LinkedIn This is part two of our social media etiquette series. Today we will take a look at Linkedin.com. The very first point to note is that Linkedin is often described as “Facebook for business people”. Now, whether you agree with this comparison or not, it is fair to say that there is an expectation that LinkedIn users should act with business-like manners, in the best possible sense of manners!

LinkedIn is a mighty way for users to connect with business men and women around the world. It provides an unique opportunity to see how far removed you are from prospective contacts, and the ability to trace connections. As a result, it is imperative that you treat connections with respect because your posts may transmitted very simply to influential business, government or organization leaders around the globe.

If you truly value your professional reputation on LinkedIn please do not:
1. Leave you photo blank or use a non-business like photo. Your photo should present you in the way you want business colleagues to see you. As with Facebook, there is no excuse for not including a suitable photo in your LinkedIn profile.
2. Indiscriminately request connections. It is likely you will have fewer LinkedIn connections than you have Facebook friends. You are probably far more visible to people with whom you have casual or friendly contact than those with whom you have business connections. You should however use LinkedIn to connect with your business, organization or company network. Connecting to other BNI members around the world is a good example of making appropriate connections.
3. Ask for recommendations from people with whom you not well acquainted or do not know. How can a credible business person write you a recommendation if they don’t have a relationship with you? I do however recommend that you seek recommendations from legitimate sources, and also extend recommendations to people who have done a good job for you. Again like so may aspects of etiquette, it is just good manners and respect for others.
4. Write recommendations for people on whom you are not qualified to comment. Just because you receive a request for a recommendation, you are not obligated to do so. Similarly, do not write recommendations with an ulterior motive, i.e. a recommendation in return, or to placate someone for other actions which have occurred. These are not the hallmarks of an honorable or credible business person.
5. Finally, absolutely never use your connections’ email addresses to spam them. Some people are convinced that social media is just another method for direct sales. While it is true that social media is an effective way to get your message out, it is far more useful to have other people do it for you! This starts with visibility and credibility. It is definitely not credible behavior to misuse your LinkedIn connections’ email addresses to promote yourself and your business through unsolicited email*.

Remember, with LinkedIn the onus is on a business-like manner, and business communications which will enhance your visibility and credibility. Use it for anything else at your peril.

* Unsolicited Email: Email messages sent without the express consent or not at the request of the recipient. Also commonly known as spam.

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