With more than 347 million members in 200 countries, LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform in the world. It’s where professionals go to connect — think of it as a modern-day business card. That’s why it’s important to act professional and abide by some general guidelines when you engage on this platform. The last thing you want to do is annoy your business connections. After all, LinkedIn validates you!

Use these expert tips and strategies to help guide your use of the leading professional social media platform.

(As with all MGIC blog posts on the topic of social media, we advise you to first review and consult your employer’s social media policy before engaging on any platforms. Don’t yet have a social media policy? We have a blog post to help you get started.)

1. Too much activity

Frequent activity in too short a period of time can come across as “spammy.” Keep in mind every action you perform on LinkedIn will show up in your connections’ news feed. Commenting on, liking or sharing a post — even commenting in a group — will all display as separate events in the feed.

So for your own benefit, consider frequency when posting or engaging on LinkedIn. Too many actions in close proximity may result in getting “muted” by your connections, and guess what? It’s really hard to get unmuted. (Think out of sight, out of mind.)

2. Not adjusting your activity broadcast settings

This is important, because not everybody needs to see when you make a change to your profile page. Now, I will argue there are times this can be used strategically to increase traffic to your profile, but generally this function should be turned off.

For those of you who have the new LinkedIn user interface, you may notice a very clear “Yes” “No” button in the right sidebar of your profile page. The addition of this new function now allows you to easily adjust your activity broadcast settings. (If you still have the old user interface, here is a 1-minute video on how you can adjust your activity broadcast settings.)

3. Inappropriate sharing

LinkedIn is not Facebook. Let me repeat: LinkedIn is NOT Facebook.  It is not the place for games, funny pictures, puzzles, silly quotes or recipe swapping. The majority of LinkedIn members are seeking industry insights related to their business or profession. Be mindful of what you share and the audience you are sharing it with.

Sometimes a business-related inspirational quote can be appealing, but that appeal quickly disappears when you see it a million different times over the course of several months. It’s best to stick with great articles on industry topics or discussions related to your profession. The content you share should help your LinkedIn connections improve their professional knowledge and skills.

4. Overusing Pulse

Pulse, LinkedIn’s blogging platform, can be a great way to gain exposure and share valuable insights with a broader audience. I myself have had some success with Pulse. However, Pulse is also a great way to annoy your valuable business connections. Frequency is the key here. It’s important to remember that each post you create using Pulse is messaged to all of your LinkedIn connections, every time. Don’t use Pulse as your daily blogging platform — it’s another easy way for your connections to tune out your existence on LinkedIn.

5. Connecting with strangers or recruiters

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by mortgage professionals is if they should connect with strangers on LinkedIn. The choice is ultimately a personal one. However, let me shed some light on connecting with people you don’t know.

It’s not uncommon to be invited to connect with someone you may not know on LinkedIn. Be aware that if you choose to connect with people you are not familiar with, you run the risk of exposing your professional connections to people who may use that information for their own personal gain.

This is why I like to take advantage of categories and tagging inside LinkedIn. If I connect with someone, I try to wait until I am on a desktop computer, where I can write a personal note with my invitation to connect. I mention how we know each other — maybe we met at a business event and exchanged business cards, or have done past business together. Maybe someone wrote an interesting blog post and I want to connect further. Having a professional business reason to connect on LinkedIn is a safe route to go when determining who you want to connect with. After all, this is the largest professional network on the web, so users should work hard to keep it that way.

What did I miss? Share your LinkedIn pet peeves in the comments section below!

Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Sign-up for MGIC’s free webinar:

LinkedIn Strategies for Loan Officers

Ben Smidt, MA

Ben Smidt - MGIC Digital Marketing Program Manager

Ben Smidt serves as MGIC’s Digital Marketing Program Manager. He leads corporate development and management of MGIC’s digital marketing strategy. This includes establishing a clear vision for all digital marketing initiatives and providing strategic direction for the company’s social media marketing efforts. His primary goal is to increase brand awareness and improve user experience (UX). Additional responsibilities include PPC budget strategy and management of ad spend.

In addition to the insurance industry, Ben has a combined 10 years of experience in computer software, education and publishing industries. His focus has always remained in the area of education and digital marketing for media and technology.

He holds an MA from Marquette University in media channel effectiveness and digital communications, as well as a BS from UW-Madison focused in communications. He resides with his wife, daughter and son in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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