You can have the best, most thought-out profile page and the most compelling and clicked on content, but if you do not conform to accepted LinkedIn etiquette, you could be wasting your time and damaging your professional credibility in the process. LinkedIn evangelist, Melonie Dodaro, outlines 20 best practices in her book, The LinkedIn Code, which perfectly sums up the common pitfalls of the common LinkedInite and importantly, how you can avoid them!
Here we go…
1. Personalise, personalise, personalise
Personalise each and every connection request. If too many people click 'I don't know this person' or 'report spam', you could have your account frozen or deleted by LinkedIn.
2. Send a welcome message
When someone accepts your invitation to connect, send them a personalised welcome message. Do not treat people as a number - treat them as a real person. Only then will they turn into a lead.
3. No spam!
Do NOT, I repeat, NOT, send spammy messages to all of your followers. It will result in them devaluing you and your content and at the very worst - deleting or reporting you.
4. No Facebook 'like' requests
One of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes, is asking people to 'Like' your Facebook page. They are very different social networks -treat them as such.
5. Who's viewed your profile
If you are using the 'who's viewed your profile' tool as a starting point to reach out to prospects, do not start the conversation with them on the basis that they viewed your profile. Find another common ground with them to initiate contact. If you don't, they will find the experience embarrassing and awkward.
6. Respond promptly
Just as with email, 24 hours delay is acceptable, but do not let the time pass longer than that, or you are showing the connection that you do not care enough about them.
7. Professional headshot
Choose a clean headshot of you, facing the camera, preferably smiling, with a plain background. So many LinkedIners are not taken seriously because they look unprofessional!
8. Don't over post
Once or twice per day is optimal - any more than that will cause an annoyance for your audience who wish to see an array of content from a plethora of content sharers. Be present enough for them to recall you, but not too much they will be annoyed!
9. Privacy settings
Privacy settings are there for your protection, but don’t let them stop you engaging with your desired audience. Make your contact list open to connections, make your activity feed open to everyone and make your name and profile open to everyone. TOP TIP: Deactivate the 'viewers of this profile also viewed' setting, to avoid your competitors showing up on your page.
10. Protect other people's privacy
When you send a message to multiple people at one time, always uncheck the box that allows recipients to see everyone that was served the message. It also helps to create the illusion that it is a personal message.
Don't ask someone to endorse your skills unless they are friends, family, colleagues, a client, or someone who knows you well. One of the best ways to get endorsements is to give them.
12. Recommendation requests
Always personalise your recommendation requests! Never use the default message that is automatically populated. It may save you time initally, but the ineffectiveness of this method will ensure that you completely wasted the short time you spent.
13. Don’t ask strangers for recommendations
Never ask people you don't know for a recommendation. It will appear as if the recommendations that you do have are fake and over time will undermine your credibility.
14. Nurture your relationships
Regular engagement is key to maintaining healthy relationships with your prospects. LinkedIn provide a daily list of job promotions and birthdays and you can check your newsfeed for any content your they have published and engage as appropriate.
15. Ongoing Contact
Nuture your relationships on an ongoing basis by sending messages tailored to each contact's individual needs.
16. Provide Value
Throughout, you must show value to people, in the aim of eventually moving the relationship offline. Making use of LinkedIn groups here is very important.
17. No self serving posts in groups
Do not post promotional information about yourself in groups on LinkedIn. Many group owners will simply remove offenders for this. Groups are a place to share thoughts and ideas, not shamelessly name drop! Avoid!
18. Keep it positive - Groups
Do not critisize or be negative towards others. Heated debates serve no purpose other than to turn many people off of you. No insults here please!
19. Keep it professional
Do not mention anything that is not related to the business world. Personal trivia and celebrity gossip does not sit well on the platform and will not do you any favours by sharing it.
20. Introduce people
Introduce connections to one another. Think of yourself as a business match maker! Doing this will invoke the law of Reciprocity and often people will return the favour. It pays to support your connections and nurture you relationships.
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