LinkedIn is only for those companies who do B2B!
By exerting your expertise and taking an active role on LinkedIn, you are not only able to connect with other companies, but also other individuals who would be interested in you and your product. Just think: if you are a management consultant, what other site would be like shooting fish in a barrel in terms of target market. Same goes with healthcare, publishing, accounting, banking, human resources, restaurants, legal services, real estate…ok, you get the idea. Want more proof? Even I used LinkedIn to find a copywriter, a web designer, new office space, a public relations firm, graphic designers and other vital members of staff.

My clients won’t buy from me just because I’m on LinkedIn!
Branding is key as it allows you to not only establish your brand credibility, but also shows that you are in the mix, joining the conversation. Many of my clients, and my clients’ clients….come from LinkedIn. Why? Because they were positioned as experts in their field. Who wouldn’t want to go to the “go-to” person for finance to have their taxes done? If my family member needed elective surgery – wouldn’t I check out the local physician that had several active online conversations and testimonials that spoke to the condition in question?

I have a profile, but the site just doesn’t work!
This is a biggie, and one that spills over to many other social and online networks. This is what I call the “Build it and They Will Come” Factor. LinkedIn, like Facebook and Twitter, is a “social” network. Does this mean that by quickly filling in your vitals and adding a pic you had saved on your desktop will have everyone jumping on your profile, begging to network with you? Well, perhaps if you were a major celebrity, politico or brand name. But those spots are reserved for the megas. The rest of us have to roll up our sleeves and grow our networks piece by piece. We have to connect with our business contacts, those whom we respect, those who we want to target for business. Not to mention take part in the many different areas where you can be positioned as an expert – directly in front of your audience.

The more contacts I have the more business I will get.
Another misconception is that having large numbers is a 100% guarantee that will get you to the top in seconds. While there is a bit of clout in having many connections on LinkedIn, quality is definitely something that is of paramount importance. Let’s think about this for a second. If all of my connections were technophobes and I was selling the latest in electronic gear….what is the use? It’s going to be a hard sell. Or how about if my massive network is full of people trying to sell to me and not listening to what I have to add to the conversation…what benefit are they to me?

If I scream loud enough, people will be enchanted by me.
Wrong again. The people with longevity on LinkedIn are those who not only interact with other users, but try to share their knowledge, join in discussions, ask questions, answer questions and add value to their connections. If I just send everyone a sales pitch, my profile update is a sales pitch and all of my postings are pitches….guess what people will view me as? A pitchman. You want to be viewed as an expert, so while you can yell…don’t make it all about you all the time. This give and take builds relationships that can last a lifetime.

Everyone can do it on their own.
This is more of a half myth, as many of us can do it. We have taken the time to research, look at our positioning, come up with creative angles, create lots of fresh content to share and lots more – however the most important part, consistency, can also be the hardest part.

So while many of us are more than capable, we just don’t have the time to create that magic network, work the thousands of groups and millions of users and discussions that are ripe for the picking, and basically brand and position ourselves and our business with great success.