I frequently talk about learning to play nice in the sandbox as being your guide to LinkedIn (and other social media) etiquette.  What that means to me is always try to use some common sense and always apply the golden rule.  Understand that networking isn’t about what you can get out of it (transactional, what’s in it for me?).  It is more so about “How can I help you?” or “How can we help each other?”  It’s about giving, Paying It Forward and realizing this is a long term relationship building process where what goes around, comes around.

LinkedIn Etiquette 101 - Play Nice In The Sandbox

LinkedIn Etiquette 101 – Play Nice In The Sandbox

People in general do not want to be sold.  One time closers, hard hitting sales people, are on the wane.  Good bye, good riddance!

People Want To Buy

In fact people want to buy too much.  Especially Americans. And that keeps our economy humming(!).

  • people buy from people they know (do not hide yourself, be transparent).
  • people buy from people they like (give others a gift of loving kindness).
  • people buy from people they trust (We’ve lost our trust in everyone.  You have to earn it, so start).
  • wake up, the customers and prospects are in control now, not you.

I am, of course, not as naive as I was years ago.  I finally realize life is not fair.  I also realize you can not teach common sense.  I just learned yesterday there are no public laws or ordinances regulating “being a jerk” in our quiet ‘bedroom’ community.

Please and Thank You

What, pray tell, happened to common courtesy?  Did it go out the window with social media, texting, acronyms, speed and necessity of staying connected 24/7?  Hello, good bye.  Good morning.  Please and Thank You.  How can I help you?  If customer service is dead in your book, customers and potential clients and prospects soon will be as well.

 Your Word Is Your Bond

Make a commitment, keep it!  Make a promise, fulfill it!  Train people to understand they can bank on you.  And follow up!

LinkedIn Pet Peeves

  • spam me
  • try to sell me something, especially when sending an initial request to connect (ugh, the gall!)
  • add me to your email list without asking me (Google the can-spam act, please!)
  • ask me for an introduction (to a connection) when I do not know you
  • ask me to connect without completing your profile or speaking English or being a direct competitor
  • calling yourself a ‘Guru’ or ‘expert’ when you obviously are not (because I can tell by reading your LinkedIn profile or merely visiting your Web site and looking at your code it was written in)
  • expect to pick my brain under the guise of:  “I just have a (few) question(s) for you.”
  • set up your profile as a company (since a competitor will likely report you and the profile will be tossed anyway)
  • put up your profile without first going through a rudimentary spell check or checking for punctuation errors (no one is perfect, neither am I, but avoid the glaring errors)
  • stuff your profile with keywords (yes, you may attract someone through search, but don’t you think visitors will read your profile?  (See ‘jerk’ ordinance above.)
  • try to be too cute for the sole purpose of standing out rather than differentiating yourself from your competition  (See ‘jerk’ ordinance above.)
  • start a discussion that is obviously a self promotion linking back to your ‘sales’ or ‘funnel’ page (What do you think, you thought of this first? LinkedIn does regulate this. Duh.)
  • tell me you need a job (I empathize, I truly do since I walked a mile in your shoes, but so do a lot of other people.)
  • lie to me (your reputation is at stake here)


  • ask me to connect with you using the default LinkedIn request (get original, give me a reason to connect with you, please) { 2-20-14}
  • ask me to connect using the selection ‘friend’ when I do not know you, never met you and we haven’t ever spoken to each other  { 2-20-14}
  • so I accepted and we’re connected, now what?  Do we network by osmosis?  Do we fall in love, get married and live happily thereafter?  (Get real.  How can we help each other?  This is not a numbers game, where the most connections wins!  Start a discussion, begin a relationship.  Give me some foreplay.)  { 2-20-14}

Other LinkedIn Etiquette Sources

See my LinkedIn Profile Photos page for some suggestions and things to avoid.

I moved my LinkedIn No-No’s page to a sub-page of this.  More of LinkedIn legalese under its Terms of Agreement.

Photo by Artaxerxes, Source: Wikipedia

Published February 19, 2014.

I leave comments open on this page. (Jack, where are you?) If you have anything to add, please do so.  All comments will go to comment moderation in case you are thinking of spamming, so don’t.  Remember, if your comment or suggestion passes mustard, you will get a link to your Web site (or LinkedIn profile) as a reward.  I may even send you a prize;  check that…. I probably won’t, unless of course, it really is good.  (Where are you Grant?)


LinkedIn Etiquette — 2 Comments

  1. Well, you must have been channeling Emily Post because you did a great job detailing the common sense approaches to LinkedIn Etiquette.

    Your post should be required reading for new members of LinkedIn. Here’s why. Most of the offenses you covered are committed as part of making a first impression. And everyone knows how important first impressions are.