There are a lot of foolish things I see done on LinkedIn every day, from not updating a profile for months, to mistaking it as a dating service. Guys, “Your profile picture is beautiful” or “I am interested in women in your area” are really bad first introduction lines on LinkedIn. But aside from those obvious lame actions, there are many areas where small improvements can make great advances in your profile being found by your ideal audience more often and then have it stand out to those who find it.
Here are 9 foolish things that too many are still doing (or NOT doing) and how to fix them:
Writing in 3rd Person Like Gina’s Doing Right Now.
Your LinkedIn profile is not a website. It is not a brochure. It is a personal profile that you create. Talk to me. Talk to those who are looking for your skills and talents. There is something very awkward (or very Bob Dole) about writing, “Gina and her team work with organizations to magnify their brand.” It makes people want to look around to see where you went and who did you leave here to talk about you.
Make your profile a place where you can share what you bring to the table for those searching for you. Share problems you solve, skills you possess that they need, and write in a conversational tone to connect with the reader.
Leaving Your Summary Section Blank or Very Skimpy.
LinkedIn has generously given you 2,000 characters to use to tell the world all about your awesomeness. Use every single one of those characters. While it may seem like a high school writing assignment, your summary section should encapsulate your work, education, volunteerism and include a dash of personal flare. Be sure you have added keywords to your summary as well, to ensure your profile pops up when someone is searching for that perfect person.
QUICK TIP: Open a Word doc and look at the bottom as you type to see your character and word count, or go to http://LetterCount.com for help in using all 2,000 of those characters.
Being all Business on LinkedIn.
Loosen the LinkedIn tie and add a little personality to your summary. Don’t be afraid to tell the world a little bit about who you are as a person. Perhaps after all of those amazing job highlights, you add in that you love coaching Little League teams or that you keep your sanity by getting outdoors as much as possible. This information could be what someone actually connects with and a great conversation can be started on this thread of personal shared knowledge.
Leaving Your Profile Filled with Nothing but Text.
When I get an email that is more than 2 sentences, my eyes glaze over. We see so much text come across our screens today, that photos and videos are a wonderful and needed break for our brains. LinkedIn allows you to add rich media like video clips, SlideShare presentations, photos on your posts and more. Don’t let your profile be a snoozer. Add some flare to your summary or work experience sections.
Having a Less-Than-Professional Looking Headshot.
Notice I didn’t say professional studio headshot. Many people tell me they are waiting to schedule an appointment with a professional photographer to take that perfect shot for their LinkedIn profile. In the meantime they have a picture that was cropped from a family picnic photo wearing a tank top. You don’t need to spend money to get a professional photo taken. Today our cell phones sport 10-20 megapixel cameras and if you simply put on a button down shirt or something that doesn’t show your chest hair or cleavage, have a friend snap a pic from the chest up, you’re in business!
Showing Few Skills or the Wrong Skills.
LinkedIn has over 45,000 skills indexed that you can select from and LinkedIn states, “Members that list skills on their profiles receive 13 times the number of profile views than those who don’t.”
Not only can you add skills that you would like to showcase, but by going into edit mode on that section, you can remove skills that you really don’t want people associating with you any longer. Perhaps you have made a career shift and had programming as a past skill, but you no longer want to appear in searches for that.
You can also reorder the skills, moving those you would like more endorsements for to the top and those that are less significant, to the bottom. The skills listed at the top will show up for others to endorse you for most often.
Not Asking for Recommendations.
A beautifully written thank you note on personalized stationery is so nice to receive, but sadly, it is hard to show that to anyone else wanting to see a recommendation of your work. Fortunately, LinkedIn has made it easier in the past year to manage your recommendations and even reordering them, moving your best to the top.
If no one has offered to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn, you can be bold and ask some of your past clients or co-workers to write one. LinkedIn makes that easy too. Simply click on ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS and send the request. Along with endorsements, recommendations help to boost your profile’s rank in search, and of course if someone is comparing you to another, endorsements and recommendations are like honey and they sweeten the decision.
Not Taking Advantage of the Ability to Publish Posts on Your Profile.
Initially a feature only given to a select chosen few, now everyone can showcase their expertise and insights. Posts stay front and center on your profile and when you add a photo to your posts, they really stand out and draw people in to learn more about you.
Whether you enjoy writing or not, take a stab at putting your thoughts on topics you are passionate or knowledgeable about, into written words. You may discover a talent or love for writing that you have suppressed since that junior high school teacher destroyed it with her red pen.
Updating Too Infrequently.
Most people create their LinkedIn profile, log out, and never look back. LinkedIn is more than a resume sitting online. It used for more than looking for a job. LinkedIn has gone through puberty and is now a real social network. (Minus the cat videos!) Stay active on your LinkedIn profile. Aside from posting regular status updates, don’t forget to freshen it up after projects, new certifications, or even new skills you have added. When you show your profile a little love, it will multiply that love right back to you.
Spend some time this week and commit to eliminating a few of these foolish items off your list and you will turn that fools cap into a party hat!
