5 silent truths about LinkedIn

Would you prefer to shoot yourself first before being shot at? You might be asking yourself, “What difference does it make? After all I would be dead in the end anyway!”. If you agree with this, then it means you might be someone who probably shies away from challenges and is satisfied with the minimum. What am I driving at? What if after shooting yourself, your shooter realised he had no bullets left or by some form of divine intervention someone comes to your rescue? You would have been saved but by then it would be too late.

That is what I have observed on LinkedIn over the period, people shooting themselves in the foot before any opportunity even gets the chance to be presented at their doorstep. I get a couple of messages in my inbox from people either trying to sell a service or product or seeking employment. Some mails are sent in a rush with grammatical errors and its gets me thinking, “why would this person be killing any prospects they might have?”. First impressions count a lot! Take note of this. There are times when I reply with feedback, some ignore it and take offence, others are also appreciative.

I was inspired to put this short piece together after reading a post by Nadia on LinkedIn.

Hi Guys just a tip – if you want someone to notice you and/or if you want to make an impression don’t inbox them and say ‘hey look at my profile’ it’s unbecoming! Put your best foot forward and let me see you! Too many inbox messages that I should look at people’s profiles…. Fix up, look sharp and let’s go!

Nadia

I commented on her post with the below and got a number of likes

linkedin response

My comment on Nadia’s post

Apparently it seems some people are genuinely not aware of the courtesies on LinkedIn and I hope this post would be helpful to you especially the recent graduates and other job seekers who want to get noticed.

1. Please! LinkedIn is not Facebook

If you want a social interaction and nothing professional, kindly deactivate your LinkedIn account and migrate full-time to Facebook. I have observed that people post forwarded messages and other junk on LinkedIn without even taking some time to check on the authenticity. It might seem nice to alert your professional contacts of some social scams etc but note that, there are other platforms for social communication.

NB: This excludes posts by persons whose job involves social media interaction, blogging among others.

So before you post anything, ask yourself this question, is this suitable for LinkedIn? How would my professional network react to this?

2. LinkedIn is not a chat service!

“Hello dear”, “Hi”, “Whats up?”, “What do you do?” Please and please again, starting your conversation with this and expecting a reply before proceeding won’t take you far. Personally if you approach me this way after I accept you as a connection, I would take you off my network. It means you are idle or don’t know what you are about. If you want to chat there are loads of options available and LinkedIn is not one of those options.

So what do you do? My advice is to introduce yourself and go straight to the point. No dancing around when you can just hit the nail on the head.

3. If you can’t sell yourself, don’t expect others to easily buy into you

Currently people are busy and might have limited time, instead of going with the following:

Hello I just completed xxxxxxx with first class honours and am in search of a job. Can you assist?

In the first place, I am not a recruiter, just a finance person. My response usually depends on my mood. If I am in a good mood, then I would say,

“I am sorry xxxxx we don’t have any vacancies where I work or I will send your CV to our HR department in case of any future vacancies”

If not, then forget it! You won’t get any response from me. So imagine a recruiter who receives thousands of mails, what makes you different from the others? What makes you standout such that he/she would want to read your message and even take the next step of sending a reply or getting in touch with you?

In selling yourself, your contents and subject is very important. The subject and first statement of your message draws the reader to want to go further.

4. Perform detailed research before sending any message

A recruiter would be interested in you if you have done your homework. Perform research to know more about the company and what you can bring on board should they decide to hire you.

Once it’s easy to add you to my professional network, it is equally easy to take you off once I notice that your purpose for connecting with me is unprofessional.

I once received a message, very detailed, research and introduction on point! BUT the individual had developed a generic email that he was circulating. The company I work with didn’t even provide those services he had boldly stated in the email. Would a recruiter take you seriously if even prior to hiring you, you are already committing blunders.

My advice is to take your time and send specific and relevant emails.

5. Use a professional looking picture for your profile

If I get a request, I look at your profile and your display picture before taking a decision to either accept or ignore your request. As I said, first impressions count a lot. In as much as it is attracting, save your beautiful poses with pouted lips for instagram and the likes unless you are a model but even with models I would expect a professional looking profile picture.

If you need any guidance on tips to assist you in selecting the right picture you should check out, 7 Tips to Make Sure Your LinkedIn Picture Is Helping, Not Hurting, Your Prospects

 Hope you found something useful in this post.
What’s the worst and best messages you have received on LinkedIn? Is there anything I have missed in this post? Do you have questions you need answers to? Drop your comments or send an email to omtsdigest@gmail.com.
“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrongly.”
Germany Kent

Social media and business

First published: 31 August 2015

I do not consider myself a social media expert but a fan of social media and an apps explorer. I have observed a few social media practices online and would like to bring these to light. This post would hopefully assist some small and medium-sized companies who commit these mistakes to re-modify their social media strategy or drop it totally, would explain this further in my post. As earlier stated I am not an expert, I gained my knowledge and experience through e-learnings from HP and independent research, managing 4 Facebook pages (mine and that of my sister) and also through personal experiences as a customer on other pages of businesses I am a fan of. I noticed a few mistakes that I would be bringing to light in the next few paragraphs and suggested solutions.

Observation 1: A less active and engaging social media presence

Having a less active social media activity is like ‘being there but not really there’. This is similar to sitting on a fence in my opinion. Before I decide to like or follow a page, I lookout for the date the page was last updated and also the gaps between various posts made. This is a sign of the business’ level of activity and engagement. I have seen quite a number of pages with last updates dating between 2010 and 2014, although we are in 2015. People follow pages to be updated and engaged. So why would someone follow or like a dead page?

