Linked In Etiquette: The Unwritten Rules

There is an etiquette to everything.  Whether in a business or personal setting, it is important making a good impression is often the foundation of ongoing relationships. Social networking has experienced exponential growth and we use online tools for almost everything. Just as in face-to-face interactions, there are expected behaviors online that aren’t published hard and fast rules. Here are a few tips to help you navigate Linked In’s unwritten etiquette rules:

  • Don’t Be Self-Serving.  It hurts, but it is true.  People aren’t necessarily interested in what you have to say.  However, they are looking for solutions to their business problems.  Don’t sell yourself in a “me, me, me” kinda way.  Instead, provide helpful information that directs people towards the solutions they crave.
  • Don’t Post Constantly.  If  you are constantly showing up in someone’s feed, you could be sending a slew of wrong messages to those individuals (desperation, boredom and needy are just a few descriptors!). Helpful content is important, but pace yourself.  Just 10 minutes a day on Linked In several days a week should do the trick.
  • Don’t Connect to People You Have Never Met. This is counterproductive to building your network on Linked In. Too many random connections throw off Linked In’s algorithm for feeding you the “people you may know” feature, making it less productive for you over the long-run. However, if you find someone you do want to meet, have a good business reason and ask for an introduction from a mutual connection.  If you don’t have a mutual connection, be very selective as to who you reach out to and don’t always expect a response.
  • Don’t Criticize or Comment Negatively.  It is ok to share your constructive opinion on something, but avoid negative or foul language at all times.  These outbursts reflect poorly upon you within your network.
  • Don’t Promote Your Facebook or Twitter Presence on Linked In.  Social networking is built for relationship development purposes. Don’t ever blanket-announce your broader social presence.  Get to know individuals before asking them to “like” your Facebook page.  You really want someone to follow you on Twitter?  Then find and follow them first.  The same goes for all other social outlets.
  • Don’t Send Messages With, “I see you viewed my profile…”  Although you are able to find this information out, don’t use it against anyone!  This sends a spooky vibe you just don’t want to be associated with!  Build legitimate business reasons for connecting to others on Linked In.
  • Don’t post the Mundane. Keep it relevant and informative. People really don’t care what you ate for lunch, that you are having a tough day or that you love your neighbor’s dog.

Linked In is a great tool for deepening relationships with individuals.  Use it to its fullest potential by creating a full profile, joining and participating in groups and keeping up to date on business happenings.  Steer clear of these unspoken etiquette guidelines and you should be good to roll!