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Do you feel overwhelmed with all there is to do in branding your business? With so many marketing trends and the constant upkeep of what’s working and what’s not, it’s certainly understandable you may feel like you’re spinning too many plates in the air. Have some come crashing down already? Take comfort – you’re not the only one.
Technology provides us with an exciting ability to get in front of our customers and learn more about their buying patterns and habits. If your time is best spent focusing on your industry expertise and not the marketing side of it, look no further than this post. As a digital strategist who is daily in the trenches, these three tips will bring a boost to amp up your marketing efforts.
LinkedIn – are you connected?
LinkedIn has become an integral part in marketing yourself as a personal brand as well as your business’s brand. Don’t mistake it for a chatty social network site with an onslaught of adorable puppy pictures. While we adore our four legged friends and treat them like family, LinkedIn is for professional connections. Think of it as a cocktail party you want to be a part of, not a backyard barbecue with everyone and their brother.
Use LinkedIn to keep up with industry news, key players in your industry, and share relevant content. Join groups. Don’t just lurk, but participate. Share your opinion. Add any articles you’ve found interesting or valuable pertaining to your line of work. Connect with previous colleagues. Explore.
We are in an unprecedented time when we are able, through technology and social media channels, to connect with game changers in our industries. As a savvy businessperson, why wouldn’t you want to be a player in that game?
To top off with a cherry on the LinkedIn sundae of connections, this particular channel drives more traffic to corporate websites and blogs than any other social network. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second. What are you waiting for?
Warning: when you first start connecting with others, depending on their notification settings you may feel bombarded with an abundance of notices regarding birthdays and job advancements. SocialKNX has a helpful article regarding how to manage these, keeping some at bay and taking advantage of others with the knowledge they relay. Consider this like a business journal where announcements are made, and decide what you want to do with it.
Marketers often talk about letting some personality show in your brand and we’ve mentioned before how important it is to let others peek behind the proverbial curtain of your business from time to time. Instagram is the perfect platform to carry this strategy through. Time to showcase that we are in the era of human to human connections!
Try not to have too much fun choosing a filter and playing around. You’ll find the more you use Instagram, the better pictures you’ll take. Hmm…sound familiar? Practice makes perfect. Except on Instagram, you don’t have to be perfect. Be you.
When you participate in tradeshows and conferences, what kind of prep work do you do prior to arrival? Besides checking out the best restaurants online and getting your Uber driver lined up for after conference sight-seeing, one of the best items to cross of your to-do list is to find out the conference hashtag. When you key in a search with the hashtag on Twitter, it automatically saves in your search queue. You can go back to your search column at any time and select the conference hashtag, and voila! All tweets with the hashtag are shown. Use this knowledge to dig deep and reach out to:
What a perfect opportunity to capitalize on time spent at a conference by taking your online connections and putting an in person face with the name. Talk about networking to the next level!
Utilize Instagram by taking pictures at the conference and keying in the hashtag in your comments. Now you’re going to be seen as an attendee in the know, a well connected person who others want to be associated with. Most every conference / tradeshow will likely re-tweet and re-gram (e.g. share on Twitter and Instagram) messages pertaining to the conference by the conference coordinators themselves. How’s that for exposure for you and your brand?
Social media is an effective way to maximize your time, funds, and efforts that go into attending a conference or tradeshow. Think of it as your megaphone to the conference. Timothy Carther is the Digital Marketing Manager for the trade show display exhibit company, Nimlok. He’s written a fabulous article on several ways you can successfully incorporate a variety of social media channels for you next conference. [Read ➳ How To Use Social Media To Make An Impact At Your Next Trade Show]
What questions do you have about these marketing trends? Feel free to ask in the comments. We love staying social with you and learning together. Here’s to making an impact with your connections through social media!
Whether you’re a speaker, realtor, freelancer, or Chief Hooligan of your small business, you know that blogging is one of those activities that you need to add to your to-do list. Yes, really! (If you’re still on the fence, have a look at these stats — scroll down to “Blogging Stats”).
Are you still kicking and screaming because you have no time to blog? It’s okay — there is hope. There are things you can do to speed up the process and make it a little easier to knock out those posts on a regular basis. So, take a deep breath, put your pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard — and follow the steps below so you can make time for blogging.
How to Come Up With Ideas Quickly
For both new and seasoned bloggers, coming up with new topics can be a challenge. Oftentimes, it can be the longest part of the process when your brain cramps and all your ideas seem to have dried up.
If you’re new to blogging, you might not be sure where to start, and if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might be bored with topics you’ve already written about. So, is it surprising when you end up down a rabbit hole called “What do I write about?!”
How can you quickly come up with a topic you think would be helpful to your readers? Fortunately, there are a few ways you can regularly find new topics (and subtopics) to come up with, no matter how long you’ve been blogging.
1. Ask Your Peeps
Let your clients and potential clients give you the topics. If you’re trying to create content that your audience loves, it’s that same audience that can give you ideas for new content. When prospects and clients ask you questions, jot them down.
