[[updated August 31st, 2018]]
Like every social network, LinkedIn has its own official rules of conduct. But most LinkedIn etiquette expectations come from the LinkedIn community. In this article, I’ll tell you the fundamental Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette and offer up a few tips to help you network like a pro on the world’s top professional networking site.
Do: Connect Straight Away
If you’ve just returned from a conference or expo then one of the first things to do is connect with the people you met via LinkedIn. It may seem a bit stalkerish to immediately connect but trust me, wait a week and people won’t remember who you are!
When you invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn, be sure to send a personalized message such as:
It was great to meet you at the Social Media Conference in California where I found your insights about sponsored content to be especially interesting.
Let’s have that Skype call to move things on to the next stage.
Etiquette Tip – Keep your first personalized message short and to the point. It is overwhelming to receive a long email from a contact you are still trying to place.
Do: Update Your Profile Regularly
Your career path is constantly changing with new achievements, skills or perhaps a new direction so it is important that you regularly update your LinkedIn profile. Potential recruiters will only look at your profile for a few seconds so make sure that your key achievements are bulleted or placed at the top.
Etiquette Tip – Turn off your activity when you’re updating your profile. This is so you don’t annoy connections in your feed who will be notified each time you change something — and also not to alert your boss if you are tidying up your profile ready for a career move!
Do Remove or Replace Irrelevant Recommendations
If your job responsibilities have changed drastically in the last five years, a recommendation saying “Charli makes great coffee and quickly photocopies documents” is no longer helpful to your role as a marketing VP!
There are two things you can do here: Either delete the recommendation or “Ask for changes” from the reviewer. Send a friendly message saying you’d love if he or she could update your recommendation to reflect your new role and duties. Of course, you should only do this if you are still working closely with the reviewer… never expect LinkedIn connections to lie or fabricate a recommendation.
*This recommendation is a keeper but weaker ones may be deleted.
Etiquette Tip – Recommendations are great to receive so be sure to thank someone who has provided a positive one. You can say thank you publicly or in a private message with a nice thank you jpeg made in Canva.
Don’t: Recommend Substandard Employees
Each week I receive a new recommendation request and I really love writing them for people… IF I really mean it. There is no obligation whatsoever to write a recommendation that you do not truly believe in. For example, imagine you get a request from a guy who used to work with you. He showed up late, didn’t work as a team and everyone was happy when he finally quit.
Now he wants a recommendation.
As he’s in your industry, it may reflect poorly on you if you publicly recommend someone who is known to be a low performer.
Etiquette Tip – It’s an awkward one as you don’t want to appear to be unkind. My best advice here is to simply ignore the request. If a reminder is subsequently sent then you may need to politely explain your reasons and wish that person success in their career.
Don’t: Post Inappropriate Things
LinkedIn is not Facebook or Instagram, it’s a professional site and its members are fiercely protective of what it stands for. Here’s a quick guide of what you may and may not post…
Do Post These
- Company recruitment posts
- Photos of corporate events, expos or conferences
- Links to your published articles, presentations or portfolio
- News items that are relevant to your network
- Achievements and certificates
- LinkedIn Articles
Don’t Post These
- Revealing or unprofessional photos
- “Share this to save a puppy” style memes
- Puzzles, games or teasers
- Updates about what you’re having for breakfast
- Boasting posts about your success/car/house etc
- Spammy offers or “share to win” promotions
Etiquette Tip – Content on each of your social networks needs to be unique. Desperately need to post a photo of you in a bikini? Get on Instagram!
Do: Keep Company Pages Updated
If you’re managing the social media for your brand then having a company LinkedIn page and keeping it updated is important. This is one of the top places potential clients and employees will look at your company so it needs to be professional, informative and updated. In fact, for my brands I often create Showcase pages. These allow you to make sub pages based on region, products or interests. Here’s one I made for financial firm easyMarkets which is a global company and therefore needs to be viewed in languages other than English.
TIP- LinkedIn company updates can still be people-centric. Feature staff interviews, team events and professional open day photos in addition to your text updates.
Don’t: Ignore Recruiters When You’re Not Looking For A Job
Maybe you love your job and have no interest in leaving for the next 10 years.
Great. That doesn’t mean you should ignore recruiters because you never know when you may need them or what great opportunities they may have for you. Recruiters work super hard and it can be very frustrating to be ignored by numerous candidates … don’t be that person. If a recruiter messages you with a job opportunity you should always reply. This is the type of reply I send if I receive a job offer:
Thank you so much for your message regarding the job opportunity.
Currently I am happy in my position however I appreciate you thinking of me and I am always open to future CMO or VP opportunities.
Etiquette Tip – Linkedin is a secure and confidential network but be wary of using it for job seeking whilst in your office. If your company monitors internet traffic then this won’t look good for you. Save the job seeking until you get home!
Do: Network In Groups
LinkedIn groups are a great place to network with industry peers, suggest new ideas and arrange events. If you are a member of numerous groups then you may wish to adjust your settings so that you are not bombarded with notifications.
Be mindful about the content you are posting and never copy and paste the same link to all your groups. In all probability, the membership in these groups will probably overlap and therefore you will just be viewed as a spammer and possibly removed from the group entirely. Keep updates personalized and relevant and remember to engage in conversation on posts other than your own.
Etiquette Tip – Nobody likes a spammer so be mindful of your posts. Similarly, if you manage a group, keep a low tolerance of spamming for the sake of other group members. Provide one warning and then remove the offender.
If you regularly read Pulse updates then you will know that sharing to Twitter is a great way to build your “influencer” list. By sharing an article to Twitter and tagging the author you will be more likely to build a connection than simply adding a comment to the thousands already there below the article on LinkedIn. Cross networking is totally OK providing you remain consistent in your strategy.
Etiquette Tip– Remember to keep track of your influencers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Once you are connected be sure to maintain regular contact with your influencers.
Do: Use Agorapulse To Publish To LinkedIn
Managing all your social networks can be time-consuming which is where the new publishing tool from Agorapulse comes in really handy.
With the publishing tool, you can write LinkedIn posts (including photos) from your Agorapulse panel and schedule or queue them using the built-in calendar.
This is great news for busy social media managers and anyone wanting to take a vacation this year!
Etiquette Tip – Keep your posts short and to the point and for corporate posts use branded images wherever possible.
Taking your LinkedIn to the next level
Regularly posting to LinkedIn is the first part of growing your network and influence. The second piece of that puzzle is analyzing your data so you know which efforts get the most engagement.
To make this easier, Agorapulse now offers reports for LinkedIn company pages so you can get all your social media analytics in the same place.
You can create informative (and stunning) reports right from inside the Agorapulse dashboard just like you would for Facebook or Twitter.
This leads me to the next point.
LinkedIn is all about building relationships with other professionals like you. But sometimes tracking those relationships (in a non-creepy way) is pretty hard. That’s why we added the LinkedIn Inbox.
With the LinkedIn Inbox, you can see who commented and engaged with your posts and engage them right back.
Elbows off the table and back straight…
Your LinkedIn Etiquette lesson is complete and you’re ready to take your professional networking to the next level.
Take your first step by connecting with me on LinkedIn. Don’t forget that brief, personalized introduction!