So, you have 500+ connections in LinkendIn?
A few weeks ago, I posted an article about networking as a marketing tool for one’s products or services – or even oneself, in the pursuit of new career opportunities.
That had to do with in-person networking. On-line networking is another valuable tool. Before I delve into it, let me credit Seth Bogin for the idea for this post. In recent observations about our “driveby culture”, he remarked: “The majority of people who sign up for a new online service rarely or never use it.”
We’re all guilty, aren’t we?
I remember signing up with an articles bank recommended by a colleague and then not being able to contribute with the frequency it required. I have signed up for feeds I quickly got out of again, because after the first feeling of affinity was gone, I knew the publisher had nothing of lasting interest for me.
But we all do need to have a clear, pristine, up-to-date online profile and for most of us that means LinkedIn. Facebook? Yes, if yours is a consumer market – meaning your prospects are people, rather than companies – Facebook is a good place to be. But for professional connections, LinkedIn trumps.
These are the three most common mistakes I have seen people make with their LinkedIn profiles:
They have more than one. Instead of creating a profile once and keeping it current, some people, when they change jobs, start a business of their own or move to a different city, abandon their profile and create a new one. A recent client, when I told her I had found three profiles of her on LinkedIn and she needed to delete two of them in order to appear professional and “with it”, did not remember she had created the first two and was embarrassed to have had this discovered.
They do not use the status bar, or use it only infrequently. Announcing that you are looking forward to a meeting in New York next week, in an update that is 3 months old, portrays you as someone who does not take her on-line presence seriously. If that is the case, why should people viewing your profile take you seriously?
They have 500+ connections and . . . 4 recommendations? What value do you take to all those connections and what value do they bring to you? Are you communicating with them frequently, are you making them aware of job openings in their field, are you referring potential clients to them? Do they do the same for you? If not and if your aim is to achieve popularity, switch to a social site, e.g. Facebook. A LinkedIn profile needs to be worked constantly; your connections should not just sit there – they are supposed to do something for your business or career, and you for theirs. And, regardless of how many or how few connections you have, if fewer than 10% of them have sent you recommendations, your professional credibility suffers. It’s better to have 150 connections and 20 recommendations than 500+ connections and fewer than 50 recommendations.