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I have been using LinkedIn for many years now and have also been through an intensive LinkedIn certification Programme. Based on my years of experience and my learnings from the certification Programme and LinkedIn specialists, I have provided some tips on what you should and shouldn’t do on LinkedIn. The list is not finite however it contains some of the main considerations.
1. Read and absorb articles before reacting
Before liking and sharing your connections’ updates or articles published on LinkedIn Pulse, make a point of READING the article first. Provide a comment that aligns with the content of the article (Do not use the “nice article” comment) and then share the article with your connections (only if it is worth sharing and will add value to your network). Also remember to Like the article. The more Likes an article gets, the more it is exposed to other LinkedIn connections.
2. Do not lie to your connections
LinkedIn sends notifications when someone you are following publishes a new post. Do not use the standard LinkedIn generated message which simply states “Great Post”. There is no value in sending this message to someone because it implies that you have not read the article and are basically lying. I am certain that if you have taken the time and trouble to write and publish an article, you would expect constructive feedback. The recipient will be pleased that you gave their content the attention is deserves.
3. Sending connection requests
Do not send a connection request using the standard LinkedIn text. Provide a reason why the person should connect with you. Remember that the reason you provide is not how YOU stand to gain from the connection but rather how THEY will benefit from connecting with you. If you take the time to send a valid reason to connect, the person will value the connect request and will remember you. Also remember to follow up after someone has accepted a connection request. A simple thank will suffice at this stage.
4. Leave your ego out of LinkedIn
Wherever possible, use words such as “you” and “yours” rather than “I”, “me”, “my”, “us” and “our”. Let the conversation revolve around the person who is reading your summary or one of your articles. Talk about the potential challenges they have to deal with as an individual, in their particular job role or the particular industry they are in.
5. Do not promote on LinkedIn messaging features
DO NOT use LinkedIn updates, the LinkedIn Publishing Platform (LinkedIn Pulse), LinkedIn messages, LinkedIn Inmail and LinkedIn groups to promote yourself, your products or company. To dissuade persons from doing this, they should be reported for spam, be disconnected and blocked. These channels are provided for value-adding interaction.
6. Keep it clean and relevant
Do not post, publish and share inappropriate content. Use your common sense. Consider with whom you are connected and what content will resonate with them (and importantly) their contacts with whom you are not connected. Remember that your connections will promote your thought leadership to a wide audience, if deemed appropriate.
7. Have regular conversations
Reach out to individuals and have conversations. Besides commenting on their thought leadership or a post they shared, take the time to read their profile. Gain an understanding of what they do and interesting things they may have done. The person may have similar interests which is a great conversation starter. Let them see that you are human and it’s not just about business.
8. Check before congratulating
When you receive a notification that a person has a new job, do not be tempted to send the LinkedIn generated message. In Privacy & Settings there is a “Choose whether or not to share your profile edits” indicator. This is set to “yes” as a default for all LinkedIn users. If a person updates their current job, LinkedIn “thinks” you have a new job role and notifies all your connections to the fact.
If you receive a notification that a connection has a new job, check the person’s profile first before congratulating them. The start date of their current job is the best identifier of whether it is a new job or not. I would also send a message to them as the standard congratulatory note is sent as a comment on the “new job” post. I also recommend you go to your own Privacy & Settings and untick the “Choose whether or not to share your profile edits” box.
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I hope you found this advice of value. Please contact me if you have any questions or require any other advice relating to the principles of inbound marketing, social selling and employee advocacy.