Sunday, February 10, 2008

Five Things NOT to Do on LinkedIn (Humor)

We had a capacity crowd at yesterday's Career Transitions meeting, where I spoke on "Effective Use of LinkedIn for Personal Branding and Networking." There was not an empty seat in the room, which is either a testament to my marketing skills or to the popularity of LinkedIn. Or both.

The turnout might also reflect how confused people get when they look at LinkedIn and say to themselves, "Am I really getting all I can from LinkedIn?" I would say around 90 percent of the people at the meeting had a LinkedIn profile (I asked for a show of hands), and almost all of them (including me) had this nagging suspicion that there was something, somewhere that they could be doing just a little bit better.

In doing research for my presentation, I've discovered that, while there are many wrong ways to use LinkedIn, there is no single RIGHT way to use it. I'll do a few postings over the next few days that highlight some of the best practices for using LinkedIn, but for today I thought I would take a humorous look at five things you shouldn't do on LinkedIn.

1. Use it as a platform to sell your get-rich-quick scheme. I've seen people use the Summary section of their LinkedIn profile to do a relatively soft pitch on their business, and it's usually done very effectively with a sense of "here's what I do, if you are interested in learning more about it then let's connect."

This gentleman used every word in his profile to hawk his wares, even to the point of listing it in his Education section. He was complaining to me that people refused to connect with him. I tried to break it to him gently...

2. Who needs a name when you can increase your search ranking? I wanted to test out some of the ideas I had for optimizing keyword searches. The first two pages of results for "public relations" were profiles that had no names but instead said "Public Relations pro" for both first and last name! Note that they have relatively few connections, so I suspect these are people who created a profile "just to try things out" and never got back to it. So, we'll forgive them. Still, it looks strange.

3. Movie pitch: "College Alumni Group Crashers." I see people who belong to dozens and dozens of different LinkedIn groups, which always seems a little overwhelming to me. One gentleman in particular belonged to the alumni groups of several dozen colleges and universities. Not quite like lying on your resume, I suppose, but I still feel he was misrepresenting himself. I suppose it is possible that he spent 20 years as a professional college student.

(I was unable to relocate the profile to get a screen grab of it.
If I find it again, I'll post an update.)

4. Trolling for LinkedIn Answers. The postings I see in LinkedIn Answers are generally on-topic, but occasionally I'll see someone post something that is clearly a "troll," intended to generate a lot of responses. I'm not sure what the Phillies have to with Business Development, though I guess he is asking for suggestions for t-shirt slogans, and I do like the response.

5. Some of the 17 million members you can connect with. I'm not sure which is funnier: that Fred Flintstone is in the software business, or that he's a third-degree connection for me. There are also at least 16 other Fred Flintstones in the world. Some parents have a lot to answer for...

OK, all kidding aside, I did learn some good tips for how to use LinkedIn, which I will pass on to you in the next few days. I plan on using some of them to punch up my own LinkedIn experience.

No comments: