The Top 3 Most Common Mistakes on LinkedIn

LinkedIn_ Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Courtesy of Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

LinkedIn is a social media platform focused on professional networking, with close to 800 million users globally. Since the world is more connected than ever, it’s important to consider your online reputation and overall presentation. And because many companies and hiring managers have now switched to virtual hiring practices, your online presence could be the reason you do--or don't--get a job. 

The Top 3 Most Common Mistakes on LinkedIn

BioSpace sat down with Gregg Burkhalter, a LinkedIn Expert, for a quick Q&A about LinkedIn and how it can affect your personal brand.

Burkhalter is a recognized authority on Personal Branding and LinkedIn. He has helped countless professionals around the world define and grow their Personal Brand using LinkedIn. Gregg is known by many as “The LinkedIn Guy”. He provides Personal Branding Coaching and LinkedIn Training via one-on-one and group training sessions, corporate presentations and webinars.

He let us in on the top three mistakes people make on LinkedIn, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

A: I began my career behind the microphone as a radio DJ. I worked all over the southeastern U.S. for the first decade of my career. I then transitioned into the music industry, where I stumbled into a dream job that I didn’t even know existed. I worked for the largest music account in the southeastern U.S. I was the person at the company who made all the buying decisions on what music was sold in convenience stores and truck stops across America and Canada--great, great business. I enjoyed doing that. Unfortunately, eight years ago, my dream job disappeared when the company I worked for went bankrupt, and that is where “The LinkedIn Guy” story begins.

Q: How did you decide to start your company, and why do you focus on LinkedIn?

A: As I alluded to earlier, the company I worked for went bankrupt, so there was no future with that company. A friend of mine (about 10 years younger) forced me to set up my very first LinkedIn account. I set it up and became like most people on LinkedIn — I had no idea what I was supposed to do. From day one, I had a strategy, and my strategy proved correct. My strategy was, could I build relationships on LinkedIn like I do in person? One year into my LinkedIn use, out of the blue, a large Chamber of Commerce in the Atlanta area invited me to do a LinkedIn workshop. At this point, I decided to roll the dice and try to build a business around helping people with personal branding and LinkedIn. So, in June 2015, “The LinkedIn Guy” was born.

1. Being On LinkedIn, Not In It

A: Mistake number one is being “on” LinkedIn, but not “in” LinkedIn. People set up their LinkedIn account and then forget about it. So, as they’re changing jobs and moving along in their career, they never update their LinkedIn Profile. You have to keep in mind, most first impressions these days are digital. When someone knows they’re going to meet you or has just met you, they Google your name.

If your LinkedIn Profile is out of date and doesn’t represent you well, that is a ding on your personal brand. Today’s professional toolbox has two new “power tools” that you need to be aware of. We all know about the tools that have been around for decades—our education/training and work experience. The new “power tools” are a strong personal brand and an engaged professional network. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for these two new “power tools”. 

2. Having the Wrong Attitude

A: Mistake number two is getting on LinkedIn with the wrong attitude. LinkedIn is not an “I” channel. LinkedIn is an “us” channel. It’s not about you. It’s about the value you bring to the community. If you get on LinkedIn all about yourself, trying to heavily sales pitch stuff, and don’t actually become part of the community by providing value, being helpful and humble, then you could damage your brand and your reputation. You can do a lot of harm to your personal brand by being on LinkedIn with the wrong approach.

3. Inconsistency

A: The third mistake I see on LinkedIn is that people are not consistent. If you ever hear someone say to you, “I tried LinkedIn and it didn’t work," there is probably a reason why. A strong indicator it’s not going to work is when they say, “I’m going to give LinkedIn a try.” LinkedIn is not an opportunist platform. LinkedIn is a platform you commit to. If you want to use LinkedIn to the fullest, it requires a commitment to be on LinkedIn daily with a strategy, and use it consistently.         

 Q: How can people avoid making those mistakes on LinkedIn?

A: They need to be more aware of the value of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social media channel with almost 800 million users. That’s exciting! LinkedIn is also the digital home of your personal brand, which is even more exciting. Your personal brand is going to be the driving force for your future career opportunities and success. You need to make sure you’re utilizing LinkedIn to its fullest by being on it daily (with a strategy) and become a respected member of the LinkedIn community.

Q: How can people be more consistent? 

Hold yourself accountable. You might say, “I don’t have time for LinkedIn today.” Make time for LinkedIn today. It is too important to your future to neglect LinkedIn, because LinkedIn is the B2B professional channel. It’s where all the conversations are going on. It’s where business deals are being made. It’s where business opportunities are being shared. LinkedIn is where you want to be.

As a result of the recent pandemic, there are more people than ever on LinkedIn, which is great news. Unfortunately, some are on there with the wrong attitude. As I mentioned earlier, they’re trying to do a quick sales pitch to close a deal. What you need to realize is this, if you come across wrong to somebody on LinkedIn, yes, they may be slightly offended, but even worse, your personal brand takes a hit. You should be on LinkedIn building relationships, helping others, and bringing value to the LinkedIn community. If you do this, you will be successful on LinkedIn.

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