When it comes to building a professional network, most of us PR pros (or anyone in the working world, for that matter) know that having an active presence on social media is more important than ever before. In fact, I can probably count the number of people I know who don’t have a LinkedIn profile on one hand.
However, growing and maintaining your LinkedIn network in a polite manner seems to be a lesser-known skill. From posts of pictures from a night out at the bar, to connection invitations from people I’ve never spoken with, I’ve seen people make poor networking decisions they wouldn’t dare make in-person.
So, how does one maintain professional etiquette, or should I say, “connectiquette,” with his or her network on LinkedIn? Here are some tips for navigating the world’s largest online professional network:
- Be selective when accepting and sending connection requests. LinkedIn is not a popularity contest. While it’s important to consistently grow your network, adding everyone under the sun can come off as disingenuous. Make sure you only connect with people you’ve spoken with before, or would like to in the very near future.
- Include a personalized message when sending a connection request. Introducing yourself through a computer screen rather than face-to-face doesn’t give you an excuse to be impersonal to your potential new connection. Customizing a message with your request shows that you’re truly interested in getting to know that person and willing to put forth the effort to build a relationship with them.
- Only give and accept recommendations and endorsements if they’re warranted. Like spam connections, having too many irrelevant recommendations and/or endorsements looks insincere. Make sure you only accept endorsements for skills applicable to your job, and do the same when you give your connections endorsements, as well.
- Make sure you post regularly, but don’t post too much. The main point of LinkedIn is to establish your presence among the rest of your industry’s professionals, and posting content is a good way to position yourself as a thought leader. However, flooding your connections’ newsfeeds will come off as annoying rather than insightful. Instead, aim to post updates and articles on Pulse once a day.
- Keep your posts professional. LinkedIn isn’t a place to post casual pictures and thoughts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Stick with business-related topics at all times, and remember to not post anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see.
As long as you use it correctly, LinkedIn can be one of the most powerful ways to build your network, and ultimately, a successful career. What other tips do you have for utilizing LinkedIn?