7 Etiquette Tips When Using LinkedIn For Business
I was recently asking for FAQ’s on hidden settings on LinkedIn you wished you knew about, however the common question I was asked last week was “What is the etiquette on using LinkedIn?”
I have been asked to produce a quick guide of what I consider to be “best practice” when using LinkedIn for Business. This guide is by no means exhaustive and I would welcome hearing from you about your top do’s and don’t s.
In no particular order
1. Not Personalising A LinkedIn Connection Request
I am often involved in a debate whether or not it matters whether to personalise a connection request when LinkedIn provides an automated message. Well, in short, I wish LinkedIn didn’t and users were forced to write something. I will concede to agree that if you were connecting with a friend or even connecting with someone where it has been agreed to send a invite to connect, maybe a personal message isn’t necessary.By sending the default message you are saying, I am lazy, I don’t really care about the value you can add to my network or I don’t care if you accept or not. Make the right first impression and give the recipient a reason to want to connect with you.
2. Too many updates on LinkedIn
The quickest way to get muted in my activity feed is to continuously post updates that
- Are the same update (Spamming)
- Are of no value to me or my network
- Are just Self promotion (Exercise the 80/20 rule)
Unlike Twitter where it is acceptable to have the same update being fed to your audience several times throughout the day, (due to the nature of how quick timelines are updated and times relevant to your target market), on LinkedIn it is just annoying.
Just 5 of the 10 consecutive posts.
Come on guys and girls, this is not Facebook. What might be acceptable on FB, i.e. what you or your kids got up to at the weekend, pointless word/maths games which serve no purpose. However I am not totally against the odd “funny” image, especially if it has relevance. Although I personally like inspirational quotes/images.
If every update you post is all about you it is very easy to alienate your intended market. I would normally recommend that you exercise the 80/20 rule. 80% of your updates should be relevant and of interest to your target audience and 20% can be self promotion. So in every 5 updates, more than enough for LinkedIn, 4 should be for your target market and 1 can be about yourself/business.
3. Be a giver and don’t just take
When using LinkedIn for Business remember that “Givers Gain” Look at adding value by contributing to group discussions and commenting on other peoples updates (where relevant). Share your expertise and help answer your network/group questions where you can. Simply I will remind you of this quote from the late great Zig Ziglar,
4. Be a good networker
When I am using LinkedIn for Business I am often asked by my network if I can introduce someone to someone else. As I make it a point to try and engage with all my connections I have a good understanding of what my network do in business and where they can help.
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site with over 280+ Million users and just like in real life face to face networking if someone you trust asks you for an introduction to someone else you would do your best to facilitate it.
If you are asked by someone to introduce you to someone you don’t know that well, I always see this as an opportunity to get to know that contact better. I would often reply to the contact who made the initial request and say that I don’t know that person that well but I will contact them to see if they are open to receive an introduction. To the contact I don’t know particularly well I would send a message similar to this,
As a word of caution, I only make introductions for and to connections I trust. The last thing you would want to do is to make an introduction for someone, only for them to damage your own reputation.
5. Sell to me on LinkedIn
I am always open to receiving invitations to connect and as long as you have personalised your connection request I am likely to accept the invite. As a matter of course I would normally send a message once we have connected and invite my new connection to have a telephone conversation to learn more about what they do in business. If they have not personalised the message I would normally ask the question, “What was it about my profile that prompted you to connect?” However, if you remember nothing else on LinkedIn, please, please don’t sell. It is a real turn off and will see you instantly removed from my connections. As an example, I was invited to connect and I responded in my usual manner only to receive an obvious cut and paste sales message as a reply.
You can only sell when you know your potential client has a need. You will only be able to identify that need when you have asked a few questions, ideally in conversation on the phone. If there is a need, look to make an appointment to meet, (online isn’t unusual these days with the likes of Skype and other similar software), then use the meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate why you should be doing business together.
6. Credit where credit is due
If you are sharing content or updates from your network credit the author or connection on the find. LinkedIn is a social network and quite often the keyword “social” is often forgotten. In real life if you was handed a written copy of some useful information and then used it as part of your presentation, would you or would you not credit the source?
Giving credit to someone’s authored work is also a great way to build relationships with that person and start conversations. Explain why you liked the article, add a comment to it and credit the source. I often find an update from within my network which I feel I would like to share and I would always let my network know where that source has come from.
7. Include information where it doesn’t belong
I am beginning to see this more and more on LinkedIn as users are recognising the importance of being on LinkedIn to generate more leads, more sales and create exciting business opportunities. In an attempt to “be contacted” or creating opportunities for themselves, the likes of telephone numbers and email addresses etc. are appearing in the name or headline field of profiles. This is actually against LinkedIn’s user agreement, section 10.2.2 –
“Publish inaccurate information in the designated fields on the profile form (e.g., do not include a link or an email address in the name field). Please also protect sensitive personal information such as your email address, phone number, street address, or other information that is confidential in nature;” – LinkedIn User Agreement
Likewise using the “Profile Image” to upload a business logo, also against the user agreement 10.2.6. For more info see my 3 mistakes to avoid with your profile picture.
I can assure you there are far better ways to use LinkedIn to help you generate more business.
I hope this article was of interest to you and that you enjoyed reading it. If you found it of value please share it with others who you feel could genuinely benefit. I can’t thank people enough for their input, questions and feedback. More importantly thank you to those who share and engage, as you are the ones who are inspiring me to continue to write these articles.
If you would like a question answered, or a complimentary assessment on using LinkedIn, please drop me a line through my Contact Page or a message below.
Have a very successful Q2! – Stuart Carpenter