Person logging into LinkedIn on their phone.

LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful networking tool. However, since it falls under the category of ‘social network’, many people group it in with Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to be using LinkedIn, you shouldn’t buy into that way of thinking. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all personal networking sites, whereas LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. It’s a great way to build your professional network, and represent your career experience and accomplishments. Since this social network is inherently different than most social networks, there are different expectations for behavior. Today we’ll be explaining the appropriate way to act, what makes the site unique.

Professional, Not Personal

We’ll begin by describing the most basic difference with behavior on LinkedIn: keep it professional. It’s very likely that you’re connected with family and friends on Facebook. On LinkedIn you’ll be connecting with them, with the addition of your coworkers and professional network. This means you need to treat the content  you are posting, sharing, and liking differently. Personal content is typically a big no-no on LinkedIn. There are only a few exceptions, which aren’t even worth mentioning. In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of avoiding unprofessional content that could hurt your job search. LinkedIn requires even more monitoring. You should be posting content relevant to your career and field.

The way in which you engage with content is also different on LinkedIn. A strong LinkedIn user should only post once per day, at the most. Posting constantly isn’t appropriate like it is on Instagram or Facebook. With LinkedIn, the goal is to have your profile leave an impression that you are professional, informed, and experienced. A selfie profile photo doesn’t foster that type of impression. Your photo should have you in professional dress. If you can’t find one, consider having a professional headshot taken. The difference is noticeable and will impact if people decide to contact you or not.

Finding the Right Tone

You should also keep your comments professional and well written. Keep an eye out for grammar and spelling. These two items should also be watched vigilantly when using messaging or ‘InMail’ on LinkedIn. Adopt a more professional tone when messaging and commenting on LinkedIn, even with those you are close to. This will keep you from slipping up and speaking too casually with a business contact. It’s also important to note, personal opinions on topics like politics, religion, and finances should be avoided. It’s great to come down one side of an issue related to your profession. This shows that you are informed and current on developments. However you should save your more personal and controversial opinions for Facebook, if anywhere.

The last big distinction on LinkedIn is how you engage with other users on the network, and it starts with connecting. On other social networking sites, you are likely connecting with people you already know fairly well. On LinkedIn however, you are linking up with professional connections you may have just met. It’s important to stand out, remind those connections how you met. Every time you connect with someone, always include a personal message. This will make the connection more meaningful, and they will remember you over others who opted not to personalize. Finally, only endorse those who you have worked with personally. If you not sure what endorsements are, check out our past blog on them here.

We hope you found this advice helpful. LinkedIn is a very different creature from any other of the social media monsters, and it’s important to understand that. Once you know how to work the network, you will be building meaningful connections and discovering new opportunities in no time!