LinkedIn Etiquette – 7 Tips For Better Connections

Since launching my business, I’ve been much more active on LinkedIn, which means many more people “seeing” me and a good handful of them sending connection requests. In the beginning, being the nice person I am, I was quick to accept them. Too quick. More often than I’d like to admit, I’d almost instantly find a message trying to pitch me something or even worse, just straight out sell me something. 😞

I’m more reluctant to connect to “strangers” now and often reply with a “why” question before accepting requests from people I don’t know at all. Sorry, not sorry.

The most recent sales pitch made me remember a conversation I had with a fellow business owner at the start of the pandemic. He was looking to make the shift to “selling” on LinkedIn. I told him I wasn’t very experienced when it comes to using LinkedIn as a sales tool, but did share some tips to help him promote himself and his business for better engagement. Here they are:

  1. Make sure to use a really good head shot with a clean background.
  2. Create a custom header and include your tag line if you have one.
  3. The Experience section is like your resume. Fill it up with as much information as possible so people can learn about your background without having to ask.
  4. Use the About section to tell your story, but keep it short and sweet.
  5. Ask customers and vendors to write strong Recommendations and be willing to do the same for others.
  6. Build real connections – with people you look up to, would love to know better, and those you’d eventually love to work with if the opportunity presents itself.
  7. And last, but not least, post relevant and helpful information, share posts that resonate with you, and comment thoughtfully and respectfully on posts where you feel you can provide good feedback and/or additional information on the topic at hand.

In the end, no matter where you “meet” people or how you “communicate,” remember, it’s all about the connection. Be someone others would love to be connected too, and they’ll happily buy from you or refer you to others when the time is right.

Networking Is Out – Relationship Building Is In

Last night I attended my first Vistage* group dinner since before the pandemic hit, and it felt absolutely amazing to be around my peers in person again. We mixed and mingled outside over cocktails to get started, and while there was some talk about business (we’re all business owners), most of the conversation was about our lives.

Then we ventured inside for dinner and once seated there was less opportunity for mingling. I spend the meal chatting with those on either side of me about a variety of things – one being that someone other than me was crazy enough to get a puppy during the pandemic when they already had a dog at home. 😂

And as the evening wound down and people started trickling out to head home, some made plans to connect offline about something that had come up in conversation, but for the most part we were all just happy to be together again in person.

If one thing became clear through the course of the pandemic, it’s that we all need connection. I’d like to take that one step further through and add the word “meaningful” to the mix. In the old days of networking events, there was always that one person with the cheesy business version of a “pick up line” who worked the room and handed out a slew of cards and we never called. And there was always that one person we had a more in depth conversation with that we may not have called right away, but we remembered when we needed a particular service because the connection was meaningful.

One of my goals from day 1 of my business launch last year was to make 3 connections a week. Sometimes it’s with someone new thanks to LinkedIn or Lunchclub. Sometimes it’s with someone I already know, but haven’t talked to in a while. Sometimes it’s through attending a virtual event and scheduling a follow up conversation with another attendee. But no matter who it is, the whole point is to have a meaningful conversation and build a relationship. It’s not about a quick sales pitch, or agreeing to mutual referrals, it’s about building a community of like-minded business owners who value people and relationships. And when it does come time to “buy” or “sell”, we have the opportunity to do business with those we know, like and trust. ❤️


*You can learn more about Vistage here.