If you run a business or you’re in charge of a company’s social media profiles, then you’re probably on LinkedIn. But having a presence on LinkedIn and having a valuable presence on LinkedIn are not necessarily the same thing.
Whether you want to create or refine your business page, here are several dos and don’ts that will help you avoid common mistakes, maintain proper LinkedIn etiquette, and help your business stand out.
When you realize LinkedIn’s power to elevate brands and build connections, you’ll understand why it’s so important to maintain proper etiquette on the platform. Here are a few compelling stats:
Now that it’s clear why LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for business development, let’s take a look at some best practices for cultivating your LinkedIn presence.
If you came across a company brochure that featured low-quality images and out-of-date information, you’d probably be disinclined to solicit that company’s services. The same principle applies to your businesses’ LinkedIn page. If you do nothing else with your profile, include professional imagery and keep everything up to date.
Once people land on your LinkedIn page, you have limited time to convince them that your business is worth their engagement. Make it as easy as possible for readers to understand what your business is about by including a company summary at the top of the page. In this summary, articulate what exactly your company does and include any notable accomplishments.
While LinkedIn users tend to be well educated, that doesn’t mean they’re educated in your particular industry. Make your profile accessible to a broad audience by avoiding industry-specific jargon; use terminology that can be easily understood by everyone.
Just as professional, up-to-date content is essential for readers to take your business seriously, so too is clean copy. Before publishing your company’s profile information, proofread it, have a colleague proofread it, and then proofread it again. (If you want to be extra circumspect, hire a professional proofreader.)
If your contacts get an email notification every time you add a new bit of information to your profile, they’re going to get annoyed. Avoid this by disabling notifications whenever you update your profile.
Use the power of multimedia to engage customers and teach them more about your industry, company, and services or products.
Avoid the temptation to join every group under the sun; your brand will look desperate and you will have difficulty prioritizing your time and attention. Instead, join groups only if they’re relevant to your business, and maintain an active presence by posting in discussion threads. Evaluate your efforts on a regular basis to see if they yield returns; if not, it may be time to leave the group.
If you’re logged into LinkedIn, users see whenever you view their profile. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, log out of your account before searching for a person, or change your settings to make your views anonymous.
What’s more professional, responding promptly to business inquiries or waiting weeks to respond? We’re hoping you chose the former. A good rule of thumb is to respond to all messages within one or two business days.
LinkedIn is a networking site, which means it’s all about relationship building. Aim to connect with your most valuable contacts on a regular basis by sharing relevant content or congratulating them on new achievements.
Sometimes you don’t want your competitors to know about your most valuable connections. But LinkedIn users tend to perceive hidden contact lists as self-serving. Chalk this one up to building a transparent brand and keep the list open.
Just as there are best practices to embrace on LinkedIn, there are also practices to avoid at all costs. Here’s what not to do if you want to make a good impression.
A LinkedIn connection request is just that—a request for connection, which means your request should be personal. Take time to learn about the person or business, and articulate why they would benefit from connecting with you. Whatever you do, don’t default to the standard “Join my network” message. It looks like you’re not invested in the connection and can even lead to reports of spam if you do it too often.
When people accept connections on LinkedIn, they don’t do so hoping they’ll get bombarded with sales pitches; don’t be the business that betrays their trust. Messages to your connections should be personal, not generic sales attempts.
As mentioned above, personal messages are the ideal way to reach out to contacts on LinkedIn. If you decide to send the same message to multiple people at once, deselect the option that lets recipients see each other’s names and addresses. Otherwise, you broadcast people’s personal information without their consent, and that’s not going to build positive sentiment toward your business.
Remember when we advocated for proofreading before posting? The same principle applies here. Before sharing links, make sure they work.
LinkedIn users have a low tolerance for blatant self-promotion. When you contribute to group discussions or share content, make sure to provide value to readers.
If you’re going to have a presence on LinkedIn, then you may as well have a presence on LinkedIn. Even short posts once or twice a week can help establish your company as an active voice in your industry.
Every time you post content or participate in groups, you represent your business. A quick way to harm your company’s reputation is by being dismissive, critical, or otherwise negative when participating in group discussions. To keep a healthy brand reputation, keep things positive online.
LinkedIn is a unique social platform that’s focused entirely on professional development and networking. Thus, it shouldn’t be treated like an extension of your company’s profile on other social platforms. Instead, focus on sharing industry-related content and the occasional company update.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for businesses looking to make connections, increase brand awareness, and stay current with industry news. Make the most of this platform by adhering to the above dos and don’ts and establishing your business as truly professional.