LinkedIn has become an extremely powerful social tool in our
professional lives. It’s that word—professional—that is the essence of
LinkedIn etiquette. Earlier, we pointed out 10 essentials of Twitter etiquette
, we do so now for LinkedIn users.
So whether you’re managing a brand or your own presence on LinkedIn, here are 10 etiquette rules:
1. Is it LinkedIn or Linkedin?
According to the AP Stylebook’s
social media guidelines, it’s LinkedIn—with a capital I. It gets
confusing because the company’s logo is a lowercase “in,” but until AP
tells me to change it, I’m going with LinkedIn—and I encourage you to do
2. Don’t send a mass request for recommendations and endorsements.
you’re looking for people to recommend you in a public forum, make sure
you’re tapping people who are familiar with your work. It helps if they
like you, too. Reach out to those people individually and make the
request. Rather than saying, “Can you endorse my social media skills?”
leave it up to the other person. “Can you take a look at my skills when
you have a chance and endorse any you think are appropriate?” is a
stronger choice here. Do not
give people a deadline for recommending you. I heard of this happening once, and I was appalled.
3. No personal updates, cat pictures, or “thoughts and prayers.”
LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. You wouldn’t walk into an
important meeting and announce the hilarious thing your kid said over
the weekend. OK, maybe you might, but leave the personal stuff for
Facebook. If you feel that it blurs the line between personal and
professional, err on the side of caution and don’t post it. It sounds
ridiculous, but people can really lose respect for you if you post
things that are generally reserved for more informal social media
outlets. Although we’re all saddened by the tragic events that took
place in (insert location here), LinkedIn just isn’t the forum for
sending your thoughts and prayers their way. Those expressions, however
benevolent, should stay on Facebook or Twitter.
4. Funny’s OK; tasteless isn’t.
It wouldn’t be outlandish to
share an industry-specific meme or a funny post that’s work-related. But
if it’s tasteless, controversial, mean-spirited, or negative in tone,
stifle it. It’s not worth the risk of offending someone.
5. Personalize connection requests and other points of contact.
If something pops up with an auto-fill field, personalize the copy. If
it’s a former co-worker, personalize your hello. If it’s someone you met
once, it would be a good move to remind them how you met and bring up
an interesting topic you talked about.
6. It might be time to update that photo.
Are you using the same
photo you had when you joined LinkedIn four years ago? Upload a new one.
While we’re talking photos, that picture of you playing guitar and
singing to your parakeet is super adorable, but unless your profession
involves entertainment at children’s birthday parties, opt for something
[RELATED: Master the can't-ignore social media tools after Mark Ragan's one- day social media boot camp.] 7. Be accurate with your work info.
want to present your best self in your LinkedIn profile, but not at
accuracy’s expense. We’ve all turned our own version of “janitor” into
“custodial engineer” here and there, but that’s semantics. Avoid a
potentially embarrassing situation by nixing any blatant inaccuracies.
8. Avoid oversharing.
I have a LinkedIn connection who has shared
five articles with me since breakfast. He’s blowing up my feed; he’s a
feed-jacker. Though I applaud his effort to become a one-man Buzzfeed
he’s annoying me. If you annoy people who follow you, they might never
want to do business with you. I also have a LinkedIn connection who
posts one interesting article or blog post a day—my click-through rate
on his posts is probably around 90 percent. Keep it relevant—and
9. Don’t vague-bash your company or co-workers.
I’ve seen people
in their feed or in groups who will outline a problem they’re having
under the guise of seeking advice. They’re not naming names—they’re
vague-bashing. It’s not a smart thing to do for a number of reasons—for
one, it looks desperate. Be as transparent as possible while keeping
your posts and interactions as positive as possible.
10. Do you have to personally know every person you connect with?
LinkedIn certainly seems to want you to know them. In plenty of
instances, though, I’ve introduced myself to people through LinkedIn
because I admire their work or want to use them as sources. I avoid
phantom connecting—that is, my sending a connection request seemingly
out of nowhere.
Readers, do you have any other dos or don’ts for LinkedIn users?