LinkedIn Dos & Don’ts: It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How You Connect
Do: Participate In Groups Being signed up for groups, but then never reading the threads or participating in the discussions is almost as bad as abandoning a profile.
Do: Find Former Co-Workers It’s fun to catch up with old co-workers; they know what kind of work you can do and can help you find or get that next position.
Do: Write Recommendations This is so simple; think of the 2-3 people at a former position who really helped you, it could be a boss, peer or subordinate. Or it could be a vendor, partner, classmate, professor, family member (if you are in a family business) or more. They all deserve recommendations and will hopefully return one in kind. Keep the recommendation to one or two paragraphs. Personalize the recommendation; if you haven’t worked with the person recently, it is ok to say decline a recommendation request.
And follow a grandma rule, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
Do: Keep in Contact with Your Connections Even a simple, “Hey we haven’t talked in a while, let’s meet up for coffee/lunch” is a great way to keep the connections relevant.
Do: Personalize Your Link Make your profile memorable by changing the random characters personalized to be your name. If you have a common name: Bill Smith; then try and personalize the link to your name and a year you will easily remember.
Do: Personalize Your Requests Every connection request should be personalized. The generic “I want to add you to my professional network” means you haven’t taken the time to say why you want to connect. People change jobs and meet new connections all of the time, you may need to re-establish where you worked to jog a memory. Even if it is a simple, ”I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I want to make sure we continue to keep our professional connection.” That request stands out and makes the connectee want to accept a request.
Don’t: Shamelessly Self-Promote Remember being social isn’t all about you, it is about reciprocity. Helping others is the key to doing well within the social tools.
Don’t: Be a Know-it-All Asking a question and for help can be a great way to connect with people you already know. It also helps expose you to new groups of people who do what you do or are at a different point in their career path.
Don’t: Just Talk, Listen This is really the most important part of any social tool. It takes a while to learn the nuances of each social tool, so really jump into the social media pool by setting up your profile and taking some time to listen. You will learn so much, so quickly.
Keep these tips handy and soon you will make LinkedIn your go-to social tool.