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LinkedIn is a social media platform specifically for businesses. It offers a way to connect with people who not only could be potential customers and consumers, but people who were in the same industry. Yet, almost every day I see things happening that are irritating to the point that you just want to slap somebody. Okay, that might be a bit over the top, but they make you mad. And some of those people trying to reach out to you which makes it even worse.

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Creative Commons License Leon Fishman via Compfight

All of you know the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. Well, there is a of bad first impression. I’m going to name four of them, and hope that none of them are you.

1. Connecting with someone new but not changing the default description. This is probably the most irksome because the default description says that someone had indicated you are friend. Every once in a while it says I find your trusted person. The thing is these people don’t know you, and you don’t know them, so who can trust who? Don’t be a lazy first connector; if you’re looking to meet someone at least right something different, even though you don’t get a lot of space to do it. You’ll be more memorable and people will be more likely to connect with you there.

2. No picture and no flushing out what you do. People trust what they can see and what they can read better than seeing almost nothing. There are some people who join the site and immediately start sending out invitations for people to connect with them without giving people a reason why they should even think about connecting. Unless I know who you are, if I’ll see a picture I’m not connecting with you. And if I go check out your page and all I see are three or four separate lines of things you’ve done in the past without saying anything about it, I’m not connecting. I know some people who will connect with anybody who reaches out to them, but the quality of your connections has to count as much as how many connections you have.

3. Don’t immediately start selling after someone connects with you. I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who look at the profiles of people who want to connect with me. I have found over the years, and I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for nine years, that people whose profiles have nothing to do with anything that I’ve listed on my profile only want to sell me on something or try to get me to help them do business. Unless they’re local, or I see a number of people that I actually know who are connected with that person, I’m not connecting with that person because I know what’s coming. Trust me, a short introduction saying hello and telling the person you’d like to know more about them goes a lot further in networking that that person then immediately trying to sell them on something.

4. If you join a group with an intention to actually participate, don’t start off introducing who you are and telling people what it is you do. It’s always best to stay on topic, and if people are intrigued by what you have to say it will follow you back to your profile to learn more about you. And if you’ve taken the time to flesh out your profile (see #2) you’ll intrigue people and on their terms.

I’ve written before that every business should be on LinkedIn, but just being there isn’t enough to give you the opportunity for proper business networking. Work on some of the things I mentioned above and you’ll be well on your way.
 

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