Marketing

What your LinkedIn profile says about you (and your business) and 10 ways to make it better

- July 15, 2019 6 MIN READ

Within a few minutes people will form a judgement on you from your LinkedIn profile, your photo, your engagement, what you say, how you say it, what you do and contribute on this fabulous platform. If you look and sound like a Donkey ass that sure isn’t a good look. Sue Parker explains the top 10 mistakes to avoid.

We are well past the need in 2019 to have to convince anyone that LinkedIn is the No. 1 go-to social media platform for professionals and businesses.  It’s just now tacit and here in Australia there are 10+ million members with circa 44% using the site weekly and more so monthly.

But so many people are just doing it wrong which is such a pity.  If you inadvertently come across as a bit of a Donkey Ass on LinkedIn you will be leaving opportunities on the table (or paddock) and not reaping a good piece of the great LinkedIn pie of opportunity.

Within a few minutes people will form a judgement on you from your profile, your photo, your engagement, what you say, how you say it, what you do and contribute on this fabulous platform.   If you look and sound like a Donkey ass that sure isn’t a good look.

I’m from the marketing notion of  both vibrancy and realism. This means I call out with equal fervour the brilliant and the bulldust (donkey ass in this instance).  And alas there is plenty of bulldust on LinkedIn in member’s paddocks. And this can and does really compromise success and brand authority in the short term and long term.

Many can be a bit of an Ignorant Donkey Ass – they have been given poor advice and follow it blindly – or are just unaware of how to navigate and use the tools and platform. Or there is the   arrogant Donkey Ass who flouts and disregards good practices, engagement and branding strategy. 

But if an either an Ignorant or Arrogant Ass let’s look at how to rectify the mistakes.  And I guarantee that the impact of tweaking and updating will result in a far better result, more engagement and brand recognition.  So let’s sort the wheat from the chaff.

No. 1 Mistake:    Summary written in 3rd person

Never ever write your profile summary in the 3rd person.  It sounds pompous and disconnected and you just sound like an arrogant jackass.     Unless you are super famous, a politician or a Chairman of a major company etc – always write in the 1st person.

The notion that 3rd person profiles are more professional, hold more gravitas and impact is bullocks.   It mostly creates a disquiet of distrust via the delivery syntax and self-importance tone. There are clever ways to blend 1st and 2nd person at high levels too.

No. 2 Mistake:  Headline – Tacky, Minimal, Salesy, Tacky 

Headlines are critical for targeted keywords searches and brand and service clarity positioning. It’s not a sales pitch field. So no ass salesy gimmicks, $$ metrics, connection no’s etc.  The ‘we help…..’ is boring and quite tacky.

It is against the LinkedIn User Agreement to add mobiles, URLs.  Be clear, direct, and relevant and think of how people would want to search for what you do. Sure add your company name but only as an adjunct to what you do. And whilst Emoji’s are cute, keep them to a minimum.  And no waffle jargon puffery words please. 

No. 3 Mistake:     No Visual Appeal – Photo or Banner

Images convey a thousand words as we are visual beasts (excuse the pun).  A great photo and inspiring profile banner are vital. Both encourage curiosity, build personal brand trust & business value positioning.  No old pictures, sunglasses, wedding, group or animal pics etc. If you are too scared to have a photo up for whatever reason, just don’t even bother with LinkedIn. And have it visible to everyone, not just connections. 

Don’t have the default blue banner or a useless and boring piece of scenery without any branding elements, taglines or visual alignment.  This is the space to SHINE and position your business and value. It’s like a front page to a personal website after all.

No. 4 Mistake: Name Field Stunts

Oh gee this is where the donkeys come out to play the name field is just for your First and Surname – period.  Sure you can add Dr, Prof Etc or Credentials but NO extra information (it’s against the LinkedIn User Agreement again).  It looks like a desperate ploy for attention. And honestly if everyone has extraneous information in their name field the whole Content Feed looks messy and cluttered.   Stop trying to game you look like an ass – again NO emoji’s not the right spot. Sorry.

No. 5 Mistake:     Profile – Tone & Clarity

Tone and clarity matter.  If your profile is one of the below – you are not doing yourself any favours:

  1. Switzerland – full of clichés, dull, nothing special   – oh hum, could be anyone!
  2. Ostrich – head in sand, no summary, minimal information – where are you, who are you!
  3. Donald Trump – tacky, hyperbole, self-aggrandizing – me, me, me!

