LinkedIn status updates are one of the best ways to stay in front of your target audience on a consistent basis. When used correctly, these little messages pack a big punch.
So why aren't people using them? What's the netiquette here? What should you share and how often?
Good Ways to Use LinkedIn Status Updates
1. Share links to interesting articles, websites or video. Don't worry about whether all of your connections will find the information equally valuable. Use words that grab the readers and encourage them to click the link.
2. Attach a document to your status update. Your audience might appreciate receiving checklists, white papers or case studies. Job seekers, this is a great place for your resume.
3. Conduct an informal poll of your network. Choose a topic of interest to you, such as "What interest rates are you seeing for lines of credit in the current environment?"
4. Mention a person or situation that might be helpful to some of your connections. For instance, "I just met with @John Jones from @ABC Insurance Company and found out they are saving companies lots of $$ on workmen's compensation insurance."
The "@" before an individual or company name allows the reader to click through to that person's LinkedIn profile or company page.
5. Talk about an event you are attending or have attended. This might encourage involvement and/or questions about what you learned there.
6. If you're a job seeker, mention job fairs you are attending, people you are interviewing with, networking events you are going to, etc. That's more subtle than saying, "Hey, I'm still looking for a job."
Remember--having your name show up on a consistent basis on your entire network's home page is extremely important, whether you are in job-seeking mode or not.
7. Use the Like, Comment or Share features
when you see a helpful update from one of your connections.
This shares that update with your entire network. It's a great way to give the writer exposure to your network that he/she wouldn't normally have.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
1. Mentioning personal things--like what you had for breakfast and the fact your dog is sick today--is just wrong. This suggests to your network that you don't really respect their time.
2. Don't be a spammer. The netiquette on LinkedIn is no more than a couple updates per day, whereas on Twitter you are almost expected to tweet twenty times per day. (I apologize to my Twitter followers for not getting out twenty per day!)
3. Avoid talking about topics that might be sensitive to some of your audience. I am too embarrassed to even think about, let alone share, some of the items I see posted as status updates. If your mother wouldn't want you talking about it, don't put it in your LinkedIn Status Box.
4. Don't continually talk about specific products and services. This takes people back to the days of big newspaper ads and screaming radio messages. This is not the purpose of social media, especially LinkedIn.
5. Don't bother posting when no one's looking. The update you posted at 11:30 p.m. on Friday probably won't get much traction. If you do business locally, you'll get the most eyes seeing your posts between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Of course, this varies if you have a global audience.
6. Avoid "liking," "sharing" or commenting on a lot of posts in a short period of time. These may show up right in a row in your network's feed and leave them with a real "spam headache."
7. Don't waste your time reading updates from people who violate all of the above. Free yourself from seeing their updates on your home page by clicking "Hide" on the top right side of their status update.
When used appropriately, status updates are a great marketing tool. For more LinkedIn marketing tips, download my article How does your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Measure Up by clicking here.