Three Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the worldwide sensation that allows you to stay connected with current business contacts, make new business contacts, follow companies and see what fascinating things they're up to. LinkedIn can also be a waste of your time, a benefit to your competitors and an aggravation to your friends.
Wow, big difference.
Millions love LinkedIn. Of course, if there are fans, there's bound to be some haters. Haters are the people that just don't appreciate LinkedIn no matter what benefits it may potentially provide. Some may avoid the LinkedIn experience. You don’t have to be one of them. I’ll give you three (all too) common mistakes that I see people make on LinkedIn and tell you how you can easily avoid them.
Regularly Made ... Rookie LinkedIn Technical Errors
Mistake 1: Under-Protecting Connections
Allowing your competitors to get a look at all of your connections (you know, those people you have worked so hard to "connect" with and yet you are pretty sure they are ready to jump ship at any moment and work with someone else instead of you?) Yes, your "first degree" connections are, by default, capable of seeing your connections. However, you can easily hide those precious connections from your clever competitors by simply changing the setting in the "who can see your connections" part of the "Profile Privacy Settings" screen.
Mistake 2: Over-Sharing Skills & Details
Raining down information about yourself to all of your LinkedIn connections is a mistake. Most people are up to their ears in information and are constantly bombarded with updates about every little thing. For example, ("Oh, great—yet another update on John and what he's up to…hmmm this is his second LinkedIn update today. At 6:30 am he reportedly gained leadership skills and now he has learned PowerPoint. What social media does he think this is? --- Twitter?") Does everyone really need to know that you took that class in macramé, which you are sure will add to your web design abilities? Or that you now have now acquired “client service” skills? They may have thought you already had them. Avoid this by selecting “stop showing details” in your privacy settings. (See example highlighted in yellow.) Do you really want everyone to know that you are on the lookout for a new job? Or, more specifically—do you really want your boss to know that you are on the lookout for a new job? Remember to reverse this setting when the detail you are updating is something such as securing first round funding for your start-up company or a Pulitzer Prize.
Mistake 3: Over-Extending on the Connections
On Twitter some may consider it, “bad form” to not “Follow” back everyone who followers you. How about on LinkedIn? How many connections are enough? Should you accept every invitation to connect, or should you be selective? Should you ask that guy you were in line with at the grocery store to be one of your connections, or should you be selective here, too? One solution recently suggested by a HBR blogger is to apply the "favor test" in selecting your connections. You simply ask yourself – is your potential connection someone you would ever do a favor for, or if you would ever ask for a favor from them? Applying this approach, makes your list of LinkedIn connections more useful and you can spend your time and energy connecting with people that you actually want to help, and with people that would genuinely want to help you. Tip: Did you know that it is likely that the five new “invitations to connect” that arrived yesterday can simply be someone else’s settings error? Here’s why - Unless the new LinkedIn user stops that “send out connection invitation emails step” of the LinkedIn automated enrollment process, Linkedin defaults can take over and invite everyone in your email list “to connect” on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, if used properly, can be a great tool for helping both you and your business. The secret is to use it effectively—and this can be done if you avoid these three all all-too-common mistakes.
Author, Margaret Ross, CEO of Visible Strategies Communications, is a regularly featured guest on America’s top media channels and guest blogger on topics of marketing, technology, and cyber bullying prevention and business technologies.