How to Get the Best out of LinkedIn
Business is built on relationships. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, have transformed the way we do business. LinkedIn can help you build your network, find new customers/clients and develop a professional image for you and your business. However, this is only the case if you follow best practices and maintain proper etiquette.
As a professional networking site, LinkedIn has its own set of rules and expectations that members follow. Although, with no set handbook, it can be hard to know if you are networking like a pro or damaging your personal brand or business. Here are a few tips we’ve compiled to ensure you follow proper LinkedIn etiquette and best practices.
Use a Professional Profile Photograph
The importance of this point cannot be overstated. LinkedIn, more than other social networks is a business-oriented, networking platform. Your photo is an opportunity to showcase your professionalism and character. It is also the first thing recruiters and hiring managers will look at when they land on your profile page. Leave your pet photos for Facebook.
Make sure your photo is clear and focuses on your head. You want to present a composed and friendly image, preferably smiling. We also highly recommend business attire and a clear background. Take the time to make your photograph professional; otherwise, it can turn off people from connecting with you and damage your credibility in the long run.
Choose Your Connections Wisely
Undoubtedly, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to expand your professional network. The opportunity to market yourself a vast network is one which should be embraced. However, being selective in who you choose to connect with is not a negative choice. LinkedIn isn’t a number game. You want to ensure that each connection welcomes your invitation and, more importantly, you add value to each other’s network.
LinkedIn doesn’t notify members if you choose to reject a request, so focus on building a network of those you know and can trust for professional support.
Personalise Connection Requests
The most important thing to do when you do send out a connection request is to make it personal. Steer away from the default, “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn”, and tailor each request to the person. This is particularly important when you are connecting with strangers or people who may not remember you. Remind them how they know you and explain why they should connect with you.
What many may not realise is if too many people click the “I Don’t Know This Person” button, your account will be restricted by LinkedIn. This will require you to know the email address of every person you send an invitation to, which can reduce your ability to expand your network. Bottom line: personalise each connection request and reduce the chance of this happening.
Keep your Account Active
With a network of connections, it is essential to interact with them. This is your opportunity to communicate with influential people and decision makers. It is vital that you find the right balance when it comes to communicating with your network. Like other social networks, LinkedIn users do not want to be bombarded with a constant flow of useless information.
As a more professionally concentrated platform, you should have higher selection criteria for what you do choose to share. Industry related articles or reports which showcase authority and expertise are always a good starting point. It's even better if you are the author of these pieces.
Provide Endorsements When You Can
Provide endorsements to colleagues that you have worked closely with. While it’s not an expectation, it is professional courtesy to send endorsements to people in your network that you know are experts with particular skills.
Don’t endorse everybody in your network for everything. The same goes if somebody has endorsed you for individual skills. You should only endorse people for skills you know they have. This helps to maintain a trustworthy system.
Don’t forget to Request Endorsements
Giving out endorsements is the best way to get them. This is another area where you can set your LinkedIn profile apart from the crowd. By putting the time and effort into requesting endorsements of your skills and unique written references from past employers or clients, you help to build and solidify your image as a trustworthy and capable individual.
Give Recommendations to Others
When writing a recommendation for others, you should ensure to firstly, take the time to customise your writing. There is nothing more evident than a generic piece of text. This could also have an adverse influence on your future dealings with that person. You should also only provide a recommendation to those with whom you have had some form of working relationship.
If you take the time to write someone a great recommendation, there is no reason why they won’t return the favour. When requesting recommendations, it’s important to ask those with whom you have had a meaningful business relationship. Try also to abstain from repeating the same request multiple times or sending a generic request message.
Keep Your Corporate Page Updated and Regular
While LinkedIn is the perfect platform to grow your professional network, with over half a billion users, it is also an excellent place to promote your products and services. If you manage a corporate LinkedIn page it’s crucial that you set it up correctly from the start to appear professional and credible to your audience.
Include your company profile with a logo, banner and all business details. After you have set this up, post regular updates to make your business page more engaging. As an example, you can include press releases, blog posts, insightful articles, upcoming events, job openings and more. Only publish content that you think your audience would appreciate, and above all, make sure you offer value.
While it can be challenging to understand the ins and outs of LinkedIn, the benefit of building a professional network for personal or business growth is clear. If you are struggling to get a hold of LinkedIn etiquette, or need assistance scheduling and managing your LinkedIn posts, our BabbleHub publishing tool is the answer. Speak to one of our experienced social media consultants to learn more.