LinkedIn has almost 600 million users in over 200 countries. It has become the go-to social platform for professionals looking to enhance their reputation and make relevant business connections.
While more formal than Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a networking paradise. But it must be used carefully. With many brands slipping up on social media, it’s time to look at what went wrong and avoid some of the biggest social fails. In this episode we’re looking at LinkedIn and who failed hard.
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Not having a LinkedIn identity
When it comes to branding, you must have a strong identity. Yes you as an individual. This means including a photo on LinkedIn. Client-facing industries such as real estate and human resources tend to have a confident on-line presence with an A-grade LinkedIn snap. On the opposite end of the scale it’s thought that thirty-six per cent of healthcare professionals, 32 per cent of government employees and one-quarter of health, wellness and fitness workers have no photo at all.
Even some high-profile figures fail to make use of appropriate imagery. John Schnatter, Founder of Papa John’s International has a very skeleton LinkedIn profile with no photo and minimal info. Schnatter was recently booted out of the pizza company for making a racial slur during a call. While Papa John’s International did everything in their power to salvage their reputation and have a strong LinkedIn following of nearly 35,000, Schnatter does not appear to be building his self-profile back up on this particular platform.
Of course, being on the platform isn’t compulsory, but it can help you to:
Set yourself apart as a thought leader
Have your own voice amid a bustling business environment
Recover from PR mistakes
Connect with like-minded people
Link back to your business
Provide content that can be repurposed for other social media platforms
Lessons and takeaways:
1. LinkedIn members with a photo receive far more engagement: 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. So, it’s well worth humanising not only your personal LinkedIn account but your business account too in a bid to increase outreach.
2. Have an account or don’t. A half-effort can create a negative impression of your brand.
Sharing inappropriate memes and videos
Memes can be humorous, satirical and tongue-in-cheek. They help people connect with your brand.
That said; they must be used with care. Remember LinkedIn is a professional site where corporate big wigs look for potential candidates, partners and suppliers. It’s also the place where global companies talk about their latest ideas. So, it’s probably best not to keep bombarding people’s newsfeeds with LOL cat images.
Recruitment Consultant Marco Montinari said: “LinkedIn is meant to be a professional network, but I see a lot of people using memes in their posts. This is fine if used correctly, as I think memes can be a great way to communicate, but often memes are used in the wrong context or don’t make sense, which sometimes comes across as trying to be ‘down with the kids.’ It leaves the person looking not only a bit foolish, but also unprofessional. It makes me cringe.”
Here are a few examples of companies who didn’t quite get the memo:
Social fail reason 1: Despite being posted by LinkedIn Sales Solutions it’s not in-line with the platform’s professional target audience.
Top tip: As a brand you need to think carefully about the people you’re targeting and the social site being used. From there you can tailor content accordingly.
Social fail reason 2: This image is simply trying to plug business. A meme is supposed to increase engagement without being a blatant advertisement for a brand.
Tip tip: Avoid being overly promotional. Consumers prefer being taken on a journey that showcases the true value of your products and services.
Social media fail 1: This video sketch from Mr Bean was posted by a Blockchain head hunter. It’s trying to be humorous but is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.
Top tip: Stay on brand. Don’t go off-piste just to get laughs.
Spamming With In-Mail
Made connections on LinkedIn? Been swamped with in-mail 2 seconds later! Then this one’s for you! Generic, send-to-all emails are a complete nightmare for most of us. They’re often not useful at all. And even if they are they’ll probably get deleted for being ‘annoying.’
Social media fail: Lack of personalisation. Emails such as this seem disingenuous if they’re received two minutes after asking to connect. It’s also a template with the name inserted as appropriated. This is massively off-putting.
Top tip: Make genuine connections be it through email communication or other social channels rather than relying on send-to-all email tactics. Don’t be excessively self-focussed either as business tends to work better if it’s a two-way street. Imagine if you’re at a conference. You wouldn’t just talk about yourself now would you? So don’t to it online.
If you’re targeting specific people on LinkedIn and want to make a good impression, perhaps for influencer marketing, do your research. You can then mention some of the professional information you’ve discovered to make your email sound far more personal and relevant to the individual.
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