LinkedIn etiquette. The do’s and don’ts of social media.

Social media is the newspaper. It is the way in which people communicate. Social media can help you share a special moment with others, it can change your career path or it can simply destroy you.

Social media is now the best way to show people who you are. It can bring friends together and it can help make new ones. So why do we post everything and anything on there?

Recently I have taken the time to learn more about the powers of social media and how it can impact on your career. Most recently I wrote a post about job hunting and how sometimes a job can find you.

So here brings me to my post, LinkedIn etiquette. The do’s and don’ts of social media.

Do- Keep your profile current and complete

LinkedIn has many features, but your profile is one of the most compelling reasons to use the website.

Make use of your entire profile. Don’t be scared to list all your former employers and schools. This said you don’t need to go into detail about job roles in your early career (part-time jobs for example) just list the company you worked for and your job title will suffice. If you can work back over the past 10 years.

When you achieve a new position, complete a major project or receive special recognition UPDATE YOUR PROFILE. Use the headline function, this is gold as it is the first thing people see when they log onto your profile.

Do- Have a Professional Headshot

LinkedIn is a professional business network and your photograph should reflect that. Don’t be one of those people who choose all sorts of inappropriate photographs. People want to see you, that is why they have visited your page. So don’t include anyone or anything else in your photo.

The profile photo is a circle, so this circle should focus on your head, your eyes and your smile. It’s great you have graduated, but do you really need a photograph with a mortarboard on your head? Having a professional headshot (this means a photo taken by someone else) can demonstrate maturity and class. Your headshot should be your facing the camera, smiling and with a nice clean, clear background.

When you choose an unprofessional looking photo it can really damage your credibility and your personal brand, as well as preventing people from connecting with you. We take so much pride and time in creating a well presented, professional self-brand, so why ruin this with a dodgy photo?

Do- Post Regularly

Posting content regularly will help you look more professional and improve your creditability. It can also provide opportunities for others to engage with you.

When people are interested in you, they can easily see how active you are under the Activity and Articles section of your profile. To ensure you appear active and engage try to post a status update at least twice a day. You can further improve your activity by posting an article once a week.

When you share topics or article, make sure to write your own comment. It doesn’t look very good if you are just sharing lots of articles without having a say or opinion on what is being said.

Lastly, ensure that you post updates and articles that your connections will find interesting. Your LinkedIn network is like an extension of your business life. For example, I work in the events industry, so I would have to think twice about posting something about manufacturing for example. This said it doesn’t mean you can’t, just try to keep it as related to your industry as possible.

REMEMBER- this is not Facebook or Twitter, so stay away from personal trivia and controversial topics- stick to business and what you know best!

Do-  Nurture Your Connections

When you are posting on LinkedIn, ensure you are also engaging with others on your network. Send congratulations on new job postings and comment on a post when appropriate. A simple “congratulations” can go a long way- especially when they congratulate you.

LinkedIn is very smart, it will make suggestions on who you should connect, follow and engage with. When you like, share and comment, it will start picking up on your pattern and allow you to see more of the same topic and/or person.

Don’t- Make Your Profile Private

You shouldn’t mistake your LinkedIn profile for your Facebook. It is a business platform. There are a few simple steps to help make your profile open to everyone. Make your contact list open to your connections, make your feed open to everyone and ensure your name and profile is open to everyone. There is nothing worse than finding someone you want to follow but finding it difficult to do so.

If there are some people who you don’t want to share your information with, then they shouldn’t be a part of your network, and you should and can simply remove them as a connection.

Don’t- Ask People You Don’t Know to Endorse You

Asking someone who is a close friend, family, employers or client to endorse you may not always be a great thing.

If you are wanting endorsements, provide them. When you endorse someone, that person receives a notification and will often reciprocate by endorsing you.

Don’t- Ask Strangers for Recommendations

Similar to the point about, never ask someone you don’t know for a recommendation. If they don’t know you or have never experienced your services, they can’t possibly give you a genuine recommendation, so don’t ask.

The same can be said for providing recommendations. Never give a recommendation to someone that you don’t know or whose services you have never experienced. Your credibility is on the line if that person turns out to be less than professional.

Don’t- Criticise or Comment Negatively

Another major faux pas is to criticise or comment negatively. Don’t get sucked into heated debates or insulting their competitors. By keeping your comments positive and never insulting will only have a positive reflection on you. As I have mentioned before- this is a professional network. Do ruin your personal brand.

Don’t- Send Spammy Messages

There is nothing worse than opening up your LinkedIn to have multiple spammy messages asking them to export your entire connection list and share it with them.

Behaviour like this can be reported and you don’t want that to happen. When you message someone think “is this benefiting you, or them?” If the answer is you, then it is considered spam and you need to stop.

LinkedIn is a powerful business tool, so use it wisely. By following these simple rules, you should see your network grow.

Ashleigh x

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