Good manners on LinkedIn is important to build trust and attract clients. Good etiquette can never be underestimated in developing a trusted personal brand and building great business and networks.
LinkedIn is the largest professional social media network in the world providing an influential gateway to connect businesses, brands and people in ways that were never once imagined. And as its humans not robots that are at the core of connectivity good etiquette and manners really do matter.
The impact of good manners and professional etiquette can never be underestimated in building trust and strong brand equity. So it is perplexing that manners and etiquette are not given the weight of importance they deserve. Building trust, cementing your brand, sharing networks, engagement and opening doors are the fundamentals of being on LinkedIn. And we are all being watched and observed by what we do and how we show up, engage and contribute – both publicly and privately. And whether you are actively contributing or just lurking away in the background, you will be also be observing how people treat others.
As a huge advocate of good manners I believe they not only demonstrate strength of human character but are also frankly good $$ business sense. We never know who others know and their circle of influence outside of what we perceive. So treating everyone – not just those we deem as important or relevant to us in the ‘now’ is key. When I ran a media recruitment agency the key mantra that contributed to growth and large referrals was : Clients can be candidates and candidates can be clients – the world turns in a nanosecond
That sentiment is applicable to everyone and any business – clients can be suppliers, and suppliers can be clients etc. But I also recognise we are all human, are not perfect and make mistakes. Life happens, we get distracted, have multiple issues to deal with, get ill, accidentally forget something etc. But its always the motivation and intent that drives the energy.
Good manners and business etiquette should be the goal on ‘most days’ not ‘occasional days’.
Top 6 LinkedIn Etiquette Tips
1. Invitation Requests
Try to always send a request with a personal note when you are inviting people you have never engaged with in any way prior. If you already know the person a flick invite can be OK. People want to feel valued and that an invite has some bespoke thought. It takes less than 60 seconds to craft a few quick sentences. So don’t be lazy. And generic notes without any bespoke reference doesn’t really cut it either.
2. Accepting Personalised Invitation Requests
If you accept a request with a personal note – have the courtesy to respond with at least a thank you. This is the start of a relationship and is important for both parties.
3. Responding to Comments on Articles & Content
Content is the jewel in the crown of sharing knowledge on the platform. If someone has taken the time to write a thoughtful and respectful comment on your blogs or content always acknowledge them. Just a ‘Like’ to a comment tends to be a bit weak mostly. Why post and blog if you don’t a/ intend or b/ allocate the time to further engage? Unless a comment is rude or weird it’s good manners to say thanks and further engage a little. And the best bit is as an author you continue to have an opportunity to show value and thought leadership in your field.
Re vitriolic and rude comments: My recommendation is to totally ignore them. Engaging in nastiness, sarcasm and BS damages your brand and wastes time. If you want to call the person out and take task , do it privately. It’s a bit like going to a dinner party and the hosting couple is having a damn big fight over the dinner table – not cool.
4. Introducing Your Networks
Introducing your connections to others in your network is a great way of adding value and your professional intent. As a marketing and branding activity I encourage mindfulness of the benefits of this. S o this tip is also a marketing engagement call out. But always respond with a thank you and gratitude. It takes time to craft an introduction and you want to encourage more of them. Don’t take them for granted.
5. Private Messages
If someone in your network (or even not in your network) takes the time to craft a personalised, tailored and relevant message to you it’s bad manners not to respond in any way once you have read it (ok time constraints may mean you cant respond instantly but aim for 3-5 days max). Again, why have someone in your network and yet ignore them constantly? Now this is not about the Spam/ selling down your throat type emails, it’s the personalised ones. Even the Thanks or Thumbs Up icons at least acknowledges the message once read (not ideal and wish there were better icons).
And this then begs the question – If you choose to ignore someone in your network WHY have them in it ? But perhaps you don’t know how to respond ..see below
6. How to Say No Politely – Don’t be an Ostrich
Following on from the above – many people who ignore messages may do so because they just don’t know HOW to respond politely and firmly. But it’s easy – think of how YOU would want to be responded to and treated. Humanise the response but craft it in a way that shows gratitude but a clear statement of your intentions. A little caveat here: I’m referring to current connections NOT spamming messages from MLMs, overseas spruikers etc.
Having good manners and professional etiquette is not just an old fashioned concept in today’s fragmented world and digital super highway – indeed it is more important than ever to build business and encourage healthy relationships.