Not all social media sites are created equal. Each platform is distinct and comes with its own unique advantages. LinkedIn provides recent graduates, entrepreneurs and high-level execs with the opportunity to connect with their colleagues, learn more about an industry and potentially garner new business.
Maintain a professional image on LinkedIn by following these do’s and don’ts:
Do keep your profile up-to-date. Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to business. People will only connect with those they trust. Your information should be current and represent you well. Beyond work history, consider adding clubs and associations, supported organizations, certifications and key projects, as well as honors and awards.
Don’t worry about quantity. On LinkedIn, more connections don’t necessarily equate to more value. New users may be compelled to blindly send numerous requests to bulk up their profile. Although others may accept, the relationship generally doesn’t flourish unless there is interaction. With no interest to keep the conversation going, it falls off the radar. Focus on quality and communication.
Do reach out to colleagues in a timely manner. Business professionals are always on the go, leaving you with a relatively small window of opportunity to make an impression. Get in the practice of sending a LinkedIn request shortly after a meeting. The person will most likely remember who you are and be excited to continue the relationship, rather than merely adding you to their network.
Don’t overlook the endorsement feature. If you have a solid working relationship and have seen a colleague, vendor, or other contact stand out as an expert in their field, take a few moments to click on the “endorse” button on their profile. The site will offer a handful of suggestions regarding their expertise, and you also have the ability to type in a more specific skill set if desired.
Do review your settings. Before you begin the process of refreshing certain aspects of your profile, you may want turn off your profile notifications. Skipping this step means you may potentially clog others’ newsfeeds with minute-by-minute updates on your progress. Decrease your risk of losing connections by going to your Privacy and Settings options (click on your picture in the upper, right-hand corner) and limiting who can see your activity feed for that period of time. Once you are finished, you can restore things back to the normal.
Don’t send generic or bulk messages. Personalize your connection request by including a few sentences to spark their memory. Remind them where you met and what you discussed. Your effort shows initiative and is a reflection of the value you have to offer. Similarly, avoid composing a group message to a host of people. I’ve been on the receiving end of a message that was sent to myself and 40 others, and my inbox was soon flooded with countless responses.
Do offer value. As a business-oriented site, users are not interested in the amount of information you pass along unless it is relevant. Limit your posting frequency to once a day. If you intend to share more often, be strategic and privately send a note to an individual contact.
Don’t confuse platforms. Posts should be focused on corporate topics relevant to the audience. Your credibility will grow as you offer useful thoughts and links that resonate with your reader.
Many people have found a new position by merely doing what they love every day. You never know when your next big opportunity is around the corner.
You may also find Business Etiquette: 7 Ways to Make the Most of a Professional Email helpful. For more of Diane’s business etiquette tips, subscribe to her articles on Huffington Post, “Like’” Diane’s Facebook page and follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.