This is a guest blog by Amanda Webb, a social media trainer, strategist, blogger, video-caster and speaker at Spiderworking.com who works with SME’s helping them in improve their social media strategies. She’s also the co-founder of Blog Awards Ireland and a partner in the social media training company We Teach Social.
If you’re a small business owner you will know how effective networking is. You meet potential customers, suppliers and even better, people who will recommend you to their contacts.
LinkedIn is the perfect online venue for networking but if you want to be successful you need to craft a profile that:
1. Introduces you to people
2. Tells people what you do
3. Makes people want to find out more
Many business owners fail at this. Here are 4 gaffes LinkedIn users make and how to fix them.
1. Setting up an account in your business name
LinkedIn is about person to person networking. When you set up your account it should be in your own name. Using your business name on a LinkedIn profile is like attending a networking meeting wearing a bag on your head with your business name written on it.
People visit your LinkedIn profile to find out about you, to find out if you are credible. If you are not using your own name you will scare them away.
LinkedIn does have a nice tool for businesses ‘Company pages’. Here’s more info on how to set these up.
2. Choosing a profile picture that doesn’t look like you
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for building business relationships that can be taken offline. When a lead that you have been chasing for months agrees to meet, make it easy for them to recognise you. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile picture looks like you so that they recognise you when they walk in.
– Cropping someone out of a shot. Disembodied noses or arms that creep in to cropped photos don’t look professional
– A selfie. LinkedIn Profile pictures aren’t about how good you look. Save your selfies for Instagram
– Being too casual. Avoid photos of you with a beer in your hand or a holiday snap. These are perfect for Facebook but not for your professional LinkedIn profile.
3. Not customising your professional headline
By default your professional headline is taken from your current job position. You have the option to customise this.
When you get an invite from someone who has just described themselves as ‘owner’, ‘CEO’, or ‘Executive’. It tells you nothing.
Instead of going with the default write your own. Think about keywords and key-phrases that you would like to be found for and include those in your headline. Most importantly of all tell people what you do.
4. Not spending time on your summary
If people like your profile picture and professional headline they will scroll down to find out more. Your Summary section is your opportunity to tell people more about why you are a good person to do business with.
It’s worth spending some time crafting your summary. Here’s some tips:
– Break up your text into easily digestible chunks. Reading on the web can seem like hard work when we are presented with long paragraphs. Keep your writing short and to the point.
– Use subheadings. There is no text styling available for your LinkedIn Summary. Instead of using bold or underlined text you can capitalise your sub headings to make sure they stand out.
– List your key skills.
– Include your contact information. This can be found elsewhere on LinkedIn but why make people click to find it? Add your preferred method of contact to your Summary.
– Include keywords and key-phrases you would like to be found for in searches.
Dee Sewell’s Summary is easy to read and helps me understand what she does.
These are just a few mistakes I see being made on LinkedIn. Are you guilty of any of them? Is there anything I’m missing? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.