I became active on LinkedIn in March 2020. Since then, I’ve been interacting, connecting and engaging with different people on this platform. I’ve also been observing how people communicate here through comments, messages and content.
While I have seen hundreds of super-effective communicators on LinkedIn, I have also seen hundreds of people who need more awareness on how they communicate. This article is my attempt to highlight some major communication mistakes on LinkedIn and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Purposeless Conversation starters
I’ve got hundreds of first-contact messages that looked like:
Hi, what do you do?
Hey, how are you?
Hey, please reply
If you use any of these to initiate a conversation, most often you won’t even get a response. This is not because there is something wrong with LinkedIn users, but because people get tons of messages on LinkedIn. If an average user like me gets hundreds of messages, imagine the number of messages powerful and influential people might be getting. In such an environment, the best strategy to engage someone new is to write messages with purpose, message that are to the point.
I use the following format to strike a conversation with a new person on LinkedIn. Feel free to add/remove/modify.
I hope you are doing great/ Nice connecting with you / I really like your content (Anything polite)
<State the reason you are messaging>
<What do you expect from them>
<Closing> (All the best/Take care/Have a great day)
Mistake 2: Valueless comments
LinkedIn is filled with posts with comments like–
Thank you for sharing
Very good post
Again, there is nothing wrong with such comments. They definitely make a difference to the creator who posted the content, but they don’t add any value to the person commenting them.
Comment section is a fantastic place to get new conversations started, to find like-minded people and to initiate a new connection. I often engage with people in their comment section before I send a connection request to them. This helps them recognize me instantly and increases the odds of getting my request accepted. All creators love their followers. They want to engage with them, talk to them and have them in their network.
So, how to post a comment that is valuable to you and well as the creator? I use a simple step-by-step strategy mentioned below. Please feel free to add/remove/modify.
Read the post/Watch the video (Oh yes, this is important!)
Understand the right context. It is very easy to get it wrong
Relate the post to your life/work. What is your interpretation/ addition/ thoughts on the subject?
Comment at least one sentence that makes sense. Don't just write, "Well said", "Good", "Thank you for sharing" etc.
Drop at least 25-30 comments in a week. The more you do, the better you get at it.
Most important - Don't be afraid to comment.
Mistake 3: Negative Comments
Negative comments are not the ones that disagree, but those that disrespect. Once you are on social media, everything you do is being watched, especially on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is your new digital resume. You may not know it, you may not accept it, or may not acknowledge it, but everything you post/comment is being watched by someone. Over time, the way you communicate, show respect and disagree reflect your online personal brand.
So, how to disagree like a professional on LinkedIn? Here are my 5 steps:
Read the post/Watch the video: There is nothing more foolish than dropping a disagreement comment without listening and understanding the whole story.
Watch your intent: Do you really disagree with the idea, or is it vanity matrix? If someone disagrees just to look cool or get likes on their comment, then this is a high-risk, high reward game. It can backfire. (I've done all those mistakes!)
Watch your words: Remember, anything can be said more politely.
Avoid sarcasm: It is okay to disagree. It is NOT okay to disrespect!
Be kind: Many of us make mistakes, even on social media. This experimentation tells us what's right and wrong.
Personally, I avoid disagreements online unless it is very necessary. I choose to ignore, especially if the content creator is new. I would rather encourage someone than discourage them.
Mistake 4: Not responding to comments on your post:
I try to respond to each and every single comment on my LinkedIn posts, even if it takes me hours to do so. Only exception to this are the viral posts where it becomes really difficult to respond to everyone. I try to react to comments in that case.
There are reasons why responding to comments on your posts is very important. Few of them are:
It acknowledges the effort someone has made to write a comment. This makes them comment again on your posts in future.
Responding to comments boosts engagement and increases your post’s reach.
It shows that you care about your connections and followers
Repeated engagement with certain people helps you build a good rapport with them. It leads to fruitful professional relationships.
Responding to comments encourages others to comment that adds on to the overall engagement.
Mistake 5: Not sharing your knowledge/story through content:
I know content creation is not easy, but in a digital economy, businesses and people thrive online. Building a personal brand on LinkedIn is one of the finest ways to find job and business opportunities.
If you are a beginner, here is a simple structure to write a post on LinkedIn:
Hook: Start with a controversial or challenging statement. Something that grabs attention and creates interest.
An experience: Share a PERSONAL story! People like to know what happened with you and what you did about it. Not what Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg did.
Message: Keep it crisp (10-12 words). Too much of message sounds like preaching.
CTA : What do you want them to do after reading? Comment? Click on a link? DM ?
Avoiding such communication mistakes on LinkedIn will surely help anyone stand out from the crowd. I hope you found this article meaningful.
If you wish you read more of my ideas on LinkedIn, check my article on 8 Steps to an impactful LinkedIn profile.