Most business owners are aware of the many benefits of LinkedIn. It can be an extremely useful tool for networking with other businesses, recruiting quality new hires, getting professional advice, advertising, and SEO. However, as with all social networking platforms, LinkedIn can be more detriment than benefit, if it is not used judiciously.
So, what are some important LinkedIn faux pas that should be avoided?
Fishing for Recommendations
Recommendations on LinkedIn are a great thing. They represent valuable word of mouth advertising, and are a way to reward a job well done. However, some LinkedIn users only give recommendations hoping to get them back in return. This practice makes the whole thing feel contrived, and diminishes the value of the recommendations themselves.
Instead, let clients know that you appreciate LinkedIn recommendations, but only when you have earned them. Asking for recommendations from those with whom you have no real business relationship is just tacky.
Waiting until you need something to establish relationships is the wrong way to go about it. Trust and rapport take time to build, and waiting to the last minute to establish the business relationships that you need to succeed is transparent, and unlikely to yield successful results.
It is far better to start building useful business connections long before you might need them. Then, when the need arises, your network will already be in place.
If you do not share anything with your connections on LinkedIn, how are they supposed to get to know you? Share things that you think they will find relevant, useful, and entertaining. After all, they are connected to you because they want to know what you are up to.
Pay attention to the types of content that get the most comments or likes. That way, you’ll know what resonates with your connections, making it easier to keep them engaged. And, if someone shares something that you appreciate, let them know. Doing so will help establish rapport.
Lack of Professionalism
It is important to remember to conduct yourself in a businesslike manner when using LinkedIn. True, it is a great platform for getting to know your business connections personally, but LinkedIn is, after all, the professional social network. You probably would not show off pictures of your latest party escapades at a client meeting, so refrain from doing so on LinkedIn, as well. For professional networking, it is always best to err on the side of caution, in order to avoid offending potential clients.
Don’t Be a Spammer
Some LinkedIn users network a little too aggressively. Sending connection requests to strangers is a surefire way to be ignored. Posting advertising, job searches, and connection-seeking messages on Answers is another no-no. Signing your connections up for your newsletter, whether they like it or not, is ill-advised. As a general rule, avoid doing anything that you yourself might think of as spammy. Just because it’s your spam, does not mean it’s not spam.
Don’t Be Generic
Make your connection requests stand out by personalizing them. Sending out the system generated message is impersonal, and does nothing to build the relationship. Instead, spend a little bit of time crafting a short, personal message, that lets your connection know who you are, and how you know them.