20 Critical Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn Networking

By Kevin Daum

LinkedIn is constantly changing. Here is a current list of 20 proper ways to build your network without offending or embarrassing yourself.

More and more LinkedIn looks like the winning social media tool for business networking. Whether you are trying to grow your reach, find content, explore opportunities or recruit talent, this virtual meeting place is for many the first and last stop. You’ll do well to really explore the depth of resources on LinkedIn so you can more easily build and manage a powerful network. But features are constantly changing and your behavior must adapt. Even some good ideas can become annoying to other users very quickly.

Below is a list of 20 dos and don’ts to keep you current and well-liked among the LinkedIn crowd. Ignore them and you’ll be blocked and made a pariah. Follow them diligently and you can meet wonderful people and propel yourself down the path to networking success.

Do treat your profile as your professional brochure. Use an appropriate-looking profile image and put in complete and up-to-date information. This will be your first impression for many.

Don’t blanket connect. Before you ask for a connection, learn about the candidate. Be ready to explain why they should connect with you.

Do choose your groups carefully. Pick the ones most relevant to your interests. Feel free to jettison any that don’t yield fruit.

Don’t tout connections that you don’t really know. Just because you are connected with someone doesn’t mean that person is willing to vouch for your credibility. The truth will always surface.

Do be active in your groups. Post thoughtful responses to the most interesting discussions.

Don’t be self-indulgent. If you start a discussion or post a link, give value. Obvious self-promotion impresses no one.

Do get intentional testimonials and endorsements that speak to your actual skills.

Don’t let your profile sit inactive. Even if you only post an update once a week, keep it alive.

Do link meaningful videos that help people understand the value you have to offer.

Don’t use old or broken links, or, even worse, links to personal sites that detract from your image.

Do use the project section in your profile for references, and remember to include project or publication URLs.

Don’t copy and paste links for profiles from your browser. Those links are long and cumbersome. Every profile has a simple public link (found under the picture) that looks like this: www.linkedin.com/in/kevindaum

Do show potential connections that you are thoughtful and worthy by crafting a personal message that starts a relationship. People will admire that you cared enough not to use the standard “Join my network on LinkedIn” message.

Don’t spam. It seems obvious, and yet I am still amazed at how many people I have to block. Show respect and use the Update feature to get your message out.

Do reach out and make meaningful connections. Take the time to find common ground based on your profiles and consider how you can bring reciprocal value.

Don’t create verbiage combinations that no one understands. No Strategically powering visionary organizations to develop their potential untapped enlightenment. Make an effort to use simple language and recognizable business terms that actually mean something.

Do give a detailed description of what you do in the top of your profile. Just giving your company description under your title makes people think you have no idea what your position entails or that you just don’t care.

Don’t hog the conversations in groups or make it your personal soapbox. You should always consider others and bring value with every post.

Do write meaningful recommendations for people. Stop thinking you are participating in a meaningful way by endorsing others. Few find value or even pay attention to the annoying endorsements. A friend of mine created a joke skill on his profile. Within a week, more than 30 people endorsed his bowstaff skills.

Don’t treat LinkedIn as a chore that you have to just to keep up. This is the best networking tool available today, and it’s absolutely free. Dedicate real time and effort to make the most of your connections, and you’ll establish worthwhile, long-term relationships.

KEVIN DAUM is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies.

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