LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes: 5 Blunders You Should Never Make

We’ve all done it. Shared the update we immediately regretted. Put up a profile photo that wasn’t quite right. Invited someone to connect without tailoring the invite and got an abrupt “Who are you and why are you trying to connect with me?” response. Classic LinkedIn etiquette mistakes.

While some of these faux pas may not seem all that bad, others can be damaging to your online reputation and career aspirations if you continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

LinkedIn continues to evolve at a rate of knots and it can be tough to keep up with the many updates and modifications. But one thing remains consistent: the basic, common sense principles of old-fashioned etiquette will always apply. LinkedIn is a professional social platform that you should interact on as you would in a real-world, face-to-face setting.

So whether you’re building a personal or business brand, looking for a new job or simply wanting to nurture a burgeoning online network, try to avoid these five etiquette fails that could make you look unprofessional and out of touch.

1. Don’t invite every single person to connect

While it’s tempting to sit on your smartphone and invite everyone on your ‘People You May Know’ list to connect, it will come across as spammy and verging on the socially weird. Of course, reach out and connect with a wide range of people to build your network over time, but do it skillfully, have a reason for doing so, and with something valid to offer that potential connection.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

It might be that you saw something they wrote and you wanted to connect to take the discussion further. Maybe you work with somebody who recommended a mutual connection. Perhaps you share a past career experience or cherished client.

There’s nothing wrong about connecting with strangers, but try to make sure your requests are targeted and of value – and personalise them as much as possible to make the recipient feel more open to the invitation.

2. Don’t update your entire network with every move you make

When you update your profile, a notification is sent out to your network advising them that a change was made if you leave your network notification setting turned on. This can be a great way of informing people that you’ve changed role or that something significant has happened to your business or career – and it can lead to increased profile views, which is no bad thing.

Where the updates fall apart are when you don’t turn the setting off and start to fill your network’s feed with constant notifications of new positions, new schools, new headlines, new everything.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

But these things aren’t often new – you might have simply changed a word or phrase here and there, but your network is being bamboozled with the updates. You’ll start receiving endless “Congrats!” from people about some minor change and you could be informing employers of potentially damaging career updates.

3. Don’t be a persistent social media pest

As with any social setting, nobody likes to be pestered. What’s more, nobody likes to be pestered when they have only just met you. To be admired and respected, you need to be authentic in your approach to your network and the actions you take on a regular basis. For a start, don’t ask people to endorse your skills and never tell them that you’ve endorsed their skills so they should now endorse your own. It’s just plain creepy.

When it comes to your network, don’t make connections just to get hold of an email address so you can then bombard them with marketing messages. It’s called permission marketing for a reason and a LinkedIn connection doesn’t equal permission to send marketing emails, ever.

Finally, never, ever, ever send messages confessing your passionate interest or undying love for a new connection. It happens. It horrifies me. It isn’t Tinder. Please stop.

4. Don’t send spammy, generic messages

As LinkedIn grows, so do our inboxes. Sometimes you’ll receive a message that adds value to your life, but often it will be a random series of paragraphs that make little or no sense to your work or life. What’s worse is when you thank someone for connecting with you and they immediately hit you up with a sales spiel right out of the local car dealer sales handbook. It feels plain wrong.

If your goal is to target sales professionals in the textiles industry and you want to reach out to 50+ people in your network then, of course, you’re going to create a message template that you can use for each message. And we get that. But try to personalise each message you send to the extent possible.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

Study the person’s profile and look for the ways in which you can authentically start a dialogue with them. Include a shared reference, something that brought you to this person, even a comment on an article they may have recently published. Whatever you send, make sure it is tailored, relevant and of value. And never send group sales-focused messages – you’ll enjoy a string of angry responses if you do.

5. Don’t over-share and post little of value

With so much content out there to share, it can be tempting to publish everything and anything. LinkedIn is a social network and we are supposed to be sociable on the platform, but it is a professional network where the etiquette rules are quite different to the likes of Twitter or Facebook – in other words, keep the overly-personal shares out of this space. You also need to watch the frequency of your posts or you’ll run the risk of being seen as a nuisance.

Whether it’s a blog post or news feed update, you should always have a strategy in the back of your mind for posting and a schedule that doesn’t overwhelm or infuriate your audience.

Try to avoid posting more than one newsfeed update per day and carefully consider the kinds of updates being shared – are they relevant, interesting, unique and shareable? Tick these boxes and you’ll be well on your way to influencer status.

Ways to avoid LinkedIn etiquette mistakes

It’s not all bad and there’s hope for us all. LinkedIn doesn’t have a firm set of rules when it comes to good etiquette and much of what I’ve mentioned is common sense.

Rather than run the risk of infuriating your network, connect with people you know, or you can offer value to and build a healthy relationship with.

Ruffle feathers no more by updating your profile on a regular basis, but by selectively switching the notifications on and off as appropriate.

Placate any pet peeves by behaving in a non-pesty kind of way – endorse those you know and respect, never bombard with emails, and look elsewhere for love.

Beat the angry responses by tailoring your messages and connection invitations in a personal yet professional way.

Instead of frustrating, excite and appeal with high-quality content that is shared once per day and is relevant, of interest and doesn’t waste your readers’ time.

LinkedIn is an incredible networking resource so make proper use of it without upsetting your network and hurting your brand.

What have I missed? What other etiquette rules are there or what behavioural annoyances would you include on this list?

