LinkedIn etiquette? Don’t mind if I do!

LinkedIn tips and tricks
How do you correctly eat spaghetti?
Possibly the biggest LinkedIn story of the year comes from the realm of nasty. When a young communications professional from the US tried to connect via LinkedIn with a heavyweight professional in her field, the response she got made it viral – and not for good reasons. 

Once posted on social networks like Reddit and Buzzfeed, the rude reply made news around the world. So, the question arises: is there such a thing as etiquette on LinkedIn? And if so, how do we know what is and what isn’t appropriate?

Maintaining a professional and polite way of communicating immediately springs to mind. However, apart from using good old common sense and generally trying to be a decent person, perhaps it’s worth exploring the depths of LinkedIn social graces.

Today, we’ve put together five tips for LinkedIn users in need of some guidance:

1. Not all social outlets are created equal
We all hear that social media outlets are there to be used and to create a likeable personal or company image. But wait, there’s more!

Treating your LinkedIn profile like a Twitter account - where more or less anything goes - is a big no-no. “#sunshine” and a picture of your garden will get a few retweets and favourites, but the same post on LinkedIn will probably only result in disapproving looks from fellow professionals.

Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about profile pictures. A smart head and shoulders shot will certainly complete your LinkedIn profile. But please, please stay away from selfies, wedding or beach snapshots just because you were having a good hair day.

2. Recommendations – who to ask and when
Many people are tempted to send everyone in their list requests for a recommendation. If you throw enough, some of it will stick, right? But is it really that wise to spam hundreds of people, some of which you might have only seen once?

Instead, ask a former colleague, a client or a manager for an endorsement. Anyone who has worked with you for a lengthier period of time and has had a positive experience will be happy to give you a recommendation. People you’ve met at a business brunch will just see your request as spammy and won’t be impressed.

Alternatively, if you have no work experience, ask a tutor or lecturer for a recommendation. They should be able to comment on your work ethics, friendliness, ability to work as part of a team and other skills you might have gained during your studies – like downing pints.

3. Who wants to be my friend?
It’s always good practice to ask people you’ve met personally to connect on LinkedIn.
However, try not to connect with the CEO of *insert giant company name here*, who was the keynote speaker at a conference you attended. You may know who he or she is, but there’s no reason it’s reciprocated. And then you’re just another spammer.

4. Messages – use sparingly
LinkedIn messaging is a great tool to keep in touch and communicate with your connections. However, the last thing you want to do is abuse it.

Moreover, if you want to make sure the message doesn’t go straight to the spam folder, try using the connection’s professional e-mail address instead, if there is one provided.

5. Use a soft sell approach
If you are using LinkedIn as a sales tool, a softer sale is the best approach. Anything that is blatantly a product or service based invite will probably be deleted straight away. Instead, try to create a connection with the individual first. Then sell.

Just because LinkedIn is a professional network, it doesn’t mean its members don’t value individuality and friendliness. Feel free to make useful remarks or comments, like indicating independent blog posts that the receiver may find useful.

We hope these tips will come in handy when navigating the complicated universe of LinkedIn. If you would like to integrate LinkedIn with your other marketing tools, give us a call and see how we can help!

Image courtesy of  mrsiraphol on freedigitalphotos.net

Charlie Stroe

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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