Monday, January 6, 2014

20 Do’s & Don’ts of LinkedIn Etiquette

By Thomas Signorello January 6th, 2014

Have you ever thought about how exactly to use LinkedIn for your business?
Has a fear of making a mistake held you back from taking full advantage of all that the #1 business social network has to offer?
This article will help to clear up some concerns you may have as to how to best use LinkedIn for business. By outlining some of the best tried and true methods that I have used to consistently generate more than 70% of my business on the network, hopefully you will benefit, as well.
In this article, you will discover important Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette and the things that you want to avoid on the site.

LinkedIn Etiquette: 10 Things You Should Do

1.     Personalize Connection Requests

It’s important to personalize your connection requests and avoid sending the default message. It’s in poor taste. Many people on LinkedIn don’t appreciate the random request without a personal message. These are the type of people who are most likely to hit the “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button. If that happens, Linkedin Administrators will most likely suspend your account. Try and avoid this from happening.

2.     Have A Clear, 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 "head-shot". I've received connection requests for some without a photo. A part of me asks "what are they hiding?" You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

3.     Personalizing Your Recommendation Requests

There are many people who get in the habit of simply requesting a recommendation without adding a personal message. Big mistake! 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. I like the way I was taught as a child ... "Do unto others" ... If you are looking to get more recommendations, take the initiative and send one first without being asked. It goes a long way with your connection(s)!

4.     Keep It Professional

Avoid talking about anything that isn't relevant to business. LinkedIn is a business social network and people expect everything to be professional at all times. 

5.     Turn Off Notifications When You Update Your Profile

Profile updates can get a bit annoying for your connections if you decide to make multiple changes to your profile, especially in one sitting. Best to disable notifications when doing profile updates for this reason. 

6.     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 a conversation and some dialogue. Provide people with value if you want to increase your responses.
I include my LinkedIn tips, however you might choose to offer something that you or someone else has written that you know would provide value to your new connection. An 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! 

7.     Regularly Nurture Relationships

Make an effort to reach out to your valued connections whenever it makes sense to do so. 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.

8.     Make Your Contact List Open To Your Connections

It’s important to open your contacts list up to your new connections. Hiding your contacts will have you seen as "self serving". When connecting with others and you can't see all of their contacts, how does it make you feel? 

9.     Be a Connector. Introduce Your Connections To Each Other

The best way to eventually gain referrals is by giving them. Be proactive with your business matchmaking and do the best you can to connect valuable connections with each other. 

10.  Respond Promptly To Messages

LinkedIn etiquette is similar to standard email responses. 1-2 days for a response is perfectly acceptable. Any longer is pushing it. 

LinkedIn Etiquette: 10 Things You Must NEVER Do

1.     Don’t Send Spammy Messages Out To Your Connections

Have you ever heard “Slow down the sale in order to speed it up”? That fits well here and this means to not pitch by sending spam and self-serving messages out to your connections. Always position info for their benefit, not yours.

2.     Do not "Over Post"

Avoid posting more than one status update per day on LinkedIn. People turn themselves "invisible" to others by being "too" assertive.

3.     Avoid Asking People You Don’t Know For Recommendations

Never ask for a recommendation (or give one) to someone that you can’t personally vouch for. Likewise, If someone with a less than stellar reputation gives you a recommendation it will be put right on your profile, linking them back to their profile. Ouch!

4.     Do not Criticize or Comment Negatively In Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great place to make new people, however only if you avoid turning them off with negativity. Send out positives to the world!

5.     Avoid Posting Self-Serving Content In Groups

LinkedIn groups are not meant for spamming your content. If you wish to share your message then craft it for the forum and ensure that the goal of the content is to meant to provide value first.

6.     Don’t Send Messages To Multiple People Without Deselecting the "Multiple Recipients" option

If you are going to send a single message and you wish for it to reach multiple connections, you will need to deselect the option that says, “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses”. People do not feel special when getting a message that was carelessly sent as "bulk" mail to other people. 

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

A big LinkedIn etiquette mistakes is new, random connections begging for “likes” on their Facebook page. It is different after building a relationship with someone and you wish to connect with them personally on Facebook, but don’t send a message saying: Please like my Facebook page. 

8.     Avoid Asking New Connections or People You Don’t Know To Endorse You

Random people endorse people all the time. It doesn't make it acceptable to ask for endorsements if you don’t know the person. I often get connections that I hardly 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 an endorsement unless they are someone you know well. 
9.     Do not Send Messages With, “I see you viewed my profile…”
In a word: Yuck!  If it’s someone you wish to connect with, go ahead and send a personalized connection request that does NOT include this language.

10.  Don’t Treat LinkedIn Like other Social Media sites

LinkedIn etiquette is very different from sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s important to know that the appropriate etiquette for each network as they are often very different. Nobody wants to see what you had for lunch on LinkedIn. 
It’s About Them, not You,
Probably 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, period.
The golden rule of LinkedIn etiquette and Social Media Marketing in general is to always provide outstanding value that speaks to the exact type of person you are trying to connect with.
Thomas Signorello is a Professional Networker and Relationship Building Coach and Mentor. He has grown a tremendous business by teaching people the Art of making others feel special and taking relationships made via the Internet Offline. To learn more about Thomas and how he helps people achieve more, visit: and connect with him on Linkedin.