How to Avoid 9 common mistakes on Linkedin

What separates the great networkers from the amateurs? The clue’s in the name: ‘Network’. People do things on line that they would never dream of doing person-to-person. The best networkers behave online exactly as they would in a room full of people.

Lots of articles describe how to create a more marketable LinkedIn profile, how to find the right groups to join, how to choose the best profile photo etc.

Since most people understand the value of taking those steps, let's go deeper. To really harness the power of, don't make these 8 common mistakes on LinkedIn:

1. You give only so you can get

Connect with people on LinkedIn and you can write a recommendation that gets displayed on their profile.

That's fine, unless you're only giving recommendations because you want one back.

Give genuine recommendations. Recommend because you want to, not because you expect to get a recommendation in return. The people who know and respect you may return the compliment. If so, that’s great, if not, no harm done – and your face is still on their profile.

2. You just don't give

Successful networking is based on giving. Endorsements are an easy way to give: Go to someone's profile, click a few boxes, maybe click a few plus signs - done.

Endorse another person's skills and you not only give them a virtual pat on the back, you may also help them show up in search results.

Show other people you respect their skills. Sure, it may be a good networking move, but making other people feel good about themselves is reason enough.

3. You wait till you need

If you put off making solid connections until the day you need something--customers, employees, a job, or just a better network--then you've waited too long. Think about where you someday want to be and start now to build the connections, the network, and the following that will support those goals.

Building great connections is a parallel, not a serial, task. Later is always too late.

4. You forget where you are.

People use LinkedIn as a professional/business social network – even if their only purpose is looking for a job.

So when you leave comments, share material, post articles and so on, take the ranting outside. You never know when a potential employer, employee, customer, vendor--anyone--may notice. This doesn’t mean you can never disagree nor conduct debate or take a different perspective – just keep it polite, logical and professional

Safe, at least where being professional is concerned, means never having to feel sorry.

5. You don't share.

The easiest way to update and customise your profile is to share. Content you share appear in your Activity Stream, giving other people a great look at what you're doing and what you're interested in and creating a running journal where others can learn more about you.

Plus your connections can respond by liking or leaving comments, which helps you avoid another mistake...

6. You don't care.

Want to know what your connections, your network, or your audience thinks is important? Want a better sense of interests and perspectives you share?

Share, and then watch your Activity feed. See what people ‘like’. Read the comments.

The only way to better know people is to listen to what they have to say. Make it easy to listen: Share, see what strikes a chord and what doesn't. It's the perfect way to get direct feedback and build stronger connections. See your Activity feed as real-time feedback from the people you reach--and want to keep reaching.

7. You ignore your team

Relationships, referrals, and rapport are powerful ways to open doors.

The people you work with have networks – some might have really good networks (if then maybe they can be encouraged to build one) When you're looking for an ‘in’, see if someone on your team already has the right connection.

Chances are they do.

8. You don’t take the trouble

People appreciate it when you take the trouble.

"I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."

Yeah, I know you're busy. Still, is using the auto-generated LinkedIn connection text really the best you can do - and it smells of spam

Delete the generic message and take a few seconds to say how you know the person. Or to say what you have in common. Or to say something complimentary. Unless you're just trying to boost your numbers, you have a good reason for wanting to connect, so tell the connection that reason.

9. An Inapropriate Photo

Or worse, fail to use a photo at all. It's just a fact that profiles without a photo get fewer views and fewer connections. Why would you connect with someone who's afraid to show what they look like and why would you hire anyone who was too lazy to find a photo. There's a whole other blog on mistakes with profile picturesand how to get it right.

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