Keep your thoughtful answers in a place that you can refer back to because, one day, you can likely turn those conversations into blog posts.
Of course, you don’t have to name names, but you can share experiences and your answers to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.
[Tweet “When trying to create content that your audience loves, that same audience that can give you ideas. “]
So, fire up Evernote and create a notebook called “Blogging Ideas” to store any ideas that come to you. Oh, and if you are so inclined, throw in a quick outline. That way, when it’s time to begin writing, you won’t have to start from scratch.
BTW, you really can ask your peeps. Jump on to Twitter or seek the counsel of your LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities. Ask them what’s on their minds. What do they want to know more about? What questions have been coming up for them? You might be surprised by the number of responses that you’ll get.
You could also create a Google form with a handful of short questions that they can complete. Share the link in your groups where appropriate and you might find that you have the makings for an entire post … or at least the beginnings of one.
Google Alerts is a free service that will send you e-mail notifications whenever it finds new results for a topic or keyword you’re interested in.
Google Alerts can help you:
Get a constant stream of ideas. For example, you could get alerted each time specific news stories or topics hit the Internet.
Look out for breaking industry news. Use Google Alerts to monitor your industry for breaking news you can immediately share with your audience. If you’re able to publish breaking news quickly, you might end up getting more traffic to your blog and be seen as a credible source for important, relevant, and timely information.
3. Look Through Your Pocket (or Evernote)
So, earlier I mentioned that you can throw reader or client questions in Evernote for safekeeping until you’re ready for them. Well, as you come across articles and news you’re interested in, particularly as they relate to your chosen field, it’s also a good idea to put them in Instapaper, Pocket, or Evernote.
I used to keep specific types of articles in Pocket for a weekly post I wrote in the past. I would throw any article that contained related content about productivity and time management into Pocket and then tag them with a specific keyword so that I could call them up quickly and easily.
Then, each week I would sort through the various articles in Pocket, select one, and craft a post around it. Once I used an article, I deleted it from Pocket (short-term storage). But, if I wanted to keep it, I would throw it into Evernote (long-term repository).
This is just one way you can use Pocket and Evernote, but certainly think through a process that would work for you. Just be sure that you have a specific spot to keep all the relevant articles you want to refer back to.
4. Read … Then Read Some More
Read often to get blog post ideas!
Reading high quality articles and blog posts that other people write can often be inspiring and help you see a variety of perspectives.
Use other people’s content to help you come up with ideas of your own, or even counter arguments to pieces you read.
So, maybe you do know what you want to write about. Maybe you have your topic picked out but you’re having a hard time stringing coherent thoughts together. Does that mean you shouldn’t write? Of course not.
… because there are some strategies you can use to get things going. Some are obvious, like writing when you’re feeling alert. For me, a cup of coffee is essential when I’m writing in the early morning hours. You might need to exercise first or complete a pre-writing routine to get started.
Once you’re ready to begin, you might want to …
1. Use a Template
One of the best ways to reduce the time you need to write your posts is to use a template. Anyone who’s ever used a canned response knows it’s a time saver, especially when you’re responding to the same questions frequently.
Well, templates work in a similar way. They’re not pre-written like canned responses are, but they can help you gather your thoughts and act as guide for you to follow. Templates can help you prepare the main portions of your post, like figuring out your keywords, the main concepts you want to convey, and the supporting data or statistics you plan to share.
And, the best part is that you can fill out one section and then come back to it at a later point. The structure of the template will help you to pick up where you leave off.
2. Write First, Then …
Resist the urge to edit while you’re writing!
… fill in the rest. You know, things like adding in images and supporting data. Instead, use placeholders (e.g., “Insert graphic XYZ here”) to remind you where to put quotes, stats, images, charts, etc. so that you can continue with writing.
If you start focusing on the other stuff, you’ll get off track and probably waste the few precious minutes you have.
And, do resist the urge to edit!
Editing before you’ve finished writing is another sort of never ending rabbit hole. I implore you — resist it at all costs! The time for editing is not while you’re in the process of writing. Revising your post is best reserved for when your post is finished. Otherwise, editing becomes a distraction that makes writing more complicated and time-consuming.
So, write first and polish later.
3. Use a Timer
Only have five minutes? 15 minutes? No problem! Set a timer for a specific time frame and start writing. Write something. Anything. Just write. Get it out of your head and come back and write some more. You could end up writing for much longer or you could just use the time you have to get some thoughts down or to create an outline.
If you have more time, consider using a Pomodoro app, like Focus Booster, so you can spend more quality time with your post. Just get in the habit of writing every day. Commit to a certain number of minutes, number of words, or even number of paragraphs. Just write.
And, use a timer to keep you on track.
Okay, if you really haven’t been able to carve out a regular schedule for publishing your posts, it might be time to consider delegating that task to your virtual assistant or someone on Fiverr (or even us here at SocialKNX!) so that you can develop a regular blogging routine.
You could outsource blogging just to get started or to supplement what you’re already doing. Keep in mind that you can also incorporate guest blog posts or find regular contributors to join your blog.