LinkedIn Etiquette: 4 Online Networking Tips

LinkedIn networking etiquetteLinkedIn reports that 73 percent of its members use the platform for networking with other professionals. As a social network, it makes perfect sense that close to 3/4 of their membership would be taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with like-minded colleagues.

For those of you who want to become part of a conversation and engage with others on LinkedIn, here are four etiquette pointers to keep in mind when networking online:

1. Personalize your connection request. One of the biggest mistakes professionals make on LinkedIn is not taking the time to personalize their request. They click “Connect” and send out the generic invite that says “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Let’s say you reach out to a professional colleague you don’t know (or don’t know well), take an extra moment to personalize your request and let him/her know why you’re reaching out. Perhaps you both have a colleague, a personal interest or a university in common. This is the beginning of developing a relationship so take advantage of the opportunity to start a conversation.

2. After your request has been accepted, ditch the pitch (see the video below). In other words, your next message to that person should not be a sales pitch. Use the opportunity to share something about yourself, but ask how you might be of assistance to your new connection. Remember, LinkedIn is about building and nurturing the KLT Factor (i.e., know, like and trust) first.

Provide value to the people you reach out to. Send them a link to an article you think may be of interest, either personally or professionally. When I saw that one of my connections (who was also a prospect) liked running and had family in Colorado, I sent him a link to a running event that was taking place in Colorado – no pitch, just something of interest to him that helped me nurture the relationship.

3. Don’t ignore an invitation from someone you don’t know. When you receive an invite from someone you don’t recognize, take a moment to visit their profile first. Perhaps this person could be a referral resource, a vendor or potential customer.

If they’ve made the mistake of sending you a generic connection request, you can reply without accepting their invitation. Reach out and ask them how they found you. They may have been referred by a colleague or maybe they were simply searching LinkedIn. As mentioned in point #1, this is an opportunity to begin a conversation.

4. Engage with others. Engagement on LinkedIn isn’t just about messaging your connections. Take time to “like,” comment or share their posts. When you show that you’re interested in them and what they have to say, they’ll find you interesting.
These are just a few helpful tips and pointers designed to help you maximize your LinkedIn experience. If you’re baffled by the network, start out slowly. In just 15 minutes a day, you can review your Home page to see what your colleagues are posting, share your own update or publish a post.

Want to connect with me on LinkedIn? Visit me at and be sure to personalize your request – let me know that you read this blog post – so I know how you found me.

Have an etiquette tip you’d like to share? Please do so in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. I love this one:

    3. Don’t ignore an invitation from someone you don’t know.

    People always tell me they ignore connection requests from people they do not know. How else do you build and grow your network? The point IS to meet new people. It’s all in how you do it.

    Thanks for posting this Debra.
    Robert Nissenbaum recently posted…Stop Asking Me To Like Your Facebook PageMy Profile

    • I agree that it’s how you do it Robert. You can build & grow your network through introductions (as you well know). However, there are still other professionals who you may not know who could be valuable connections, resources, etc. So it’s always good to view their profile, learn something about them, send them a message (reply, but don’t accept their invitation) and see if they reply and start a conversation. Then, connect.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Debra Jason recently posted…On Black Friday Was Your Inbox As Stuffed As Your Belly On Thanksgiving?My Profile

  2. Lu Schildmeyer says:

    Thank you so much for a great post for both seasoned LinkedIn people like me (LinkedIn member since 2000) and new members.

    It is like most things in life and relationships show someone you really genuinely care about them by taking the time the first time up front to make your invite to connect personal and on purpose.

    I make it a policy to call the person who wants to link to me (if I have a contact number I can find usually by looking at there profile and there web site) I can tell you that most are very surprised that I would take the time to do this and are very appreciative of it.

    My philosophy on this is I am not after the # of connections I can accumulate but the quality and genuine and lasting relationships I can form both professionally and personally with like minded professionals that I can bless with some referral, article, tit bit of knowledge etc.
    I am blessed to be a blessing!

    Thank you for being a blessing Debra!

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