If you think LinkedIn is just for job hunters, think again. Great LinkedIn social media strategy can help small businesses build their networks, grow their influence, and find leads. In fact, a study from Hubspot shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.
If LinkedIn works for your business as an effective channel for social engagement and lead gen, then it follows that you need to know how to use it effectively.
While there are no absolute rules for getting it right, sometimes getting it wrong can be downright frustrating for all involved. We all have our LinkedIn pet peeves, and I have my own opinions, but I thought I’d see what my network thinks. Below are six predominant peeves that they’ve come up with—plus some tips for how you can overcome these as you execute your small business LinkedIn social media strategy:
6 Habits That Could Damage Your Linkedin Social Media Strategy
1. Not Personalizing Requests to Connect
We all know this one. The all-too frequent “request to connect” from a complete stranger. Don’t be that person. If you are seeking to connect with people for business reasons (even if you have already met or know them), be explicit about why you want to connect.
Have you met before?
Do you have connections in common?
Are you in the same town/city/industry, etc.?
What is your intent? Be explicit so that the recipient doesn’t think you’re just being self-serving.
What’s in it for them?
2. Spamming Your Connections
We’ve all run into the odd person who uses the advantage of a LinkedIn connection to promote their agenda by filling your message box with spam (event invites, product pushes, and so on). This is not a good LinkedIn social media strategy whichever way you slice it. Unless people in your network have explicitly asked to hear more from you (something that you could state in your connection request), they will block you.
3. Dealing with Random Endorsements
One of the unfortunate side effects of connecting with complete strangers is that they then have the ability to endorse your skills. Endorsements started out as a nice LinkedIn feature, but in practice they are flawed. When people you don’t know very well endorse you for skills they have no insight into, it can skew your profile by weighting certain skills over others. Another problem is that if you don’t add any skills to your profile, LinkedIn will create them for you by drawing on the copy in your profile.
There is a way around this. Go to your profile and hover your mouse over the edit button for this section. From here you can choose whether you want to be endorsed, if you want endorsement suggestions to be made to your connections, and whether you want those endorsements visible.
4. No Picture
Give yourself a face.
5. Inactive Groups
Groups are useful tools: They give professionals an opportunity to network, share their knowledge, learn from their peers, and more—but only if there’s some momentum and a strong moderator behind them. I’ve joined so many groups in the hope that I’d learn something only to find that the groups are largely inactive or neglected. If you’re looking to join a group, ask around first. What kinds of groups are other people in your newsfeed interacting with? Ask for recommendations via your LinkedIn newsfeed.
6. People Who Don’t Understand How to Share Content
Ever noticed how one or two people tend to dominate your newsfeed by using it like Twitter and posting 10+ updates per day? LinkedIn doesn’t move as fast as Twitter and serves a different purpose. Try to be more targeted and selective in your approach. People spend time on LinkedIn searching for information that can help them with professional development, either for themselves or for their company. Here are some best LinkedIn social media strategy practices for content sharing:
Only share content with groups
If you have content to share that is very specific, consider sharing it as a discussion in your groups. This way the whole world doesn’t see it and block your updates.
Be selective about your updatesUse the newsfeed “Share an update” feature selectively. For example, it’s a great tool for sharing interesting articles or blog content that may have an appeal to a broad audience. The “update” feature also includes some often under-used tools that can help with targeting, such as who you share it with. You can choose from the Public, Just Your Connections, or Public + Twitter (these options expand your reach so that the content can be found by anyone, not just your connections—a great way to promote your blog). You can also use the “@” character to mention people or companies in the introduction. For example, “Check out my new blog for @Fundbox.” LinkedIn will automatically insert a link to the business or user’s LinkedIn profile.
Use the “Publish a post” tool. In the past, this feature was reserved for notable thought leaders, but now anyone can publish their own blogs or articles directly within LinkedIn. The benefits of this are two-fold: First, your published posts show up and stay on your profile page, so connections can see your work and expertise. Second, when someone searches for a particular term, these published posts are served up in the results. What should you publish? Create content that addresses issues that you see being discussed in groups and demonstrates a unique point of view to establish thought leadership.
The result? Increased visibility for your content, without clogging up your network’s newsfeed.
For more tips of developing your small business LinkedIn strategy, check out this article from Justin Bariso on Inc.com.