If you are like me, you are wasting your time on LinkedIn. At least I used to. A year ago, I thought I had the social media platform down pat. I had over 500+ connections, a professional profile picture and my detailed professional resume posted. I had sprinkled keywords around and “liked” every article I could. I followed influential people, joined groups and then sat back just a little impressed with myself. And nothing happened. People didn’t climb over each other to connect with me. Customers didn’t start knocking down my door. Nothing.
I went to a PR group who said that they could ramp it up. I bought advertising and spent money on Press releases and social media blasts. Nothing. A professional resume writer said my resume was tired and old fashioned and rewrote it. Nothing. A marketing expert told me to post stuff, something, anything 2-3 times each day (as well as 20-30 tweets on Twitter and 3-5 posts on Facebook, which consumed my entire day) Guess what….zippo.
Then, I listened to the author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Dummies, Donna Serdula, deliver a presentation and discovered that her book has the perfect title, because I, in fact, had no clue. In order to make things happen, I had to BE an influencer, not just try to hang around them. It turns out that the functionality of groups was not at all what I thought it was. And while posting a resume might help find a job, alone it does not create the impression of an authority. Keywords only matter if you know which fields to put them in, and searches are limited.
With serious help from her professional group that DOES know what it’s doing, the LinkedIn Makeover team, my professional profile got a complete redesign. Two weeks after the facelift, I was contacted and asked to join an advisory panel as an expert in the field. I hadn’t changed in those two weeks, but a complete makeover made me look like I had. This members-only group that I had been trying to connect with reached out to me and asked me to join!
The moral of the story is if you are going to use LinkedIn as a tool to promote your events, attract the right people or to be an influencer, don’t bother if you are going to only sort-of use it. That is like throwing breadcrumbs in a pond. You will make fish happy, but you are not going to catch any. To get the fish in your boat takes the proper equipment, the right hook and tasty bait. LinkedIn is a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Don’t waste your time using LinkedIn. Either go all in…or just close your browser now.
Li Hayes is a Professional Speaker Manager, and LinkedIn Amateur and Founder of GoLeeward Speaker Management.