Over the years I’ve had people make all sorts of requests of me; from selling to me, to expecting me to sell their product for them. What is not cool is getting cranky with someone because they politely say ‘no thanks’. Whilst your main focus is you and your business, remember the other person’s focus is not all about you.
LinkedIn is an exceptional platform for professionals and business owners to be on. In fact, even trade business owners should have a profile. It positions high in Google rankings and allows people to check you out. Be sure your website and LinkedIn profile (and any other online listings) are consistent – both from a branding/message angle to a content perspective. If you feel so inclined, connect with me on LinkedIn – love to connect with you – click on my LinkedIn.