LinkedIn. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it has a significant impact on business. When used correctly, it drives a tremendous amount of traffic to a website, helps cultivate relationships that lead to sales, and quickly establishes you as an industry expert. But it’s also one of the most unforgiving platforms when something about your profile is out of line or you accidently have an error in judgment or spelling.
In a recent Huffington Post article titled, “Attention is the New Currency” they assert that although social media platforms glean a tremendous amount of user data from us, they still get it for free. That may change at some point but for now it’s still true; and they use the free data to influence user behavior. For example, for the past two years, LinkedIn has released lists of the most overused buzzwords on user profiles.
If you’re wondering why that matters here are a few good reasons:
The origin of an overused buzzword:
According to award winning biographer, Christopher Sandford, buzzwords help us recede into the background in groups so we don’t standout too much. That’s fantastic in person where you have the benefit of body language and tone of voice but it’s lousy when you’re relying on your online platforms to tell your story. Buzzwords in writing, especially overused buzzwords are hard to read, and visitors get bored fast when they’re used in abundance.
Why we still use buzzword even though we know they’re boring
We use them to fit in because they’re easy and we think everyone relates to them; it’s the “everyone else does” mentality. We also use them to cover up for our lack of expertise in hopes we sound more knowledgeable than we are. Basically if you want to sound like everyone else, keep using them, otherwise think about these 10 overused buzzwords for 2017 (according to LinkedIn) and avoid them in your profile:
Experienced, strategic, focused, certified, specialized, passionate, leadership, excellent, creative and expert
Once you’ve culled the buzzwords, here are a few other important aspects of your profile to pay attention to if standing out and driving more business is your goal:
1. Your headline – the most important sentence you’ll write
We all know a killer headline when we read one because it basically forces us to start reading the article; we can’t help it. You have 120 characters available to showcase your excellence and cause a similar reaction in your profile visitors – make it count. If you’re lacking for good ideas, take a stroll though your LinkedIn connections and notice which ones catch your eye and why. Then apply those principles to your own headline to attract more attention.
2. Summaries create a ghost town – if you’re not careful
With LinkedIn’s new facelift, the summary section isn’t as obtuse as it used to be. Previously if you wrote a novel in that section, readers had to trudge through it to reach your experiences and roles. Now, you have roughly 30 – 35 words that will show and then a “see more” link that expands your summary. You know what that means, right? Right – it needs to be treated similarly to a headline. Use the 30 words to entice visitors to “see more” and you’ve won their attention, which according to LinkedIn is no more than 10 seconds, max. In other words, hook them fast or risk losing the opportunity.
3. Looky-loos want the scoop
Whether someone is visiting your profile for the first time or the millionth time, they are there for a reason. Maybe they’re refreshing their memory about you before your next call, maybe someone told them to check you out, maybe they saw one of your posts or you’re connected to someone they know. Chances are they won’t tell you therefore all you can do is work hard to make your profile visitor friendly, interesting and unique.