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LinkedIn dos and don'ts

A handy list of dos and don’ts for you to use in your daily interactions

Following our recent articles on using professional social network LinkedIn as a powerful sales tool, we’ve been receiving feedback and tips from the Canon Business Insider community on how to get even more out of this useful tool. As a result, we’ve collated this feedback into a handy list of dos and don’ts for you to use in your daily interactions.

Do follow a lead’s LinkedIn page before you connect with them. It shows a lack of interest in their product or service to contact them without having first followed them.

Don’t post negative comments about your competitors. Social media can be a negative space and people want to feel like their community is like-minded and positive.

Don’t post opinions that may alienate potential customers. Be mindful of the sort of content you post. For example, don’t go on regular right or left wing rants if your community doesn’t exclusively fall into either category. You run the risk of them disengaging with you if your beliefs don’t align.

Don’t sell too hard. Remember that even though LinkedIn is a business platform it’s still social media. Find the right tone to pitch to your audience. Buy them a drink before you invite them back to your pad.

Don’t confuse LinkedIn with Facebook. Facebook. It’s a networking tool, designed for connecting companies and business professionals together. Far too many businesses and individuals alike confuse social and personal. They see the need to be social, so they share personal information. Don’t share the details of your divorce or ill-health, save that for Facebook.

Do regularly maintain your profile. Don’t leave friend requests hanging, and respond to messages in a timely fashion. Reach out to new connections regularly, not in bi-annual spurts of activity.

Do post a mix of sales material and helpful content. You need to share as much helpful and interesting content without an agenda behind it as you do sales pitches. One for me, one for you is a good rule to follow.

Don’t use the automatically generated connection requests that LinkedIn provides. They seem impersonal and scattershot. Write your own request so the person knows that you really want to connect with them.

Do tailor your sales pitch to your connection. Don’t just copy and paste a stock pitch. When crafting your note, make it about them, not you. Comment on something they did or share some industry news and why you think it'd be relevant to them. Tailor your pitch by talking about how you've helped companies similar to theirs.

Don’t spam LinkedIn group discussions. You’ll be ejected from the group, and it lacks the personal approach that LinkedIn demands.

Don’t create a fake account to spy on your competitors. LinkedIn isn’t as anonymous as other social platforms, and pro-LinkedIn subscribers can see what you’re doing when you’re lurking on their profile.

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