Remember when everyone was really excited about email?

It was a heady new way to communicate directly with people, cutting out the noise of the wider world and going direct to the source.

The same thing is happening on LinkedIn right now. LinkedIn as a social network is unique; it maintains a focus on business, and professional discussion which gives it a value other social networks very much lack.

That makes it a great place to talk to other professionals, because it’s a safe space (unless you’re offended by motivational quotes and pictures of Steve Jobs).

So connecting with people and messaging them is clearly becoming a go to strategy for large numbers of marketers, sales, biz dev and comms people the world over, because done right, it works very well.

However.

Some bad habits from those poor half burned out channels like email are slipping through.

You would hope that people wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past, so in case anyone missed them we’ve put together a few handy pointers to LinkedIn messaging:

Listen First

LinkedIn has a number of ways to build rich, live prospect lists and allow you to – shocker – get to know about someone *before* you contact them. Incredibly, this approach actually works, so if you haven’t tried it already go create some search alerts in your account or get a trial of Sales Navigator to enhance your listening skills.

Personalise

Don’t send blanket messages to every single person you can find – that approach almost ruined email for everyone and it doesn’t work in other channels either. Find common ground, connect, and make an effort to at least look like you’re interested!

Automate (the right things)

If you’re doing it all manually, you’re wasting your time. Take a leaf out of the email pro’s handbook and automate to save yourself a whole lot of time. The rise of LinkedIn automation tools is making life much easier, but make sure you pick the right one!

Less is More

Don’t try and do everything at the same time – you can’t have 50 conversations at the same time (no matter how hard you try). Work out your process, and what signals to look for to focus in on the right activities and avoid chasing your tail.

Hopefully this was a brief but useful read – good luck with your professional networking!