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LinkedIn Etiquette – how to behave on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Etiquette

Every social media platform has its own etiquette or expected behaviour.   

People go to Facebook to connect with friends and family.  They go to Instagram for a daily dose of inspiration.  Twitter is great for short sharp news briefs (and political announcements!). 

If you aren’t posting the same content on each platform, then what works on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is definitely a more business-like platform. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring or stuffy.  A good rule of thumb is to treat LinkedIn like an in-person networking event.  

Let’s imagine you are going to a networking event in your hometown this week.  How will you prepare?

Normally you will find out who is running the event.   Find out if there is anyone who will be there who may be a person of interest to your business.  

But we don’t only connect with potential clients at networking event.  At least, I don’t.   I also connect with people who seem interesting. Potential collaborators.  Someone who is good at conversation.

In an article on Forbes about the best way to network by the Young Entrepreneurs Council, they suggest the way to approach networking is to go with the intention of helping someone else:

True networking occurs when there’s an understanding that everyone in the room has equal value. In its purest form, it’s about people enjoying other people, communicating passions and connecting with others who share those passions. It’s about listening, figuring out what others need and connecting them with people you think can help, without any designs for personal gain. The most successful networkers build genuine relationships and give more than they receive. They go beyond thinking, “What’s in it for me?” to ask, “How can I help?”

So why not apply the same to LinkedIn?

The most successful and engaging profiles in my network are the people who help others.  Sharing advice, tips, answering questions.  

But what do you need to do first?  

  •  Get your LinkedIn Profile optimised. 

When someone sees your profile on LinkedIn, and clicks on it to find out more, you want them to find something interesting enough that they reach out to connect with you. 

  •  Make it clear how you help people.   

In your headline and your About section, do people understand how you work and what you do?

  •  Start engaging.  

You start conversations.  Approach people and ask them about what they do.  

For accountability, learning and support, check out the LinkedIn Learners Lab

What do you not do on LinkedIn then?

The main ‘crime’ I see on LinkedIn, is immediate selling.  

There is nothing worse than accepting someone’s connection request and immediately getting a sales message.  

If you went up to the coffee table at the networking event and said hello to someone, what are the next words out of your mouth?   Do you launch into sales mode?  If you do, I will find a way to make a swift exit!  

 It’s the same with LinkedIn.  When someone sends me a sales message after connecting, I drop the connection right away.  

Building a valuable LinkedIn network is about relationships.  People will hire you when they get to know you.  Not when you drop them a cold sales message straight after connecting. 

How to remove a connection – click on the drop down menu to the right of their name (three little dots …) and select “unfollow” or “remove connection”

What about etiquette on creating posts?

I have seen some truly awful posts on LinkedIn.  Posting conversation starters that wouldn’t be out of place at 2am at the local dodgy nightclub.  

Please keep your adult X-rated conversations off LinkedIn.  

Did you know that you can report a post on LinkedIn?  The person who made the post won’t be notified that you have reported them. It is important to LinkedIn to keep their platform a professional one.  

To report someone, click on the Report/Block option on the menu above.

What about the posts you see that are attention grabbing?

I prefer to work with clients who want to develop a presence where they can show their knowledge and expertise.  Not in an arrogant way. But in a way that engages their audience and helps them with a particular issue or problem.

What would be an example of this?

I was working with a client who is a sales coach at the end of last year.  She has a particular style of working with her own clients.  However, if she only posted about her great sales successes and wins, she isn’t demonstrating how she works.  Or particularly engaging me to converse with her.  

 This client instead posts conversation starters about how to help YOU in your sales journey.  By giving examples of how she has overcome certain obstacles in sales, and asking questions in those posts, she is getting great engagement on LinkedIn.  With the type of people who are attracted to her style of selling.   And how do they know her style of selling?  Because of the way she posts on LinkedIn! 

The top advice I can give you is:

  • Optimise your LinkedIn profile first.
  • Deliver value in your posts
  • Be helpful
  • Stay professional
  • Comment on other people’s post where relevant
  • Share content that your audience will find interesting
  • Start conversations.
  • Answer all comments on your posts.

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