I’ve been doing this gig for a while now, yet it never fails to amaze me how bizarrely people act on social networks compared to how they would in real life.
It’s almost as though when you sit someone behind a screen and ask them to connect with a fellow human being, all rational thought and social etiquette goes out the window.
And it really gets my goat.
So here are my top 5 tips when it comes to LinkedIn etiquette.
# 1 – Be personal when connecting
If you’ve decided you want to connect with someone, take the time to send them a personalised connection request.
If you were in a face to face environment you wouldn’t just go up to someone and shove your business card in their face, hoping they’d get back in touch with you one day. That would be rude.
It kind of works the same way on LinkedIn.
Sending someone a generic message shows you can’t be bothered to explain to them why you’re reaching out. What is it about them that makes you want to connect? What is it you think you can offer them that would be of benefit?
Yes, many people will accept your request regardless of how you ask them to connect, but they’re not going to be invested in you. They’ll just ignore your posts, and ultimately might end up removing you as a connection anyway. So what’s the point?
Put the effort in now, and you have a much better chance of establishing a genuine networking relationship.
# 2 – Once you accept, send a message
Far too often when you accept a connection request from a random person they don’t actually get in touch. That means there’s no interaction, which is kind of the whole point of LinkedIn. Isn’t it?
The best thing you can do is send someone a personalised message as soon as you accept their invitation. This is a great way to get the conversation started, and also get a better feel for whether they’re genuine, or are just collecting names and bulking out their contacts list.
# 3 – Say thank you
No doubt your parents always taught you to say please and thank you – well that rule hasn’t gone out the window just because you’re on LinkedIn.
If someone has taken the time to endorse you for one of your skills, then you owe then a thank you. After all, they’ve gone out of their way to do something that’s of no benefit to them, but could be of benefit to you.
They didn’t have to do that.
Don’t feel obligated to endorse them back, although, if you can genuinely recommended them for a skill they possess there’s no reason why you wouldn’t. However, make sure you avoid the trap of trading endorsements when you have no idea what you’re really talking about.
# 4 – Keep it professional
Not all social networks are created equal, and nor do they have the same purpose. LinkedIn is not the place for you to share photos of your kids, your dog or to moan about the weather.
LinkedIn is business focussed, which means anything you post should be business related. You can post about what you’re up to, who you want to connect with, ask for information or assistance from your connections and discuss industry news.
But no one wants to see a picture of what you’re having for lunch.
# 5 – Introduce people
The whole point of networking is to increase your network. I know it sounds obvious, but apparently when it comes to LinkedIn many people seem to have forgotten this.
One of the best things you can do when it comes to using this amazing platform is take the time to introduce your contacts. If you know someone who’s looking for a web designer, and you happen to know a web designer, then take a minute to introduce them to each other.
Facilitate other people’s connections and you greatly increase your own social capital, as well as getting a warm fuzzy feeling for doing a good thing.
If you want more tips on Netiquette please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 883 2024 to find out when our next training session is.