The one LinkedIn setting you probably forgot

That LinkedIn Setting You Probably Forgot To Change

The point of being on LinkedIn is to get noticed and make connections, build your network and then choose how you want to work that network – seek a job, do business or build influence, among other things.

Getting noticed requires you to have a powerful, persuasive profile – one that tells a story about who you are, what you do and how you can help me.

Getting noticed also relies on active engagement and, for many of us, this means searching other people’s profiles and company pages for potential business connections or job opportunities.

When you do this, you’ll start to see the number of views to your own profile grow as people return the favour. Before you know it, the connection requests increase and the inbox messages grow – and all because you looked at a bunch of profiles.

I market my own business by exploring contacts I think could become customers. I view their profiles before reaching out to make the connection, either via a request or InMail. That’s the thing about human behaviour – when someone sees that you’ve stopped by, they look back out of curiosity and investigate who you are. It’s a “you looked at my profile, now I’ll look at yours” thing.

And, BOOM, you’ve got them.

Because your profile is of course fully optimised with a killer headline and compelling summary revealing your experience and the ways you can help them – your products and services.

Before you know it, a message or email follows because they like what they’ve seen and they want to know more.

There’s nothing weird about revealing your profile to a person you’ve visited on LinkedIn. It’s how the platform works, otherwise why else would we have public profiles?

Imagine contacting a company about a possible job and you see their CEO looking at your profile only days later? Or sending an email to a potential client then you find one of their staff checking you out? You get a better sense that they’re interested in you and it might drive you to follow up.

But it’s all a waste of time if no-one can see what you’re doing in the first place. If your profile viewing actions go unnoticed. If you’re getting little or no response.

Ever wonder why your profile views stutter? Your profile ranking fails to climb? Ever wonder what you did wrong?

Here’s the thing. You probably made the one LinkedIn setting mistake they never told you about – you forgot to turn on your visibility in the account settings.

You might as well not even exist. You left your profile settings on ‘anonymous’ and nobody knew it was you looking at their profile.

The default on LinkedIn is that your profile information isn’t shared with other people when you look at their profiles unless you want it to be. However most of us are interested in growing our personal brands and actually WANT this information to show when we visit other profiles.

You need to change your visibility settings fast and reveal your photo, name and headline so others can see that you’ve viewed their profile.

It’s easy enough to do.

  1. Go to your Account Settings in the top right corner of your profile.
  2. Select Privacy & Settings: Manage.
  3. Click on ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’.
  4. Select ‘Your name and headline (recommended)’.
  5. Save changes and you’re done.

You need to ensure your LinkedIn settings fit with your business and personal goals. One way to achieve this is to become more visible on LinkedIn to make you more effective and better positioned for future success.

So change those settings today and don’t make the one LinkedIn mistake that could cost you in the long run.

As part of our LinkedIn Influencer Profile Writing Packages, we check to make sure your settings fit your purpose for being on LinkedIn. We help you show up as an expert or authority in your field – and get noticed fast. Get in touch at hello@theinternationalwriter.com to learn more.

Compelling Business Content by Shutterstock

How To Create Business Content That People Will Share: Lessons From Upworthy

Ever dreamed of writing a blog post that strikes a chord with hundreds, if not thousands, of people?

It’s the kind of content that’s instantly shared across social media, snowballing as traffic is driven to your website in even greater numbers, while generating incredible new leads.

I’ve written hundreds of posts – some do well, others less so – and nothing beats seeing the social sharing icons tick over as your audience immediately connects with the topic – and passes the post on.

So what’s the secret to social sharing success?

I recently met Sara Critchfield, Editorial Director of Upworthy, at her Vivid Sydney talk, entitled On Media, Marketing and Making People Care. Upworthy is the world’s fastest growing media company and one that challenges the rules of traditional media to put out content shared by millions of people every week.

Upworthy posts videos only, no text, and focuses on sharing content that “most people” will like.

And it works.

The organisation’s website currently pulls in 50 million unique visitors per month from publishing an average of seven pieces of content per week.

It’s all fascinating stuff but what can your business really learn from Upworthy’s success at putting out business content that people want to share?

Appeal to your audience

Make sure your business content – blog posts, articles, news stories, web pages – is compelling and grabs the reader’s attention.

Sara says this is the only kind of content that Upworthy distributes. Nothing is published that is dry or boring. Upworthy’s aim is to curate content that is meaningful, engaging, inspiring, gripping – and is subsequently shared by millions.

Focus on the packaging

Your online content needs to be packaged the right way. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter how good or well-written it is, it simply won’t be shared.

Upworthy places a major emphasis on headlines and images, spending hours tweaking and refining the key things you’ll first see when you jump onto social media. And, once you click it, they’ve got you.

Share on the right networks

Which social networks are the best ones for your business? Is Twitter the right place to announce a new service or should you focus on Instagram as the launchpad for your latest product?

Upworthy optimises everything it does for Facebook, says Sara. If you want to be where most of the people are, this is where it’s at. And, while Facebook isn’t for everyone, she believes that you have to figure out what works best for you.

The final point to take away: remember that if you do want your work to go truly viral, you need to write the kind of content that not only your clients or friends will share, but that their friends – and friends of friends – will also share.

If you’re interesting in learning more about how best to optimise your business content to get it in front of as many people as you can, send me a note via the contact page and let’s talk.

Have you found success in sharing online? What tricks or tips did you employ?