Your profiles on the social media networks are your Online Reputation. Google considers LinkedIn one of the top referral sites for information on professional people. If someone Googles your name, more than likely your LinkedIn profile link will come up in the first few of the Google search engine results page (SERP). That’s where you want to be.
In addition, since the pandemic closed down live networking events, business pros have flocked to LinkedIn.
What does your LinkedIn profile say about you?
Does it say, "This person isn't an expert in anything,"? Or, "Not very professional!"? If you set up a LinkedIn profile and have not updated it in a while, or it sounds like you're looking for employment rather than you own your own business, it's not helping. In fact, it's hurting you.
Here are a few LinkedIn Reputation Killers that you need to address ASAP!
- No picture. There is no reason why you should not have a picture of yourself — not a caricature or a cartoon character. You are networking. People remember faces before they remember names or even occupations. I’ve walked into live networking events where I don’t know a soul and someone will walk up to me and say, “I’ve seen you on LinkedIn!” I reply, “That means what I do works!” They saw my picture next to posts in one of the local area groups. (See #11.)
- Incomplete name and location. You must put your full name and your location. That way people can find you easier. Even if you have a “global” business, put your actual location. Also, it must be your name not your company’s name. People connect with people. People follow companies. Companies have Company Profiles which are separate from personal profiles. Your personal profile “owns” your company one and you are an employee of your company.
- Incomplete heading. Your heading tells someone what you do at a glance. You must put your title and your company. Don’t just put “owner” or “entrepreneur”. Put what you are.
- Less than 50 connections. 50 is the magic number on LinkedIn along with a complete profile to be an “all-star”. Connect first with your friends, co-workers, former colleagues, former class mates, then connect with people you’ve met via different venues. After the event, sit with the cards you collected and invite everyone connect with you on LinkedIn. Remind them where you met: “John, it was nice meeting you at the _____ yesterday …”
- No vanity URL. If your LinkedIn address has a bunch of numbers at the end of it, you need to create your vanity URL. This makes it easier for you to put your LinkedIn profile address on your business card. If you have a common name, you’ll need to add your middle name or initial or get creative. LinkedIn will let you know if your name is available. When you're on your profile, in the upper right, you'll see, "edit profile URL".
- A blank about section. Here is where you promote your business – not your resume! You have your own business, you’re not looking for a job. Here’s where you add relevant keywords describing what you do and what you offer. Use bullet points not long, wordy paragraphs. Don’t use “flowery language” either. Get to the point. You’ve got plenty of space here. Use it.
- Only one job experience. For a profile to be complete, LinkedIn requires at least 2 jobs. Add even a college job in there. Make sure that your current position is where you are working now. Even if you do more than one thing. Fill out everything in your profile. You want to be an "All Star".
- No recommendations. Recommendations are important as they carry a lot of weight. Recommendations have be to personally written by someone who knows you or your work.
- No skills. These are your keywords. You can put up to 50 skills. Use them.
- No company profile. As mentioned in #2, companies have company profiles. Your company profile page should look like an extention of your website. Make sure you add all your "specialties", your website URL and a call-to-action button. Use any one besides "visit website". Fill out the description of your company completely. All this helps you come up when people are searching for what you have to offer. You can also create showcase pages for services or products. Furthermore, you can now write articles as your company.
- Not participating in groups. There’s a group for every interest and industry out there. You join groups as yourself, not as your company. Search for those where your target market hangs out, post and participate in discussions regularly. These are also good for finding referral sources. Make sure your personal profile is ready for primetime before you start asking to join groups. Read the group description and respect their rules for posting.
As an added branding element, upload a nice picture on your personal profile. It doesn't necessarily need to be the same as your company cover image. Use the free graphics tool, Canva.com to create the graphics. They have all the social media cover templates so you create the graphics in the right sizes.
An incomplete profile on any of the social media networks is like having a sloppy lobby.
Visitors to your social media profile pages should know immediately what you do and what you offer and branding must be consistent throughout the networks. These are free billboards for your business with free links that Google accepts as relevant and authentic.
SCORE offers regular social media marketing workshops and webinars. Check out the full schedule here!