How Is Your LinkedIn Etiquette, Gentle Reader?

Many business people and professionals are afraid of making mistakes on social networks and this prevents them from taking full advantage of all that social media offers. However, there are tried-and-true methods that I’ve used to generate more than 70% of my business on the network. Discover the important Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette and the mistakes you absolutely want to avoid making:

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10 Things You Must Do On LinkedIn

  1. Personalize Connection Requests

It’s important to personalize all connection requests and avoid sending the default message like it’s the black plague. There are many people on LinkedIn that don’t appreciate random requests without a personal message. These are the example people who are likely to hit the “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button.

  1. Have A Profile Picture

Don’t start connecting with people until you have a professional photo of yourself. Your profile picture should be a nice clean and professional headshot.

  1. Personalize Your Recommendation Requests

Sadly, there are many people who get in the habit of simply requesting a recommendation without adding a personal message. If you want to successfully receive recommendations from those who you know it’s important to provide a personal note telling them what you are looking for one and always offer to reciprocate when appropriate.

  1. Keep It Professional At All Times

Do not talk about anything that isn’t relevant to business on LinkedIn. Ever. LinkedIn is a business social network and people expect everything to be professional at all times.

  1. Turn Off Notifications When Updating Your Profile

Profile updates can get a bit annoying for your connections if you decide to make a lot of changes to your profile in one day. It’s best to disable notifications when doing any profile updating for this reason.

Editor’s Note: This is a SUPERTIP. One of those obvious things that I never thought of when I updated my job title….

  1. Send A Welcome Message That Provides Value

One of the most critical steps in my LinkedIn marketing process is sending a “welcome” message to new connections to open up dialogue. Aim to provide them with some sort of value if you want to increase your odds of getting a response.

You may want to offer an article that you or someone else has written that you know would provide value to your new connection. The important thing to remember when you are learning how to use LinkedIn effectively is that if it doesn’t provide clear value, it is spam!

  1. Regularly Nurture Relationships

Make an effort to reach out to your valued connections whenever it makes sense to nurture the relationship. It can be as easy as leaving a positive comment on their recent update, sending them useful content specific to their profession or even a simple “congrats” for a promotion or a new product launch in their business.

  1. Make Your Contact List Open To Your Connections

It’s important to open your contacts list up to your new connections, hiding them will have you seen as self serving. When you connect with someone new you can see all of their contacts, what do you think they will feel about you if they see you have hidden your contacts?

  1. Introduce Your Connections To Each Other

The best way to eventually gain referrals is by giving them to others. Be proactive with your business matchmaking and do the best you can to connect valuable connections with each other if you sense that there could be some synergy.

  1. Respond Promptly To Messages

I like to treat LinkedIn etiquette similar to email in this sense. 1-2 days for a response is perfectly acceptable but any longer is pushing the envelope.

10 Things You Must NEVER Do On LinkedIn

  1. Don’t Send Spammy Messages To Your Connections

The old saying “Slow down the sale to speed it up” fits well here and this means to not pitch by sending spammy, self-serving messages to your connections. Everything must always be positioned for their benefit, not yours.

  1. Don’t Over Post

Avoid posting more than one status update per day on LinkedIn and definitely not more than two.

  1. Don’t Ask People You Don’t Know For Recommendations

You should never ask for a recommendation (or give one) to someone that you can’t personally vouch for. If someone with a poor reputation gives you a recommendation it will be put right on your profile linking back to theirs. Yikes!

  1. Don’t Criticize or Comment Negatively In Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great place to make new connections but only if you don’t turn them off with negativity.

  1. Do Not Post Self-Serving Content In Groups

LinkedIn groups are not for spamming your content. If you want to share your content then you need to craft it for the forum you want to post in and ensure that the goal of the content is to provide value first. Are you noticing a pattern yet? 😉

  1. Don’t Send Messages To Multiple People Without Unselecting This Option

If you are going to send a single message to reach multiple people, you need to unselect the option that says, “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses”. Nobody feels special getting a message that was carelessly sent to a bunch of other people.

  1. Don’t Ask People To Like Your Facebook Page

One of the biggest LinkedIn etiquette mistakes I see regularly is new, random connections begging for “likes” on their Facebook page. It’s totally different if after building a relationship with someone if you also choose to connect with them personally on Facebook, but don’t send a message saying: Please like my Facebook page.

  1. Don’t Ask New Connections or People You Don’t Know To Endorse You

Just because random people endorse you all the time doesn’t make it okay to ask for endorsements if you don’t know the person. I often get people that I don’t know send me messages saying “I just endorsed your skills can you endorse mine now?” If they want to endorse you after they receive a notification you endorsed them, they will, don’t ask for it unless it’s someone you know well.

  1. Don’t Send Messages With, “I see you viewed my profile…”

In a word: creepy.  If it’s someone you want to connect with, go ahead and send a personalized connection request that does NOT include I see you viewed my profile.

  1. Don’t Treat LinkedIn Like Facebook or Twitter

LinkedIn etiquette is very different from Facebook and Twitter. It’s important to know the appropriate etiquette for each network as they are often different. Aka nobody wants to see what you ate for lunch on LinkedIn.

It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

The biggest mistakes on social media come from the misconception that people care about what you have to say. That’s simply not the case. They care about finding solutions to their problems — and that’s it. The golden rule of LinkedIn etiquette and social media marketing in general is to always provide undeniable value that speaks to the exact type of person you are trying to connect with.

Melonie Dodaro is founder of Top Dog Social Media, an agency that helps business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals use social media marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers, and increase their revenue. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer. To learn more about LinkedIn, attend Melonie’s free webinar 3 Quick & Little-Known Secrets For Harnessing The Power of LinkedIn. Visit her website for more information.

Photo credit: Liz West