7 Mistakes You’re Making on LinkedIn

June 30, 2015


“It’s all about who you know.”

Anyone with a business understands the power of that statement. Personally, my business grows every time I focus on strengthening my network. It’s pretty remarkable.

In the online world, you may feel desperate to grab the attention of others. I understand. It’s hard to do with just 140-characters or when your Facebook post is shown to less than 20% of your audience.

And that’s where LinkedIn steps in to save the day.

I love this platform. It’s like the business mixer that never ends. Small business owners, consultants and freelancers can all benefit from a smart investment in LinkedIn networking.

A strong, optimized profile helps you stand out from the crowd and attract new leads. It’s wonderful to find your LinkedIn inbox full of new leads each week. But you need to do everything just right to make this dream a reality.

In today’s article, we’re going to discuss some common LinkedIn mistakes. These things will keep you from reaching your fullest potential on the platform. Avoid them at all costs.

You Don’t Invest Time in Getting Recommendations

“A lot of times recommendations are really generic. Such as, ‘Alyson would be an amazing asset to your company because she is a hard worker and a wonderful addition to our office.’ Well, great. How about something more detailed, like about that time you worked on a specific project together?” – Kim Brown, Assistant Director for Career Services at Syracuse University

Try to get personalized recommendations, like the kind that wouldn’t apply to any other candidate.

Encourage past clients to include information about specific results you helped the company achieve. Doing so speaks to specific qualifications that set you apart from everyone else.

You Haven’t Written an Engaging Summary

You get 2,000 characters for your LinkedIn summary, and you should use them all. Here are a few tips for writing an engaging summary:

  • Write directly for your target audience. Think of your ideal client and imagine writing the summary for that person only. Yes, it’s like a buyer persona for your LinkedIn profile.
  • Tell a story. People love stories. Lure prospects in with an informative narrative that outlines what you do. Write in first person and use a conversational tone.
  • Write about your achievements. This idea stems from the practice of listing benefits, not features. For example, you don’t want to just tell people you can do social media. Write about a quantifiable result you gave a client through your social media services.

You Don’t Have a High-Quality, Professional Photo

A picture is worth 1,000 words. And on LinkedIn, your picture could mean the difference between a prospect contacting or overlooking you.

You face should take up 60% of the frame. It’s a headshot, not a space for an action shot of you in the middle of a hobby. Crop the photo from the shoulders to the top of your head.

The photo should look like you. Make it recent and reflect how you look on a daily basis. Nothing’s worse than meeting someone in person and realizing they look nothing like their online photo.

A smile makes all the difference. Make yourself very approachable in the photo. Nothing too goofy or too serious. A pleasant, approachable smile works best.

You Send Generic Connection Requests

Standing out on LinkedIn happens when you make it a personal experience. No one wants to deal with generic, impersonal requests, messages and inquiries.

When sending a connection request, make it personal:

  • Share how you met/know them.
  • Find something you both have in common.
  • Reference something in their profile.
  • Always be honest with your intentions.

People love feeling special. And taking a few extra moments to make a connection request personal will go a long way.

You Don’t Get Involved in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups can add immense value to your overall strategy on this social network, as they give you the opportunity to engage with targeted communities and build relationships.

Use these tips when getting involved with groups:

Go where your ideal prospects spend time. If you work as a graphic designer for small businesses, don’t just join graphic design groups. Join groups for small business owners. That way, you’re getting in front of the right people.

Establish yourself as a thought leader. Answer questions that arise about your speciality. Share insightful articles that would benefit your target customer. Comment on articles that others share. Go out of your way to provide value in every interaction.

Don’t join too many groups. More groups doesn’t necessarily mean more leads. Become a leader in a few groups, rather than a distant participant in many. You don’t want to overextend yourself and lose out on the value of this approach.

You Don’t Write Posts Using LinkedIn Publishing

LinkedIn Publishing gives you a place to write in-depth posts and get in front of new audiences. As LinkedIn’s blogging platform, you should use a similar strategy as you do with your own blog.

  • Use powerful, engaging headlines.
  • When appropriate, incorporate data, research and quotes from experts.
  • Break your posts up with concise sub-headings.
  • Use a conversational tone.
  • Embed visual media for enhanced engagement.
  • Link to other relevant posts from around the web.
  • End it with a strong call-to-action.

Publishing posts on LinkedIn helps you build an audience, engage with new prospects and increase your authority. Don’t neglect this part of the platform.

You Never Treat it Like a Social Networking Platform

Remember, LinkedIn is a social network, not just a place to house your resume. Get involved with groups, reach out to others via private message and share valuable content.

Have a social mindset with everything you do on the platform.

Like I said in the beginning, it’s like the business mixer that never ends. So, while you can use this network to showcase your skills, you need to get involved and show your social side as well.

Are you guilty of these mistakes? Which one hinders you the most? Leave a comment on this article with your most common mistake and what steps you’ll take today to fix it.

And don’t forget – if you know of others that could benefit from a more optimized LinkedIn strategy, share this article with them via Facebook or Twitter.


about the author

Freelance Contributor Justine Grey empowers creative entrepreneurs to diversify their income with affiliate marketing. Join thousands in her AffiliateAce community getting doable affiliate experiments and action tips every week.