Every business owner and professional on the planet is at least familiar with the social media behemoth LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest professional online network with more than 600 million professional profiles worldwide. LinkedIn has certainly evolved into an extraordinarily powerful, go-to platform for business connections, but it also really acts as square-one in a business owner’s personal branding strategy. That is not always a good thing, as there are many even high-level LinkedIn users whose profiles are underwhelming or unprofessional for any number of reasons.
Imagine if you will a potential customer who is weighing his options between two potential small business partnerships. He goes to LinkedIn to connect with the business owner of both companies. The first business owner has a polished and complete profile page replete with worthy information on her expertise, experience, and the value of her services. The second business owner has only posted his name and the name of his business on his profile page. And the business name doesn’t even match that of the business owner’s current company. All else remaining equal, who do you suspect made the best first impression? Based on that limited LinkedIn profile data, who would you most likely reach out to first?
The good news is that revamping and refining your LinkedIn profile requires very little time and effort. And once completed, it really doesn’t need much maintenance.
Of course, other aspects of LinkedIn like posting, connecting and engaging are also important, but for right now, we are going to strictly focus on that lackluster profile of yours. Let’s give it a makeover.
5 Biggest Mistakes on Your LinkedIn Profile and How to Fix Them
1. In Name Only.
So you slapped your name at the top of your LinkedIn profile because everyone told you that you had to be on the platform. But such bare minimum effort probably does more damage than good to your personal and professional brand. At the bare minimum, include your title, company name, and at least a few sentences of insight in the “About” section of your profile. Tell us what you do, what your company vision is, your differentiators, and what keeps customers coming back. Keep it real.
2. A Shoddy or Missing Profile Picture.
If you have a professional headshot, terrific, upload it to your profile. But if you don’t have one and have no plans to get one taken, a photo from your camera is better than no profile picture at all. Just make sure that it is a closeup of your face, is in focus, and you are reasonably dressed, posed, and positioned. Don’t include a family shot or obvious vacation photos. Your profile picture should reflect yourself as a business owner, not a beachcomber.
3. Key Word Overload.
A lot of social media gurus insist that packing the “Title” line in your LinkedIn profile with keywords is the way to go. While doing so may lead to a bump in you turning up in search results, it can also come off as gimmicky if done to excess. So yes, include keywords that relate to your industry, but try to avoid “keyword stuffing” as it can reflect poorly on your brand.
4. Listing Every Position.
Business owners in particular don’t need to feel compelled to list every position they have ever held. Consider leaving off dated experience, unless it wields significance or, well, swagger. Use your best judgment. For instance, if in 1998 you were a Managing Director at Apple, that likely lends to your gravitas and would likely make the cut. But maybe a six-month assistant manager stint at a lesser-known company can be omitted. Again, only keep the stuff that’s relevant.
5. Using Stock Phrasing or Industry Word Salad.
Have you ever asked a business owner what they do, but when they are finished explaining, you still don’t quite get it? This is usually due to the person infusing a whole lot of verbiage while actually saying very little. Most business owners have fine-tuned their elevator speeches verbally, but many still have issues getting that positioning down on paper – or in this case, on their LinkedIn profile. Whether you are listing experience and services in your History or your Summary, be sure to use real, accessible wording. Don’t make your Connections struggle to understand what you do and the value your business provides your customers.
Adding a little polish to your LinkedIn profile doesn’t need to be time consuming, and really only requires maybe 30 minutes of effort once every year or so. So why not take the time now to give your LinkedIn profile the professionalism and attention you and your business deserve?