Suggested Solution

Engage your audience with relevant content at least once a day or adopt a consistent timing. Pushing too much in a day would just put off your fans or followers. Use your page insights and statistics as a guide in setting out your strategy. A customer won’t always be pleased if you are trying to convince them to buy something from you everyday without providing any benefit to them. It is a give and take affair.

My advice is to adopt and stick conscientiously to your social media strategy. The good thing these days is that, posts can be written now in bulk and scheduled for future dates which is very convenient. To conclude if you are not up to the game, you either quit or get an expert to assist. It’s better not to have a page than have an inactive one.

Social media activities are linked to your company’s brand so please take note of this. If you are not up to the task you can hire or outsource this to a social media marketing consultant to do this.

If you have set up a new account, have all old accounts deleted as  it confuses your customers since they are unable to decipher the real account,You should also be on the lookout for fake accounts in your name and get them reported. You never know what picture they might be painting of you out there.

Observation 2:Slow response time

We live in a fast paced environment. Almost everyone prefers real-time or close to real-time information and response to queries. Some time back I needed supplies and I saw a company’s page on Facebook that had just what I needed. I dropped an email to them immediately. They promised to get me sorted out soon. I waited for days and still not a word from them. The final result of this is, I found an alternative in another country and ordered online for the supplies. Response time was great so I went with them. I decided to ignore the Ghanaian company but later changed my mind.  I sent a follow-up message detailing how displeased I was with the lack of feedback and how that had pushed me to purchase from elsewhere. Additionally, I made them aware that this could easily push their potential customers away. They apologised and explained the cause of the delay.

Suggested solution

Make it a goal to respond promptly to customer queries. If information is not readily available or would be delayed, make the customer aware so they know they would be sorted out in a few days and not feel like they have been ignored. They can easily bad mouth you to others in their network which is not good especially for a start-up. You can set response time as a KPI for who ever is responsible for attending to such messages.  Thankfully there are apps for Facebook, twitter, etc to enable real-time feedback. Make maximum use of them.

Final observation: Scanty information and details on a company’s social media platform

Several times I have come across companies with eye-catching profile and cover pictures that I get attracted to. Sadly, I get to the page and I now have to figure out what they are about. This is because that information is not detailed on the page. Others also don’t leave any contact details which makes it hard to reach them especially if their page is not very active. Every business should be easily reachable.

Suggested solution

When you set up a social media page make maximum use of the ‘about’ section. Include what the business is about, its values, vision and mission and most importantly numbers, website or email addresses you can be reached on by your customers.

These are the 3 most obvious observations I have noted.  Turning a new leaf with your social media strategy would help your business expand its market and build its brand.

You can comment or drop me an email with your additional observations and suggestions or disagreements or if this post has been helpful to you.

Task yourself to learn something new each day

Task yourself to learn something new each day

Keeping your personal email safe

It’s common these days for emails and social media platforms to be hacked. You are either a victim or a witness. Currently, most of our social media profiles are linked to our personal emails. These are tips most of us are well aware of, but of course, like we all do we fail to put knowledge to action unless something negative happens.

Before going further, I will cite a few scenarios to paint the picture of the implications of failing to keep good personal email practices.

Imagine your email account has been hacked and emails are being forwarded to your contacts without your knowledge. Good for you, if it’s promptly brought to your notice for it to be rectified. It usually just requires a password change. I stand to be corrected by the technology experts. On a daily basis I receive emails from people on my contacts lists with links to pages one won’t usually visit under any circumstances such as links to sites advertising sex enhancing drugs, among other things. So imagine you have potential employers or respectable people you look up to as part of your contacts and they keep receiving such unsolicited emails from you. It can be embarrassing and It doesn’t paint a good picture of you. Annoyingly such emails can keep resending themselves. You might end up enduring the embarrassing process of apologising to everyone.

The common one these days is on Facebook where profane links, pictures and even videos are posted on people’s walls without your knowledge till they are alerted. If your privacy settings is set to public, it would unfortunately be seen by a lot of people. Remember that first impressions can count.

If we manage our personal emails a bit like we do with our office mails it should reduce the potential to be hacked and the occurrence of such incidences. Hackers are terribly smart so this might not be a 100% answer to your problems.

Personal tips to observe

1. Passwords

Change it periodically or at a maximum every 3 months. It doesn’t have to be fixed but make it a point to change it periodically. Don’t be like those who keep the same password for years. It’s a bad habit. We all hate it when we have to keep these to memory especially in this fast paced world where we can keep our lives simple with technology.

Password Credits: freeimages.com

Password
Credits: freeimages.com

Passwords shouldn’t be obvious like your name, hometown etc.  They should make sense to you but not to an outsider. Include symbols and numbers to make it strong and difficult to guess.

Password clues shouldn’t be obvious to be figured out by anyone, other than by yourself’

Don’t write your passwords out or save them on your phone. The temptation is very strong. If you want to note it somewhere don’t write out all the details just a bit of clues should do. Of course the clues shouldn’t be obvious to be figured out by anyone, other than yourself.

2. Inbox and Spam
Never click or read any email with links from an unknown sender. It just might be the key or the door that opens to bring in all the malicious ware and viruses.

Never click on a link from your contact if you have second thoughts. If unsure give the person a call first to confirm before proceeding.

3. Always logout of your account. Never logout just by closing the browser.

4. Don’t allow your browser to remember your password. You never know who might gain access to your phone or computer. Always uncheck the box to prevent this..

5. Two-factor authentication. Always enable two-factor authentication to receive any alerts should someone access your account.

Its annoying to have to remember all these passwords from bank accounts, emails, social media pages etc but remember its worth it, considering the potential implications.

How do you maintain the safety of your personal emails? Share with us your experiences if your personal mail has been hacked before.