LinkedIn and networking – are you doing it right?

Why connecting and spamming is driving us nuts.

Ah, LinkedIn. It seems to be the love it, hate it or tolerate it social platform.

You often hear people asking on forums about how effective LinkedIn can be – do you make real connections, how do you use it, is it useful for business and so on.

Well, let me be honest and say something that most of you have probably experienced…

LinkedIn can be super spammy!

How many times have you got a connection request with the standard, ‘I’d like to connect with you…’ and as soon as you accept, you’re slammed with their message trying to sell you something?

It’s like, whoa, back up a few steps!

Think of it like dating. You’d start out connecting, have a first date, and get to know each other before you take things to the next level. Connecting with people and doing the immediate sales pitch is sleazy.

To buy, people need to trust. And to trust, they must know you.

And starting with having a great profile and a conversation helps.

Here are my top ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out

1. Personalise your connection invitation

Rather than sending the standard connection request (that almost looks like you’ve had someone research your target audience and do a send to many invitation), it’s always best to personalise your connection message. Let the person know why you want to connect with them. You can mention things such as:

  • You’ve met before at an event

  • You’ve got mutual connections

  • Why you think connecting would benefit BOTH of you

  • Things you may have in common (same Uni, same workplace, same hobby etc.)

We are all humans, and we’d like to believe that people want to connect with us for a reason rather than to merely sell their product.

2. Keep your profile updated

One of the first things people will do after they connect with you is to check out your profile. That’s why it’s important to not only have it updated with your current roles, but to make sure it reads well to gain your audience’s attention. You don’t simply want to list your job title and what you do, but to relate how you help your clients. Make them feel like you’re the answer to their business pain points while they’re reading.

And I know it’s not the easiest thing in the world to take about yourself! So many of us struggle with this bit the most. That’s where copywriters such as Monique (The Copywriting Chameleon) can help you.

3. Post relevant content your ideal clients would like

One of the best ways to interact with your ideal clients on LinkedIn is to post relevant content. As with all content marketing, you must first know who you are talking to and have a plan – what would they want to hear about, what knowledge can you share to not only show you’re the authority but that you are open to sharing things that will make their life easier.

If you’ve already got a blog on your website, you can recycle this content and share it on your LinkedIn profile. And with any platform, if you see someone post something relevant to your audience, share it with a note – ‘This amazing article from Sam is great if you’re wondering how to use LinkedIn – give it a read!’.

4. Use a professional-looking photo

Here’s a little hint for all those faceless LinkedIn profiles – people won’t want to connect with you as it looks like you’re hiding! With LinkedIn being the more ‘professional’ of the social platforms, your profile picture should reflect this too. If you don’t have a professional headshot, use a nice, clear photo which is only you.

Things like drunk wedding photos, arms draped around your neck, nude looking photos (strapless dresses!), pet photos etc. just won’t cut it on LinkedIn. Selfies are acceptable if this is all you can take but make sure it’s you and not a filtered image.

5. Turn off your activity when you’re updating your profile

One way to annoy your audience is to have them seeing every alteration you make to your profile. If you haven’t changed your privacy settings, they’ll see every photo change (as you’re finding the perfect one), every profile update, every header image change, and so on. You don’t want your audience knowing you’re playing!

To make sure you stay incognito when making changes:

  • Go to your LinkedIn Privacy and Setting page (click on your photo in the top right-hand corner)

  • Scroll down to the option ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’ (underneath Privacy Controls)

Once you’ve made your changes, turn your broadcast back on so your audience can see when you’ve got a new job, add new skills, have a work anniversary and so on.

My final thoughts about LinkedIn you need to know

LinkedIn is meant to feel more professional than any other social site. Think of it as your online resume. If any prospective client or employer wants to find out about you, they are likely to head to LinkedIn and view your profile. So, if for nothing else, this is a major reason to keep your profile up to date, fresh and fun – let your personality shine through.

Also, it’s super important to realise LinkedIn isn’t about spamming people. We’re all sick of getting multiple connection requests every day, only to accept and receive a spammy sales message. Connect, build a rapport, and then once they know you, they may be interested in what you have to offer.

It’s not tinder people – we want real connections, not quick flings.

Want to share your funniest LinkedIn connection requests or messages?

I think most of us have had the American soldier declaration of love, haven’t we? If you’ve had funny connection requests or messages, I’d love for you to share them so we can laugh together.

And if you’re looking for some advice on your LinkedIn profile, or want to work out what content you should be posting to this platform, please feel free to drop me a line.