Periodically, I like to make note of the biggest mistakes I’m seeing people make on LinkedIn, and because I’ve been looking at a lot of LinkedIn profiles recently, I’ve got some fresh insights to share. So without further ado, let’s dive right in and look at the 5 biggest mistakes I’m seeing right now.
1. Not considering whether your LinkedIn activity aligns with your goals.
This one is #1 for a reason. Checking in with your goals for using LinkedIn is the simplest, most obvious thing you can do if you want LinkedIn to work for you. And yet, it’s often overlooked. Why? In short, all social media platforms have a way of distracting us from thinking about our own goals.
LinkedIn is my favorite platform (and actually, the only channel I use) for marketing my business because I’m less distracted and less likely to fall down a rabbit hole of chasing vanity metrics (or shame-spiraling). Still, it’s good to remember that LinkedIn, as a platform, has its own goals and they may not align with yours.
One of LinkedIn’s biggest goals is to keep you on the platform. Consider how that might affect what you’re seeing. Reactions (likes, loves, etc.) and follower counts are prominent because they give us a quick dopamine hit, which makes us want to check our notifications and come back to the platform. But increasing reactions and your follower count might not support your goals.
For example, if your goal is to promote your monthly free event, but the posts where you link to that event get fewer reactions than posts where you talk about your dog and post a cute selfie, watching those reaction numbers doesn’t support your goal. It’s important to do a gut check every time you have a reaction to a metric or feel yourself comparing yourself to others on LinkedIn.
- Make a list of specific and big picture goals that you have for using LinkedIn.
- Revisit that list monthly or weekly, using it as a gut check.
- Consider which metrics relate to those goals and track those metrics (more on this below).
2. Not making it at-a-glance clear in your headline and about section what you do.
Don’t confuse your LinkedIn profile for some kind of stale romance novel, where the leading lady (it’s always the lady) is coy, mysterious, and intentionally vague in order to create intrigue. On LinkedIn, you want to be as clear as humanly possible about what you do. So don’t be a tease.
There are several places in your LinkedIn profile where you can add information about what you do:
- You can add a title after your name (e.g., Emily Crookston, Ghostwriter).
- You can add a title or description in your headline.
- You can expand upon what you do in your about section (sometimes called a summary).
And don’t be afraid to make up a title for yourself. Unlike on a resume, you don’t need to worry about adding your official title, if it would be meaningless to people who are likely to find your profile on LinkedIn. Be creative, while still being clear.
For example, if your company title is Regional Lead, that doesn’t tell people what you do. Come up with a more descriptive title to use instead. Perhaps you’re a Master Sales Trainer or a Sales Consultant. Whatever title you can come up with that tells people what you do and requires as little thinking as possible is great.
- Add a title to your headline if you don’t have one already.
- Ask 3-5 trusted people, in your target audience, to take a look at your LI headline and tell you whether it’s clear at first glance what you do.
3. Not adding SEO-friendly keywords to the beginning of your headline.
Even though we shouldn’t worry too much about LinkedIn’s goals, we also should recognize when those goals align with our own goals. I refuse to obsess over the algorithm. If that’s what it takes to be a LinkedInfluencer, I want nothing to do with being a LinkedInfluencer (despite the fact that I was just interviewed for a Vox article about being a LinkedInfluencer).
However, you don’t have to obsess over the algorithm to make sure you’re taking advantage of the benefits of LinkedIn’s SEO power. LinkedIn is a powerful search engine. Plenty of people come to LinkedIn every day looking for people who do what you do. Ask yourself what words they are typing into the search engine to find you. Then, put those words at the beginning of your headline or use them as your title.
You can do some simple keyword research by typing hashtags into the search box. Here’s a quick tutorial showing you how I do it. Once you’ve added a keyword to your headline (and under your experience), watch your search appearance number (on the analytics dashboard in your profile). These numbers get updated on a weekly basis, so give it a week before you change it again.
- Do some hashtag research and add the best keywords to your headline, about section, and experience section.
- Watch your search appearance numbers and track them weekly.
- Experiment on a weekly basis with different keywords until you find the optimal title.
4. Not engaging with others (i.e., commenting on their posts) who are active on LinkedIn.
One reason my team and I do not manage our clients’ LinkedIn profiles is because there’s no substitute for you being on LinkedIn and engaging in conversations with others. LinkedIn is a networking platform and it only works if you use it as such. It’s one thing to hire a ghostwriter to write your headline, your about section, and to create LinkedIn posts for you. It’s another thing to ask a ghostwriter to be you on social media.
I really believe that the best way to meet any of your goals with LinkedIn is to engage with others, especially those who are most active on LinkedIn. For those who are newer to the platform or looking to build their audience, you will want to look for the most active users, regardless of whether they are in your industry.
Active users get more comments and have big audiences, so you can find more people to connect with by mining their posts’ comment sections. Active users are also more likely to engage with your posts, which is probably important to you and your goals.
- Spend time engaging with others’ posts BEFORE posting your own stuff on LinkedIn.
- Engage even on days when you don’t have your own post to publish.
- If you’re posting and ghosting, you may as well not even bother. No one is seeing those posts.
5. Not tracking your metrics (e.g., search appearances and profile views).
The best way to ensure that you meet your goals is to come up with some metrics to track and LinkedIn makes this easy by giving you metrics in your analytics dashboard. I track three metrics weekly (I make note of my numbers every Monday): my follower count, my search appearance number, and my profile views.
These numbers are updated weekly (on the day of the week you joined LinkedIn), so as long as you look at them on the same day every week, you’ll see an updated number. From here you can think about strategies for increasing your numbers. And make sure that the metrics you’re tracking align with your goals. For example, I love to see 12 or more comments on my posts because that means I’m starting conversations and that’s one of my big goals.
- Look at your goals and figure out what related metrics you want to track.
- Create a spreadsheet or find an easy way to track those metrics.
- Make note of your numbers weekly and check them on the same day every week (add it to your to-do list for a specific day).
Are you making any of these 5 LinkedIn mistakes?
These are table-stakes on LinkedIn. If LinkedIn isn’t “working” for you, the odds are good that you aren’t paying enough attention to one of these five areas.
And you know who can help with ALL five?
Hi! It’s me, Emily, Ghostwriter, Content Marketing Strategist, and Renegade PhD.
And if you’d like me to take a closer look at your profile and give you specific recommendations, I’ve got a service for you. It’s called the LinkedIn Roadmap: https://thepocketphd.lpages.co/linkedin-roadmap/
Photo credit: https://www.123rf.com/profile_koldunov