For any who don’t know, Bill Kizer is the founder and creator of the Sage Employees, Alumni, and Partners Linkedin group.
Bill was the presenter with Wayne Schulz and Peter Wolf contributing as the panel. Peter also had a separate presentation of his own. The topic was Seven Deadly Sins of Linkedin, but I think most of these really apply to any social media platform.
Mistake #1: Don’t fill out your profile.
If you don’t keep your profile updated, no one will know where you are or what’s going on with you. If you win an award, add it to your profile. If you join an organization add it to your profile. The more often you update your profile, the more often your profile shows up in your contacts Linkedin. Also updating your status regularly keeps your profile coming back up to the top.
Mistake #2: Don’t include Profile Photographs.
If you do have a profile picture, it needs to be as professional as it can be. You probably shouldn’t have a picture of your dog or kids or your favorite trip to Disney World as your profile picture. What you want to present on Linkedin is an image that is as close to what you would present in job interview as you can. So no pictures of you passed out drunk…even on Facebook.
You also shouldn’t use your company logo as your profile picture. If you’re a sole proprietor or a team, people do business with people, not logos or brands.
I always use a picture of myself for my profile on various social media sites…well, almost always. The exception is Twitter. I can’t exactly explain why this is the exception and why I think it works for me. If you do click through to my Twitter profile, I do have a picture of myself on the custom wallpaper I created for my Twitter profile.
Mistake #3: Don’t contribute to discussions conversations.
If you don’t put your two cents in, I guarantee two things will happen: no one will find out if they find what you say useful and no one will know what ideas you have.
Mistake #4: Don’t become an expert in any industry.
I think another way is “Don’t share anything”. One of the conversations that Wayne, Peter and I had when organizing Summit Diary was about whether or not what we had to say had value to anyone else. If you keep everything to yourself, you will never find out if it has value to someone else or not.
Wayne recommends using Shareaholic to share links to stuff written by other people. Shareaholic is a plugin for various browsers that works with multiple services, like Linkedin, Facebook, Yammer, Google Buzz, Delicious, Posterous, Tumblr, etc.
Mistake #5: Don’t Invite Others To Your Network
Or “Don’t reach out to others”. I’m going to share a bit about how I got into social media. I frequently make comments about being Wayne Schulz’s #1 cyber stalker (and interestingly, I’m not the only one. You know who you are @GLComputing.) but the reality is I’ve been following Wayne online since I first discovered his website and newsletter in 2003, I think it was.
While it’s not OK to spam people, it is OK to reach out to others.
Mistake #6: Don’t give or ask for recommendations.
Honestly, this is one of those double edged things. I say feel free to give recommendations to anyone you think deserves it, but don’t require or expect a quid pro quo or it may (or may not) look like exactly that. I think recommending someone who recommends you looks bad even if you think they deserve it. It’s almost like an organized link exchange. If you do ask for a recommendation, don’t require or expect the other party to give you one. Recommendations are a personal choice.
Mistake #7: Don’t Include Any Contact Information.
This is a big one. If I want to contact you so I can hire you or provide you work and I can’t find your email or phone number, you might never hear from me. I use Google Apps for my email and it eliminates a lot of the spam and I use a Google Voice phone number for my public telephone number. The beauty of the Google Voice number is that it allows you to screen your calls. Even if you don’t screen your calls, if you let them go to voice mail, you’ll get an email with the contents (sort of) of the message any callers may leave. Yes, you can be contacted through Linkedin but why make someone work that hard to get to you?
Mistake #8 (Added by Wayne Schulz): Don’t include a personal email address.
Use a personal email address as your primary address. You can still include your business email address. If you only use your work email address, you might lose access to your account.
This has happened to a few people in recent years with people changing jobs as frequently as they have in recent years. It would be terrible to be in the situation of looking for a job and not being able to access your network.
Mistake #9 (I just added this one): Wait until you are looking for a job to create your Linkedin profile.
When is the best time to setup a Linkedin account? If you don’t have one already, now is the best time.
A few additional Linkedin tips:
You can send email newsletters to the members of your group.
Use the search and filters in Linkedin to find a job or find an employee.
You could also potentially use filters to find a prospect, but be careful how you do this. Primarily, I would say use this to find people to connect to and make friends.
The biggest benefit of getting the paid Linkedin account is access to more information and the ability to more advanced searching features.
Ultimately, I think Ed Kless’s social media policy says it best, “Be professional”. I would add, “Be human”. So “Be professional and be human” would be the ultimate Linkedin rule.