Many of you know that LinkedIn is the premiere online network for professionals. Yes, it’s a major player in the social media space, growing at the rate of 2 new users every second (probably by the time you’ve read this first paragraph, 10 new users are on LinkedIn). Sure, it’s now a publicly traded company (there are shareholders to help hold it accountable, so questionable shenanigans should be limited) and from what I can tell, a well-managed company.

There are approximately 400M users now with an average income of $100K. Did you know about that income part?

There are more users outside the United States than inside (if you’re looking to have a global reach with business owners, thought leaders, executives, recent college graduates, you’re in the right place). Actually about 200 countries are represented. A little diversity anyone?

Tens of thousands of employers are on LinkedIn. For many of them, along with recruiters, LinkedIn plays a key role in finding their next super star employee.

Ok, I think we have established how important LinkedIn is, as well as how it’s evolved over time. For some of you, this was not new information.

Still, so many of you are not utilizing this powerful platform the way you should. You’re on LinkedIn, but not maximizing LinkedIn.  What’s up with that?

Maybe you’re not aware of what you’re doing – or not doing.

Below are five things you may be doing on LinkedIn that’s hurting you, and I suggest stopping…like…now. No, I’m not a millennial, but occasionally I add “like” to my language somewhat randomly for the fun of it – and to make people think I’m 10 years younger. I have good genes. I can get away with it.

  1. Use boring titles with no USP/UVP in the headline. I see this time and time again. I also used to be guilty of it, before I was shown the light. Your headline is the text just beneath your name in your profile. This is where you tend to see “manager, senior VP, author, social media consultant, web designer, executive director.

Those titles we tend to think are so important. However, we are not communicating our value. The headline is a great place to include your USP/UVP (unique selling/value proposition). Let your target audience know right up front what you can do for them.

Instead of CPA, try something like “I help small businesses minimize stress and maximize savings.” Instead of consultant or coach, how about “providing profitable solutions in less time?” There are SO many CPAs, consultants, coaches, authors, executives, and sales professionals to compete with. You need to be memorable on LinkedIn. Set yourself apart.

You can use a value/benefit statement only, or you can combine it with a title (or a couple…my profile shows an example of this). And if you’re using titles, get more specific with your titles. Don’t just put “consultant.” What kind of consultant are you? Being more specific often increases keywords. “Social Media Consultant” or “Retirement Plan Consultant” may get you more SEO leverage.

  1. Minimize or skip the Summary altogether. I’m seeing a little progress with this one, but definitely not enough. The Summary is key virtual real estate on LinkedIn. Folks, for the love of God, spend a little time on your Summary. Stop – I repeat – stop making it sound like a resume. You are allowed to stop writing in the 3rd person. In fact, you should. It really is ok to use “I.”

Writing in 3rd person here tends to also encourage overused, boring language (again, much of which we see on resumes). “Self-motivated team player capable of managing multiple projects at once. Was responsible for growing division over 50% with limited resources” Ok, that last statement at least gets some brownie points for noting some real value along with providing hard data (numbers don’t lie but of course people can). Still, it’s only somewhat memorable, because it sounds like 100,000 others.

Yes, tell me about the value you bring – how you do it, why it’s important, etc. However, please make it engaging. Make me care and think and even laugh in the process. Everyone is not going to do that, so the people who do are more likely to get me to connect with them and want to know more.

A killer summary should also include a call to action of some kind. Whether it’s how to contact you, offering a free consultation, directing to a website or video, there should be something there to encourage building a relationship.

Ask a thoughtful question. Think about what would make you pause. What would make you want to know more? Then translate that into your summary.

  1. Fail to use the Pulse Publishing feature.This warrants an entire post by itself. Initially rolled out to select people, now everyone is able to write “long posts” or blog on LinkedIn. This can be a game changer, especially for job seekers, business owners, consultants, financial advisers, executives, bloggers, and anyone else looking to establish credibility while building a brand.

This can also work especially well if you don’t have your own blog. Use LinkedIn to blog. You don’t need a web designer, Word Press, or a great deal of patience. You just need fresh ideas and your computer.

Want to increase quality connections? Publish on LinkedIn. Want to help position yourself as an expert and/or thought leader? Start writing on LinkedIn.

The thing is, you don’t even have to write much. You can get creative with the Pulse feature. We’re able to add video, audio, images. Some people use this feature to promote live or virtual events. Keep in mind all your connections are informed whenever you publish via Pulse.

If you think you need help with any of these three things or would like to learn more about maximizing this awesome platform, let’s chat. I love helping my clients “remix” their LinkedIn strategy, leading to more impact and income. If your profile and strategy on LinkedIn could use a makeover, let’s get to work. Waiting another week, month, quarter, or year is not going to fix the problem. You’ll just continue to repel the key influencers, potential clients, and game changers you most want to connect with. And delay building the memorable, breakthrough brand that can essentially make your competition irrelevant. If that’s something you’d like to do, schedule a complimentary LinkedIn REMIX session here.  Spaces for the remainder of the year are limited.