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Imagine walking up to a stranger and saying, “Hello, do you have a job for me?”. Would it work? Of course not! Then why do some of us send random, untargeted messages to complete strangers on LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a platform to cultivate relationships, but it can only benefit you when done in the right way. This is why LinkedIn networking etiquette is important. With this in mind, let’s have a look at some dos and don’ts of LinkedIn networking.
1) Add a personalized message to your request
Adding a customized message creates a strong impression on your target audience. Sending a random message saying “Hi, please add me.” or not adding a message at all will reduce your chances of being added to their network. Think about it like this- you identify your target audience, are interested in learning more about them, and looking for their support. How can you achieve these targets if you don’t convey your message? Your connection request is your first point of contact, so it is important to be on-point with your communication.
2) Message them when they accept your request
Many times professionals just accept your request and do not respond to the message in the request (which now is in your inbox). That’s totally okay. Pick up the conversation from your last message. Thank them for accepting your connection request, then introduce yourself properly. In cases where they reply to your message, make sure you reply to them too. Even if the situation has changed for you and you no longer require their help, don’t burn any bridges. Send them a polite reply and let them know that you would like to keep in touch.
3) Use professional, grammatically correct language
While your grammar and language may not be a judge of your capabilities, it’s only wise to write a grammatically correct message. It demonstrates your ability to communicate fluently and effectively, creating a strong first impression. If you are unsure of your grammar, we suggest doing the following:
- Refer to a networking template
- Use Grammarly
- Ask feedback from a friend before sending it to your target audience
4) Greet properly
A greeting is an essential part of your communication that allows you to connect with them at a personal level. Imagine getting these greetings from three different people:
- Hello <Your name>
- To whomsoever, it may concern
Which one has a higher chance of getting a reply from you? The second one, right? While writing to a prospect, you need to make sure it looks easy and comfortable. Your message shouldn’t be forced or unintentional. In many cases, professionals add a targeted message but start with a ‘to whomsoever it may concern’ salutation. This reduces the chances of it being read as it may be considered sales-y or spam.
Sharing someone’s content is another good practice that you can adopt. Of course, this doesn’t mean spamming the feed with irrelevant, unrelated content but sharing stuff that helped you and can help others is a good idea. This is considered beneficial for networking purposes when you are trying to build a rapport with someone. It demonstrates your genuine interest in a person and their content.
6) Reply to all comments
Do you respond to people for their wishes and appreciation in real life? Yes, you do! So why not do the same online? If you are a content creator who shares posts regularly and receives engagement, make sure you respond to all comments. Not responding to comments or engaging with people comes across as being rude. Again, from a networking perspective, this is a key move that can help you build long-lasting relationships.
7) Report people who are rude
LinkedIn is a professional platform with no place for hatred, discrimination, or bias. If you come across someone who is being rude or promoting hatred on the platform, take the necessary actions. These people could be the ones you are directly interacting with or anyone else who may not even be a connection. LinkedIn offers you options to report–
- A conversation
- A fake profile
- A post or a comment
- A cover story
Some resources that you can use to lodge your concerns are:
1) Don’t ask new connections to endorse you/find jobs etc.
Suppose you meet someone at a networking event. What approach would you take to establish a relationship? Would you directly start with ‘Can you please help me find a role?’ or ‘This is my profile, do you have any leads?’? No, right? Online is no different. Do not ask your new connections to endorse you or help you find jobs. They hardly know you. This is the time for you to introduce yourself, learn about them, and build a rapport. Developing a healthy relationship will take you a step closer to your dream role. Asking for favors straightaway will only burn potential bridges for you.
2) Don’t be dismissive and abusive of others’ content
Everyone is working towards their goals. For some, this includes creating content and establishing a personal brand. If you have created content, you would know it is not a piece of cake. So when you see someone trying hard to establish themselves on LinkedIn through content creation, support them. This does not mean agreeing with everything they post but helping them through the process. If you find someone’s content factually or ethically wrong, let them know politely. Communicate your thoughts effectively and make sure you are not dismissive or abusive.
3) Don’t annoy others while trying to follow up
There may be circumstances where a few people you reached out to didn’t respond. In cases like this, we definitely suggest following up but not more than once. If you feel there is a scope to reach out once more, go for two follow-ups. However, if you still don’t hear back, close the loop and focus on other connections. Don’t spam or annoy them. It is essential to understand that not everyone will support you. But you will do just fine. Focus on connections capable and willing to add value to you and build on those relationships.
LinkedIn is a great place to cultivate relationships and find your next job. However, your approach to LinkedIn networking matters a lot. Some relationships may not fetch you value immediately, but in the long run, they can take you a step further towards your goals. Thus, make sure you are professional, grammatically correct wherever possible, and open-minded.