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Netiquette on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is primarily a business to business social network with over 30 million members as of Jan. 09.  Users have different objectives and come from different cultures on LinkedIn.  Some people use it to connect with people who they would never otherwise know.  These people benefit from the synchronicity of connecting that often happens in my field of competitive intelligence during the process of cold calling where one source tells the caller the names of additional sources. At the other end of the spectrum are those who will only connect with people they know. Remember there is an individual behind that electronic connection to avoid blunders that put you in WIFM-land. (what’s in it for me)

Here are 12 LinkedIn bad habits I find particularly annoying:

1. The writer tries to make the invitations look customized.  I see right through that, so does everyone else.  I prefer invitations that get right to the point and invite me to join a person’s LinkedIn network.  If it’s customized I like that even better and I can tell for example that s/he decided to connect with me based on something s/he read from my profile or perhaps we are in the same LinkedIn group.  If I don’t know the person that well, I appreciate knowing how we met.

2. I don’t like being solicited for non-relevant services by my direct LinkedIn connections.  That is the downside of being a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker).  Others assume that we want to receive emails that promote their business.

3. I am continually asked to LinkIn with people who I am already connected with.  Some of them send out big email blasts and ask everyone to connect with them and claim they’re out of invitations (many of them are not).

4. If you want someone to connect with you on LinkedIn, ask them.  Some people ask me to go to their profile and initiate the invitation.  They often claim to be out of invitations.  Most of them are not.  They want you to use up your invitations.

5. I don’t like being invited into LinkedIn groups that obviously are not a good match for me.  For example, many recruiters have invited me to join their recruiting group on LinkedIn.  I am not a recruiter and wish they would look more look at targeted profiles before they send out these massive email blasts.

6. I don’t like being asked to recommend someone unless I know him or her.  Some people ask me who barely know me.  It makes me feel like I’m part of their cattle drive to collect endorsements, and that they don’t care about the quality.  You can tell when an endorsement is shallow so I don’t know why anyone would want one.

7. I also get aggravated by those who thank me for connecting with them and proceed to write me a long sales pitch. If you want people to read your “thank-you for connecting note,” you need to make it personal or don’t bother!  “Thanks you for connecting: let me know how I can help you” is a “non-thank-you” note.

8. LinkedIn has a Question and Answer section.  Some people ask questions to direct people to their business and it’s really an obnoxious ploy.  You can tell by how they ask the question and look at the name of their business and title.

9. Many people’s questions are dumb.  They’re so broad that you could write a book to answer them or they’re so unclear and in such poor English that I don’t understand them.  Think! Proofread!  Remember, the quality of your answers is directly related to the quality of your questions.

10. When answering questions, answer the question in the spirit of sharing and giving.  We don’t want to read all about your business.  LinkedIn links readers back to your profile.  It’s just like people who overtly advertise their business while making a presentation.  It turns people off.  You’ll get plenty of business by giving a good presentation, just like you will if you give good answers and are declared an expert on LinkedIn.

11. I am aggravated by people on LinkedIn whose profiles tell me nothing about what they do.  They are as brief as they can be and just go back through a couple of jobs, and I know they’re older than that.  These are often the same ones who are not open to being contacted: why are they on LinkedIn?

12. At the bottom of a person’s profile, some people are only willing to be contacted if it benefits them.  Their profile reads something like this:

Contact Settings
Interested In

business deals                    job inquiries
career opportunities

Someone who is a giver will include all the Contact Settings which includes ways that person might help others:

Contact Settings
Interested In

career opportunities           consulting offers
new ventures                        job inquiries
expertise requests              business deals
reference requests             getting back in touch

So these are my Big 12 No No’s on LinkedIn.  Do you have others to add?

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