What NOT to do on LinkedIn!

As all PR pros are aware of, online networking is an essential part of the job – especially if you wish to succeed in the industry. LinkedIn is voted the most popular professional social network by both Journalists and Public Relations Professionals, with a 92% usage rate – overriding Twitter and Facebook network popularities for these industries.

The problem many professionals in these industries are facing with LinkedIn is that they confuse it’s use with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. We seem to forget that everything we post online is seen by these professional networks we desperately want to impress.

Here are 10 tips to ensure your LinkedIn profile communicates a professional to your networks:

  1. Do not send connection requests to people saying you are their “friend” if you have not actually met or talked to in real life – use the “other” option or write down how you know them as it is more truthful.
  2. Ensure you have a professional name on LinkedIn – Save joke names for Facebook
  3. Profile pictures must be highly professional. No party faces, no seductive poses and no silly expressions – this photo needs must represent your true professional personality. Your photo will be the first thing a potential network will see when they click to your profile.
  4. Be polite – Don’t just add someone and be done with it. You need to compare a connection request to starting up a conversation at a real life networking event in order to be successful. You would not just say “hello” and walk away would you? No, because that would be rude. You would have a chat to this new network and see what you have in common. When you connect with someone you have not met in real life, message them to introduce yourself formally online.
  5. Your personal summary must be written from you and not copied from someone else – this summary is how new connections will get a feel for what type of person you are, so be sure you are truthful in your summary.
  6. Don’t demand attention of connections by using capital letters as it just looks unprofessional and tacky.
  7. Get recommendations from the most authoritative people in your networks such as satisfied clients you have worked with, or even the boss if you are lucky enough. Colleagues are great but not as flash as these people.
  8. Ensure that you ‘un-check’ the tick box when you send out bulk messages to all of your contacts so you don’t reveal all of your contact’s email addresses to everyone else.
  9. Do not connect your Tweets to LinkedIn as it not only looks unprofessional, but it clogs up the business-focused news feed. If the Tweet is relevant – than by all means, post it on LinkedIn, but if not then keep it away.
  10. Do not assume that your connections on LinkedIn are interested in being singed up to all your company newsletters and sales databases.

It is so important to think of LinkedIn as a real life connection – do not do anything you wouldn’t do in person at a real life networking event. Be mindful that whatever you put on LinkedIn will be judged and will represent your entire professional appearance. Stay professional!

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