Ten Do's and Don'ts of LinkedIn
From the upcoming book, Branding Yourself, Second Edition
1. Do Upload a Professional Picture
This should be self-explanatory, but it is surprising how many starfish, cars, sunflowers,
people standing on the beach at sunset, and dogs we witness on LinkedIn
profiles. Honestly, who puts a picture of their dog on a professional networking
platform?The point of LinkedIn is to further your networking ability online as well as offline.
You want people to recognize you when you walk into a networking event. And
when you have a picture of your dog, that never happens. Upload a professional
picture to all platforms you are building your personal brand on, whether that is
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or your blog. We know you’ll want to be fun and
creative on those other sites, but don’t do it if you’re trying to create a professional
2. Do Connect to Your Real Friends and Contacts
Just like we tell children not to talk to strangers, the same applies to your LinkedIn
profile. It’s crazy to see how many people connect with strangers all over the
world because they want to “build up” their network on LinkedIn. Connecting
to hundreds of strangers will NOT help your network in LinkedIn.
Remember, the value of LinkedIn comes in the quality of relationships you have, not the quantity.
Think of it this way: If you ever have to ask someone for an introduction to someone
else, it’s rather a big letdown to get a message back that says, “Oh, I don’t actually
know them; they’re just in my huge network.” People like this do not provide
real value, so don’t become one of them.
3. Do Keep Your Profile Current
Let’s use an example for this. Erik is hanging out with Kyle, and there is a funky
smell coming from somewhere. Kyle asks Erik where that smell is coming from,
and Erik nonchalantly says he hasn’t changed clothes in three days. Does that
change the way Kyle is interacting with Erik? Of course!
Just like Erik neglected his appearance, the same concept applies to your LinkedIn
profile. If you neglect your profile, people will tend to forget and avoid you.
4. Do Delete People Who Spam You
In life and in LinkedIn, there are bad apples. There are times when contacts or
connections abuse the system and spam your Inbox with some new multilevel marketing
scheme or a new product or service they’re selling. It’s polite to ask them to
stop and rethink their strategy. They could be new to this, and maybe they made a
mistake. But if they continue to abuse your connection, delete them. They’re wasting
your valuable time by making you wade through their mess. Get rid of them.
5. Do Spend Some Time on Your Summary
Do you ever read an email, newspaper, or blog post when the headline is terrible?
Of course not. Your summary has the same effect on your LinkedIn profile. Be
extremely concise and specific when writing your summary. Get people excited
about reading your profile and connecting with you. Express your personal brand.
Express what you are passionate about. It may even be helpful to have a co-worker
or close connection review your summary.
6. Don’t Use LinkedIn Like Facebook and Twitter
There is a time and place for professional and personal content when building
your personal brand. We have discussed the importance of having places for both.
LinkedIn is a professional network, and although it is important to share some
personal content, don’t use LinkedIn as a personal network. That’s what Facebook
7. Don’t Sync LinkedIn with Twitter
Similarly, don’t automatically blend LinkedIn with Twitter. LinkedIn gives you the
applications and tools that allow you to connect your account with Twitter, which
means whenever you post a message to Twitter, it automatically posts to your status
update in LinkedIn.
Don’t do this. Ever. If you’re using Twitter correctly, you’re communicating with
connections, asking and answering questions, giving shout-outs to people across
the country, and even making plans for lunch. People on LinkedIn don’t want their
feeds disrupted by all your tweets.
Remember, too, that not everyone uses Twitter, so your colleagues on LinkedIn
may not know how to read some of the special characters and abbreviations
8. Don’t Decline Invitations. Archive Them
When a stranger asks you for a connection on LinkedIn, archive the invitation
instead of deleting it. There could be a time when you meet this person, and you
can refer to the previous invitation to connect with her. When a connection is
archived, it’s easier to keep track of it.
9. Don’t Ask Everyone for Recommendations
There’s no hard and fast rule about the number of recommendations you should
have. There’s no minimum, and some people think there’s no maximum. Just
remember that not every recommendation is important.
You do need to have at least two recommendations to reach 100% completion of
your profile, but they need to be valuable recommendations. Here are a couple tips
• Make sure you know the person—This seems obvious, but unfortunately
it is not. Basically, if you don’t know the person who’s asking
you for a recommendation, send her a nice note that says, “I don’t
know you!” You don’t need to give a recommendation to someone you
don’t know; similarly, you don’t need to accept one either.
• Ask your best clients—Happy clients are the best referral and recommendation
source for you. Make a list of 10 people to ask for a recommendation.
You don’t need 20 or 30 because 10 people talking about
you is more than enough to strengthen your LinkedIn profile and build
your personal brand.
10. Don’t Forget to Use Spelling and Grammar Check
Do you use spelling and grammar check on your résumé? The same idea applies to
your LinkedIn profile. Remember, your profile is technically a résumé, and we’ve
all been taught that our résumés have to be laser perfect. Spell check everything!
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