The Biggest Mistake To Avoid On LinkedIn

January 23, 2016

How many times have you received a message in your LinkedIn inbox that you KNOW was automated? A hundred other people got the same message, and frankly, it lacked any sort of personalization. And better yet, when you visited their profile afterwards, you clearly see that this person simply took their LinkedIn summary and pasted it in a series of emails to their connections (including you) and clicked send.

Now we are not the LinkedIn police, however, based on our experience there are far more elegant ways you can use to get your product and service across without pushing your agenda or coming across salesy. The thing to remember about LinkedIn and any other social media site is that you’re interacting with a LIVE human being on the other side of the computer screen.

Not a robot, interaction is key. Successful marketing is about providing value FIRST. This happens WAY before you start asking for website visits or downloads. So what are some ways you can achieve this outcome through LinkedIn?

1. Email Message

LinkedIn send message box

As mentioned earlier, if the first contact a person has with you is a cut-and-paste message promoting the virtues of you and your product/service, this is not only ineffective but it also has the potential to tarnish your personal brand. Instead of sending generic messages, take a moment to study the profile of the person you plan on starting a dialogue with.

Try to get a feeling of who they are and what they value. Then write an email message with a couple of sentences relevant to them and their interests.

For example, if the person you’re looking to build a relationship with is a lawyer, perhaps your first email could provide them a link to an article that has powerful strategies on how lawyers can grow their business. Not only is this very relevant but it shows them you’ve taken the time to share something very personal and targeted to their current role.

In turn, this will start the relationship and trust building process. Make sure each message you send to your network is relevant, targeted and highly valuable.

Making the first contact more personal means that you will send out fewer messages. However, the messages that you do send out will add more value to your network as compared to the generic cut and paste job.

If done correctly, this can result in more business conversations, meetings, and presentations. Remember that in today’s business world your first impression can be your best or last, and you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

2. Share Your Expertise

LinkedIn share updates

Sharing your expertise with others on LinkedIn is an easy way to add value whilst helping you to increase your engagement with your contacts, your followers, and even people outside of your network. Sharing news, insights, job tips, and other useful information via a status update will put you in front of your network. Studies show that status updates lead to high engagement rates.

The best strategy for boosting engagement rates with status updates is to post them regularly, keep the link titles to 70 characters or less, keep the description short (250 characters or less) and try to use pictures in your status updates as much as you can, your engagement and reach will be a lot higher. Below we’ve listed a few ideas you can share your updates:

1) Share links to interesting articles, websites or videos.

Use words that grab your reader’s attention and encourage them to click on those links. The links you provide don’t necessarily have to be to articles you’ve written, as long as they add value to your network. If the majority of your network are accountants it would make sense to share links to articles, reports or info-graphics that highlight key insights in the accounting industry rather than general articles on business.

2) Mention a person or situation that might be helpful to some of your connections.

For instance, “I just met with @johnsmith from @ABC Accounting and found out they’ve just won the award for coolest company in Australia.” The “@” before an individual or company name allows the reader to click through to that person’s LinkedIn profile or company page.

3) Share upcoming events, trade shows or conferences

you’re attending and encourage your contacts to join you or simply ask the question on who else will be attending. We’ve done this on many occasions and in the lead up to the event secured a few meetings with key partners and journalist.

3. Publish Articles

blog articles on LinkedIn

The LinkedIn publishing platform gives you the opportunity to expand your reach in a major way. Since all LinkedIn members have access to the platform, it’s critical for you to create high-quality content that differentiates you from the crowd.

Every time you write an article, your connections and followers will receive a notification on their profile that you’ve written a blog. If your headline is catchy and relevant enough they will click through and read your article. Here are 4 ways you can benefit from publishing content through LinkedIn:

1) The publishing platform matches your blog topic with users who share an interest in that particular vertical. This gives you an opportunity to create a two-way dialogue with that demographic and create a deeper relationship through relevant and highly targeted content.

2) Every post you write and publish is distributed to the news feed of your current connections. This is a great way for you to showcase your thought leadership on your chosen topic and add value to those within your network.

3) Sharing quality content is crucial whether it’s a matter of increasing influence or SEO purposes. The cliché stating “content is king,” still holds true and there’s no better place to store that content than the world’s largest professional network.

4) If your contacts like the article and decide to share that on LinkedIn or Twitter this will not only create greater exposure but those who aren’t connected with you; may like your work that much that they end up “FOLLOWING” you to receive more posts. In turn, this will create a following of people who will regularly receive your content within their news feed expanding your reach to share your expertise with far more people. Our founder Alex Pirouz now have over 12,200 followers on LinkedIn.

Additionally, published articles are searchable when people use the post search box. So, if you use the right keywords, your article could be easily found in a Google or LinkedIn advanced search.

4. Build Social Proof

Social Media Proof

And last but not least, you have the recommendation feature within your LinkedIn profile, something that it is commonly overlooked by many LinkedIn members we speak with. This is by far the most powerful feature to use on LinkedIn when you’re looking to build credibility, trust, and authority on your subject matter within your profile.

It’s one thing for you to write about your skills and expertise but it’s another for customers and influencers within your industry to speak highly about you. As your contact list grows and your contacts turn into clients, you will get to know them little by little.

Once you’ve engaged with them on some business level, reach out and ask that contact to write you a recommendation for you. In the meantime, start contacting your existing clients and ask them for recommendations using the tips below.

1) Targeted Recommendations:

Never ask for a recommendation for the sake of adding more to your LinkedIn profile. When you’re asking for recommendations it’s important to think about the most common objections you normally face, the number challenge your product or service solve for your target market and what makes you unique in the market place.

Once you have all these points written down, you then want to reach out to your contacts and ask them to write a recommendation based on one of those points. This will ensure that your recommendations are far more targeted and specific.

2) Make It Easy:

Make it as easy as possible for your connection to give you a recommendation. If you know a particular contact well and they are a good client of yours, write up the recommendation for them and sending it through for their approval.

Let them know that it is only a draft and if they don’t like it they can replace the entire copy with their own version. Obviously, only write based on the results you’ve achieved for them.

Most often you will find that your contact will make some small tweaks and shoot it back to you. This will save you a lot of time chasing up your connections or asking them to revise the copy given it didn’t quite hit the mark.

3) Authenticity:

And finally stay away from tacky and unethical recommendation tactics where someone you don’t know promises to write you a recommendation if you write one back. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve received an email from someone in our network suggesting that we should give each other a recommendation even though we have never done business. These are not people we want to do business with let alone recommend.

If you’re concerned whether if you go out and market yourself on LinkedIn alone that you may make similar mistakes then it’s always best to work with experts to ensure things are rolled out successfully. When venturing into anything new that is going to be so critical for your business it’s not worth the risk to your company and personal brand.

Lead Management Simplified

Say goodbye to spreadsheets, poor performing campaigns and hours of wasted time manually handling your leads on LinkedIn. Jayla will help you develop your overall strategy, manage your opportunities, set automated reminders to follow up prospects you’re in conversation with and track your ROI.

Still early days, but I've done just over

Stephen Brookes

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