LinkedIn Small Business Side-Eye: Five ways you’re turning off potential customers

  • MHoward
  • July 18th, 2023
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There are a few things business owners do on LinkedIn that unwittingly and negatively affect their potential customer’s perception of them.

Unlike other social media platforms, earning the sale on LinkedIn is not as simple as posting an image of your product with a great price, and voila’! SALE!

It doesn’t work that way on most of the other applications, but that’s another conversation, altogether.

Much of the published LinkedIn-focused content typically invites you to try this thing or that thing in an effort to increase engagement, improve reach, and get you on the right path to your next customer.

But let’s look at another page in the LinkedIn business book and review a few things that may be standing as a barrier to that all important relationship leading to your next sale.

Your LinkedIn Personal Profile Is Incomplete

Remember the rule learned in your high school English class – “Presentation is everything”? 

The same applies to your LinkedIn Personal Profile. Presentation matters – FULL STOP. It informs your audience about your professionalism, your attention to detail, as well as your industry credibility. Potential customers come to your profile – which is your own little, mini website – and make quick judgments about who you are based on what they see, or not.

Visitors who go the extra mile to review your profile typically review a few things:

The Background Image

This ‘front and center’ piece of LinkedIn real estate on your profile can’t be missed. Neglecting it makes your space look incomplete, and makes you look like an amateur. Even if they aren’t “looking” for your background image, it’s literally the first thing on your profile. If it’s empty, they can’t help but notice.

Find or create an image that represents you or your business and fill this space!

Your Headline or Summary

Don’t leave your headline summary blank or generically tell people you’re a “CEO” – no one cares. A title doesn’t tell your potential customer/partner what you can do for them. This is your opportunity to tell the world why working with you is beneficial to their bottom line. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

Recommendations from Clients or Former Colleagues

If you don’t have recommendations on your profile, you’re missing the opportunity to let others step up to the mic and sing your praises. Now, since they’re down at the bottom of your profile, most people will never scroll down to read them. But, if they do, that means they’re at least a little interested and are vetting you and your business. How awful for you if they had nothing to see.

Just a quick side note: recommendations and skill endorsements are NOT the same thing. I’d recommend spending time getting recommendations as they carry more credibility than endorsements. ANYONE can endorse skills, even people you’ve never met. If someone takes the time to write a recommendation for another person’s profile, you can almost guarantee it’s valid. Who has time to write one for random people? Who wants to?

In the end, if you’re the CEO of a business consulting firm or a media group and I’m thinking of using your services, at a minimum I’d expect your profile to have ALL the things. When your profile has gaps, doubt in your credibility creeps in.

You’re Professional, But Not Relatable

I regularly see posts and/or discussions on how “unprofessional” Linkedin has become over the last few years. There’s an ongoing debate about what’s considered ‘acceptable’ content, with some adamant about certain posts that would be better suited for other apps.

Before you stand on your soapbox about whether this post or that post isn’t LinkedIn material, consider this: people begin to trust you if they feel they know you or your personal perspective on business or industry topics.

NOW HEAR THIS RECENT UPDATE – JULY 2023! LinkedIn has recently changed its algorithm to favor content related to what your profile states you do professionally. But, that doesn’t mean you have to be all the way buttoned up! You can still allow your audience to see a side of you they typically wouldn’t. I would recommend relating it to your business or industry in some way.

For example, did you recently attend a golf tournament with colleagues or clients? Let your audience know and show the evidence! Video and images are still the favorite mediums to stop the social media scroll.

Did you grow beautiful tomatoes in your garden? You can relate the time you spend in your garden to the flexibility that your work/industry/service provides. Or talk about that fact that your business colleague/partner/client sent you seeds from their last harvest and these tomatoes are the result.

See where I’m going with that? You can still show a personal side of yourself while relating it to your business AND being relatable to your audience.

Relatable = like. Like = trust. Trust = increased chances of business relationships. Don’t miss out.

Sending Generic and Impersonal Connection Requests

Thousands of connection requests are sent through LinkedIn everyday. I mean, they’re bouncing all over the place and most of them are basic, non-personalized notifications.

Now, there is nothing technically wrong with sending that kind of request. Quite frankly, LinkedIn makes it easy on both mobile app and desktop to simply click the “Connect” button and keep it moving.

But that kind of request won’t help you make an impression with your audience and peers. Does it take a bit longer to personalize each request? Yes, but the extra effort is worth it as it gets you noticed and gives the recipient something to consider. How do you personalize a request?

  • Mention that you have connections in common. If you truly know those common connections, mention them by name.
  • Mention the last blog/article they wrote or that they were featured in and tell them what you found interesting about it.
  • If you saw/heard them on a podcast or webinar, tell them when and where you heard them.

Need help crafting your own connection requests? Download your free LinkedIn Connection Request Swipe File.

You’re Pitching Your Product or Service in the Connection Request

The last one brings me to this next point. I truly feel like a broken record writing this one, because I’ve written it, created videos about it, and it still amazes me when I get one of these connection requests. 

So, here goes, again. The sales process on LinkedIn is THE LONG GAME. Most sales transactions are B2B and so there is much more thought, and sometimes more than one person, involved in the buying process. 

No one is buying from you just because you present what seems to be a great product or service. 

No one is scheduling meetings just because you hop in their DMs immediately after connecting with some form of, “I’ve reviewed your profile/company page/website and it looks like I/we might be able to help you blah, blah, blah and increase your blah, blah, blah. I would love to set up a Zoom meeting with you to show you how you can achieve this too! It’s free, no strings attached!”

It’s annoying and disingenuous. Is there a time to send a potential customer this type of direct message? YES! But it’s definitely NOT with or immediately after your connection request. People want to get to know and trust you before deciding to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars with you. Give it time.

You’re Only Using the Application to Promote Yourself

How many times have you been watching your favorite show and a commercial comes on that you’ve seen too many times? You roll your eyes and say through clenched teeth, “If that commercial comes on ONE MORE TIME!”.

This is how your audience feels if the only content you offer is self-promotion.

Your audience IS interested in getting to know you – the person behind the brand. But if all you’re saying is, “Look at me…look at my product, look at me…look at my product, look at me…”, they tune you out, unfollow you, never engage with your content, and quickly block any direct messages you send. 

PEOPLE AREN’T ON LINKEDIN TO BE SOLD. They’re on the app to learn and build industry relationships that can help them reach the next level. 

So, how can you help? How can you educate them? What information can you offer that they’ll appreciate? Remember, their time on the app is not at all about you. Foster trust with your connections as they perceive you as someone genuinely interested in providing value rather than solely promoting yourself.

There are many small things business owners can do to increase their LinkedIn currency. Small changes can have a major impact on how you’re perceived and how successful you are in building trust and productive relationships with potential clients.

If you need assistance building your profile or a monthly strategy, I’m happy to help! Let’s get on each other’s calendar!

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