Let’s face it… LinkedIn etiquette is a real thing here in 2016, soon to be 2017.
Fifty years ago it was considered poor etiquette to eat corn off the cob. (Yes, that’s right, fork and knife only!). People also wrote thank you notes. Men opened the car door for women. Families ate dinner together. And it was extremely rude to arrive late (there was no such thing as “fashionably late”).
While we haven’t lost all of these rules of etiquette, they certainly don’t hold the same value as they once did.
Case in point? Well, let’s take a look at social media and the concept of LinkedIn etiquette.
Etiquette in the Age of the Internet
The internet is a beautiful thing. It allows people to do business with one another from across the globe. Friends and families are able to keep in touch better than ever. And meeting new people or finding Mr. Right is just a few clicks away.
Well, the anonymity of the internet has brought a whole world of issues to the surface.
Greg Johnson, a techie and activist, explains that the web is positive in that it “creates a sense of security, offers privacy, promotes freedom of speech, and reduces self-consciousness.”
However, even with all the good, there are still some drawbacks. Things like cyber bullying and heckling, identity misrepresentation, and failure to be transparent or authentic are some of the negatives of anonymity.
What About LinkedIn Etiquette?
While cyber bullying isn’t the “problem of the year” for LinkedIn, perhaps misrepresentation is.
Think back to the connection requests you’ve received over the past few years. Have you ever received requests from any of the following?
- Someone you don’t know
- Someone you may or may not know, but you can’t be sure because their profile does not provide enough information
- A person without a profile picture
- A person with an incomplete profile
- An individual with multiple LinkedIn accounts
- A LinkedIn profile that is actually a business (with a “personal account” for a profile)
See, requests like the above are the reason why articles on LinkedIn etiquette exist in the first place. There is certainly some shady stuff going on!
What Can I Do About It?
I gave a webinar yesterday called The 3 LinkedIn Best Practices to Get You Noticed by Prospects & Customers. (BTW if you missed it, here’s a link to part two).
The basis of this webinar was pretty simple: be a real person. Well actually, the webinar was a lot more detailed than that, but that’s what I’d like to focus on to make this point.
People want to work with people. They don’t want to work with robots. And they don’t want to work with pretend, fake people either.
So what can you do about this? Be a real person.
And what’s the best way to be a real person on the internet? Well, follow the rules of LinkedIn etiquette! Fill out your LinkedIn profile to completion.
And when you fill it out, don’t think about it like a resume. Think about it as a relationship building tool. If your prospects and customers were to visit your page, would it mean anything? Do you offer anything of value? Does your profile provide a clear picture of who you are as a person and the impact you’re trying to make on the world?
LinkedIn Etiquette & Beyond
Here are some ideas to add some life to your LinkedIn profile:
Use a professional photo.
If it’s a picture of you at a bar, it’s not professional. If you’re blurry, it’s not professional. And no, teeny tiny pictures or photos from far away don’t count either! Oh and don’t you dare cut your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/partner out of that pic and use it on LinkedIn!
Craft an informative headline.
We talked about this a bit during the webinar and it’s certainly worth mentioning here. Your headline should address what you do or what you stand for, not how you identify at your current job.
This means if your current headline is your current job title, I encourage you to revamp it.
Actual example from Charles Bernard’s LinkedIn profile:
CEO, Criteria for Success, Inc.
Transforming Selling in the World | Practitioner of Discovery-Based Selling | Increasing Revenue with Sales PlayBooks
Craft an engaging summary.
Your summary is it. It’s everything. That’s what people are going to see when they click on your page.
Yeah sure, they might scroll down and check out where you’ve worked before and take a look at your skills, expertise, connections, and groups—but your summary is prime time. It’s the first thing people see when they begin to scroll down your profile page. So make it count!
I recently rewrote my entire summary. My old summary was really boring. It was basically a list of things that I can do and blah blah blah blah.
When I rewrote my summary, I wanted to say something that meant something. I wanted it to be meaningful and to make people go, “wow, that’s different.” Or “that’s interesting.” Or “this girl is weird.” I don’t know, something!
Here, read it. If it makes you think for more than 2.5 seconds than I accomplished my goal.
My point is that your summary should be meaningful to you and give others a glimpse into your professional life or train of thought. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more interested in what people think than what they do.
Don’t Be a Creep
You were probably wondering about the title of this article when you clicked on it. (And now you’re probably mad that it’s the last darn point in the whole darn thing).
But if you read my LinkedIn summary, it’ll start to make sense. This article has been a discovery on LinkedIn etiquette.
My hope is that by the time you got to this point that you discovered something about yourself and the way that others present themselves on social media. I hope you discover that the only real creeps on LinkedIn are the ones that either aren’t real or don’t act like real people.
Let’s use the Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as a framework. Present yourself authentically because you expect others to do the same.
Now… get out there. Edit that LinkedIn profile. Be real. Be a human. Help us forward our mission to transform the way people sell in the world.