Here’s the good news – as your LinkedIn network grows, the frequency of your LinkedIn connection requests will increase. It’s the law of attraction – like attracts like. With every connection request you accept, your second and third level connections begin to see that others are connecting with you. It’s only logical they would want in on the action.
Now for the bad news – with growth, comes the necessity for us to clean out the old and unusable.
LinkedIn has millions of members, and in some ways it’s becoming the forum for ‘professionals behaving badly’. It’s no wonder that many LinkedIn users are turning to quality over quantity.
And while it can be beneficial to have a large network, it’s far more advantageous to have a smaller network where you’re able to cultivate relationships and help others.
Check your LinkedIn activity against these etiquette blunders.
Etiquette blunder #1: You don’t respond to InMails
Of course, there is a reason why people don’t respond to the immediate sales pitch InMails – but we will get to that in Blunder #2. But at the same time, there’s really no excuse for not responding to a properly written, professional note.
When someone new connects with me, I do my best to look over their profile and follow-up by sending them a welcome note. Typically, I thank them for their invitation to connect, and if I already know them, I’ll write a personal note. Afterwards, I usually hear back, but it’s surprising how often I don’t. Not even an acknowledgement of receiving the InMail.
Some don’t respond until weeks, and sometimes even months later. The most common reason I hear is ‘it’s because they never check their LinkedIn email.’ If that’s true, change that ‘notification’ setting on your profile (it’s called ‘Messages from Members’).
You want to receive notices of these messages – LinkedIn is a fantastic CRM tool if you use it correctly. And if you don’t have time to use it correctly, you’re doing more harm than good.
Etiquette Blunder #2: You launch into a sales pitch with your first conversation
If your first email to your new connection is solely to sell them your product or service, you are, unfortunately, wasting your time. Here’s why. You don’t know them yet, and you don’t know what their needs are. They don’t know you yet, and they have no reason to trust you.
The only type of person who can possibly get away with this is someone like Richard Branson, and that’s because he has already built a stellar reputation on LinkedIn.
Etiquette Blunder #3: You’re mixing politics with business
Currently in the U.S., we’re up to our elbows in politics with the upcoming presidential election. Even if you volunteer to hold signs on the street to help promote your favorite candidate, don’t bring it to LinkedIn. There’s a very good chance that many of your LinkedIn contacts have a different political viewpoint than you.
Like or not, it could subconsciously affect their decision to do business with you.
Etiquette Blunder #4: You comment on or ‘like’ anything inappropriate
Suppose someone posts about their sexy new bathing suit on LinkedIn and you click that ‘like’ icon. Or worse, you comment on how good they look. If you’re a connection of mine, I’m going to see that. And within seconds, you’ll no longer be a connection of mine.
What’s worse is that several of your other connections on LinkedIn will also see it.
Much to our benefit and dismay, LinkedIn algorithms are a dirty little secret-teller. So, unless you want your new sales prospects to know your not-so-professional business points of view, don’t inadvertently shout it out to the world. There are other social media platforms more suitable for these types of posts.
Etiquette Blunder #5: It’s all about ME
The truth is that LinkedIn is about you in that it gives you a professional forum to showcase your talent and your work history. But if you want to get the most out of it as a networking tool, make it all about your relationships. Look for meaningful ways to connect your connections to each other (I call this Netweaving). Share information about your connections. Write solid recommendations about the contacts you do business with. Share about projects you’ve worked on with others. In short, look for ways you can help others, and you won’t have to do any selling.