Profiles should inform, impress & inspire action. Great ones communicate Who, What, Where, & Why with crystal clarity and a tone that builds trust in a tone that matches the true personality of the person. :

No. 6 Mistake: Connecting – Lazy, Pray & Spray 

Do you invite people to a party and ignore them because you want big numbers to make your party look good? Or open your home to every Tom, Dick & Mary in the suburb? So why spray & pray connection requests without thought or value?   

Don’t be lazy in connecting.  Be strategic and think why you want to connect with someone and share it. .  Don’t just connect just to build your network for quantity and vanity. It has no long term value. People want to feel special too.

Don’t use 3rd party automation plug in apps. It’s against the User Agreement again (sorry to harp on this but LinkedIn take breaches very seriously and you can be booted off and suspended.  Automation is BAD news for connecting and it’s lazy with people being fed 

Fed up receiving invitations that are tick & flick without any personalised or clear relevance.

Try and demonstrate you have cared and taken interest in their profile  

No. 7 Mistake: Bad Manners

Good manners is like a healthy diet – it’s the most days that matter not occasional lapses. We are all human. Time and other issues can catch us out. Good manners build trust and brand equity. Bad ones erode as people observe you directly &/or lurk behind the screen.

Be respectful to people.  Send messages to those who have connected with you or to you.

Respond to engagement on your posts.  People have taken the time to engage don’t ignore them.

There is a huge issue of plagiarism on the platform – enough said DON’T do it. Share people’s content and tag them and show gratitude. Be supportive. 

No. 8 Mistake:  Content & Videos – Value, Brags, Quality

It’s noisy in the paddock. Impact is the name of the game with big variances on how people prefer to consume content. So a rounded strategy of posts, articles, videos, audio & PDF docs is vital.  Content should add value, educate, and entertain. Aim for 75% on your subject matter space & industry issues.

Videos –   Just because you can take a video on your mobile at the drop of a donkey hat & upload doesn’t mean you should. 70% shouldn’t see the light of day. Don’t follow like sheep believing that video is the only way to succeed

Posts/Articles – focus on quality over quantity. Be unique. Give value & thought to helping and educating.

Keep personal stuff to a minimum or tie to a business message. 80% topic value & education, 20% promotion is a good mix. 

Humblebrags – look disingenuous i.e. I’m so humbled – I was privileged – It was an honour blah blah.  It’s quite transparent and boring. Share success and situations with facts with powerful narrative.  

Excessive ego back patting how awesome people are – ditto. Show off ‘I’m here’ posts without value- ditto

No. 9 Mistake:  Hashtags & Tagging – Going Overboard

It’s Donkey paddock overboard with excessive tagging & hashtag stuffing. Both tools are brilliant but in professional moderation. Going crazy can damage future reach, looks desperate & without strategic thought.  Less is definitely more for strategy and brand equity.

Hashtags:  These help find aligned content.  Stuffing 20 or so hashtags on a post is an ass thing to do.  Keep to no more than 5 or 6 maximum. Be strategic and consistent to keywords.

Tagging:  Excessive tagging of people looks desperate and can compromise your algorithm reach.  If people you tag don’t respond the algorithm will be impacted. Tag those who you know will want to see that content.  It’s embarrassing to be tagged into something you would never want to engage with. And forget trying to tag in big name “influencers” – attention seeking err. 

No. 10 Mistake:  Channel Mixing & Balance

LinkedIn deserves a major place at the marketing & social media table. But in an ever evolving digital & media landscape relying on it 100% is crazy as it’s not your owned asset.

A strategic mix of bought, earned & owned assets is key for marketing balance.

And don’t think you can get away with just a LinkedIn presence and no Website – an ass mindset there that will diminish your credibility.  People love to look off a social media site to a website for more information and context.

And for wellness and life-work balance, let’s be honest the platform can become very addictive with the hook of engagement, vanity appeal, FOMO becoming unhealthy.  Have some good balance on it, but don’t put all your efforts into LinkedIn.  

So have balance and enjoy the field and numerous opportunities.  

Don’t make these Donkey Ass mistakes so you become an authentic LinkedIn Inspiring star and attract the opportunities, clients and networks you wish to target.