LinkedIn Don’ts and What to Do

October 3, 2013

Everyone talks about what you should do to make the most of this network or that app. Today, I’m going to let you know what not to do on LinkedIn along with some practical tips.Don’t use canned invitations*:  Keep invitations efficient but personal by doing the following:

>  Make sure you know whether the person is already a LinkedIn member.

>  Keep it short.

>  Use these approaches: Mention your last encounter (“Great meeting you at last night’s happy hour!” or why you want to connect “I know it’s been awhile since we exchanged emails, but I recently read your article on (blank) and it struck a chord with me because…” or “Hi Earl – It’s been forever! You popped up on my feed as a person I might know. Thought it would be good to connect.” etc.

*If you are using the LinkedIn app, you cannot change your message when inviting connections. You hit the person+ icon, and it’s automatically submitted with the canned response. This is lame, but unavoidable.

Don’t sync LinkedIn with Twitter or Facebook: LinkedIn is far more professional than the other two networks. LinkedIn gives you the applications and tools that allow you to connect your account with Twitter or Facebook, which means whenever you post a message to either of those networks, it automatically posts to your status update in LinkedIn. DO NOT DO THIS. Ever. Here’s a test for you: True or False: It is sometimes ok to share a picture of what you are eating …on Twitter…on Facebook…on LinkedIn.  The answers are yes, yes and never.  There is a time and place for professional and personal content when building your personal brand, but you would be unwise to use LinkedIn as a personal network. For this reason, you don’t want to automatically blend LinkedIn with your more personal networks.

Don’t Spam:  There are plenty of ways to use LinkedIn productively without getting a bad rep as a spammer. Some basic rules of etiquette:

>  Don’t post marketing messages, job listings, job search queries, or connection-seeking messages on Answers.

>  Don’t automatically subscribe your connections to your newsletter.

>  Don’t send connection requests to people you don’t know.

Don’t Ask Everyone for Recommendations: There’s no hard and fast rule about the number of recommendations you should have (though you need to have at least three recommendations to reach 100% completion of your profile), but each recommendation you choose to post should be meaningful.  Here are a couple tips:

>  Make sure you know the person— This seems obvious, but unfortunately it is not.

>  Ask your best clients— Happy clients are the best referral and recommendation source. In fact, the best time to ask is after they’ve complimented you unsolicited.  When that happens, simply ask the person if they would mind “stating that in writing” on LinkedIn. You can even make a joke out of it. Or better yet, offer to type up the recommendation and have them review it to post on LinkedIn. The easier you can make it for someone to help you, the better.

Don’t confuse quantity with quality: If you want to track your real progress using LinkedIn, don’t measure it by metrics like number of connections, endorsements, or questions answered. These are all great, but the metrics that tie directly to business results are the ones that really matter:

>  Leads generated

>  Strategic partner prospects generated

>  Qualified candidates (for a job, sponsorship, etc.) contacted

>  Meetings scheduled

>  Speaking/publicity opportunities

Don’t expect everyone to network like you do: Setting rigid networking expectations can be a source of needless frustration and can actually prevent you from building relationships with some pretty great people.

Have you had success with LinkedIn? Share with us what works for you! …Or what doesn’t work.

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