A complete cheat sheet of LinkedIn to make an effective use of the biggest social networking sites for business professionals. Learn top to bottom LinkedIn etiquettes and use it to fuel up success for yourself and business.
LinkedIn is number one social networking site/platform for business people. You can take a huge benefit of this social networking website in favor of your business and even self branding, if used correctly. On the contrary, you may ruin your name as a naïve unprofessional person or a pushy self bragging company. Thus, it is very important to be wise to use LinkedIn to build a perfect brand.
All the facts shared in this article are based on my personal 10 years experience over LinkedIn which contributed in my success at all stages of my career: from a beginner to an entrepreneur.
Before we look into Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn, I’d like to share top 5 benefits of LinkedIn:
- Self branding to get business and better job opportunities
- Business aka Company Branding at domestic or international level
- Business Networking
- Lead Generation
- Lead Nurturing
Top Dos of LinkedIn, also known as LinkedIn Etiquettes:
1. Professional Profile Picture
- It has to be professional headshot photo which shows your face clearly.
- It has to be your photo only because people like to talk with people not a Logo or weird image.
- You must not use a selfie with a pout and twisted face. You shouldn’t use your blushing picture or other that kind of photo that makes you look like a model until and unless your business is ‘modeling and photography’. This type of pictures convey a wrong image so having no photo could be better than having a picture which is more suitable over Facebook and Instagram.
- Don’t use a group picture, company logo or picture with family or pet as a profile picture. It has to be your solo picture.
- Keep it crisp and relevant. Use it to market yourself and show your expertise.
- Never boast about yourself. For ex: Calling yourself an expert is fine, but declaring yourself an influencer is not! If you’re an influencer, LinkedIn have the badge for you and will appear automatically. Don’t try to trick your audience as this will take away the genuine professional connections away.
3. Complete Profile
- Make sure to fill in each section with genuine details of education, experience, certifications & awards, projects, etc. Complete profile is more likely to appear in the search results (of LinkedIn) and increase your chances to get hired as an individual or business.
- Never lie about something you don’t have. It is okay to have a short profile, not having many achievements, but it is not okay to have a fake profile.
4. Complete Contact Details
- Make sure you add all possible contact details such as company website, personal website, Blog, Phone number, email address, twitter handler, etc. This is the place where you can expose your contact details along with important URLs to invite people to approach you for business.
- Never add broken links or links which are under constructions.
- Always be polite responder. Never show your frustration for getting an irrelevant message. Each irrelevant message is not SPAM so don’t be rude by responding ‘SPAM’ and ‘I will charge you for wasting my time’, etc. If you really don’t have time, better remove and never accept unknown connection request. LinkedIn is developed for open business and you will be approached by recruiters and business developers for their offers. Either ignore it by not responding or politely reply: I will keep you in mind for future possibility. Right now, I’m not looking for this.
- Always respond. As mentioned in the aforementioned point, just respond politely. This helps you to stand out and build a possible business relation with other connections.
- Be Direct. No need to be formal. This is LinkedIn: a business networking site so whenever someone message me I know he either want to buy or sale; take or give help. So just come to the point that wouldn’t sound rude rather it sounds direct and ensure you’re valuing the time of both parties. [P.S. Building a business relation and then propose system is a complete different and time taking business development strategy, if you’re using that you can be formal in initial stage of connection building.]
- Never tell a girl you’re beautiful or let’s meet or give me your phone number. Even if you need her contact details for professional agenda, first be professional enough to share the agenda and point of discussion, then ask for the contact details else you may get captured on the wall of that girl with a message to the male fraternity to be professional.
- Don’t send good morning, good night, just like that how you are messages. This is not Facebook or WhatsApp. This is LinkedIn; filled with people struggling with limited time and business. Your goodwill gesture may sound irritating or unprofessional.
- Don’t blast your offers. Of course, you can use this network to approach people for your service, but sending a message to 50 connections at the same time or sending your offers daily or quite often would put you and your company in blacklist of people. So be careful. Rather, you should export contacts and run email campaigns than blasting people’s LinkedIn inboxes.
- Don’t use short forms. You have to talk professionally.
- Don’t be rude. Be polite is the key.
- Use 80:20 rule of marketing which means 80% information and 20% promotion. Share more helpful information. This can help you to establish yourself or company as a domain expert.
- Give credit. If you take someone else’s work and share it, make sure to give the credit to original writer or artist.
- Give a small text brief about the post instead of sharing a direct link, video or an image. Let your audience know what you are sharing with them.
- Don’t post poetry (Shayari). Sharing professional quote is fine, but sharing good morning Shayaries or 2 liners is not.
- Don’t over post. Too many posts would make people bored of you and also you won’t get enough reach for your posts.
- Don’t steal others work and publish it on your name.
- Don’t tag irrelevant people in the posts just to grab their attention.
- Don’t share personal pictures like selfie, groupfie, etc. Be wise about post sharing as it has to be connected with your professional work and brand.
- Interact with group members. Ask your queries and answer queries of others. Be helpful. People who interact in groups are more likely to get more exposure and business.
- Don’t always blast your promotional posts as anyways nobody gives an attention to what you want to sell.
8. Endorsement and Recommendations
- Give and ask for endorsement and recommendations to and from people you’ve worked with/for.
- Don’t ask for endorsement or recommendations from people who have no experience working with you.
- Don’t go for an exchange offer of endorsement and recommendations.
9. Like, Share and Comment
- Like only those posts which are either relevant to your profile/business or you support. The liked posts get visible to your connections and that can be used to judge you professionally so be wise yet generous to give likes.
- Share only professional stuff or stuff you support personally or professionally such as endorsing a good cause.
- Always be polite in giving or responding to comments. Even if the next person is rude, you shouldn’t be the same.
- Always respond to each received comment in a polite and formal manner
- Don’t use rude, vulgar or hate language.
- Don’t share domestic causes to get justice for someone. This is not public awareness platform.
- Don’t share your political point of views until and unless you’re a politician and trying to reach politician who are on LinkedIn (rare chances though).
10. Be Generous
- Help people as much as possible with your experience and expertise by answering their queries in group, timeline posts and even personal messages.
- Hit like and share stuff with people in your network if something is really good and helpful. Let other also take its benefit and let someone really deserving get enough exposure. Don’t always think about your personal benefits.
- Introduce or refer people with others in your network. Let 2 professionals connect who can exchange business even if it won’t give you any benefit. Sooner or later it will be paid off.
- Don’t push someone too much who is being nice and polite to you.
- Don’t exchange contact details of others without their consent.
These are effective Dos and Don’ts about the biggest social networking site for professionals, startups, businesses and customers who are serious about their career, profession and business based on my personal experience of 10 years. There are many more things already shared by other social media experts, but these are a few direct tips to help you grow yourself and business.
If you have some more tips to be shared, please put it comment to benefit others from your experience. If you find it informative, share it with others so they, too, can get benefited.