Do’s & Don’ts of Using LinkedIn for Business


I’m a big LinkedIn advocate and the first person to tell you to build a valuable network on LinkedIn. But as big as your network might be, your most valuable contacts are those who have voluntarily signed up to your email list! Just like on any social network, you don’t “own” your contacts. Just because you are connected on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean that a person has agreed to receive your newsletters and other emails.

Respect the Unwritten “Levels of Trust”

In fact, over time I have noticed that different levels of trust exist in the online world, and it’s essential to respect them. When you are in contact via LinkedIn, even though you have access to the person’s email address (on their profile), it’s common etiquette to first use the internal LinkedIn messaging system to exchange a few messages before suggesting to switch over to email. In fact, it is a good idea to ask for permission before you write directly to their email.

In terms of building your mailing list with LinkedIn, there are also some etiquette tips to follow:


DO: Use the website links to feature your free e-book

The first place on your profile to link to your free giveaway is the website link section. People assume that they have to link to their home page, but you can be much more creative than that. So if you have a separate Squeeze Page for your Freebie, grab that specific link and use it in this section. You need to go into “Edit Profile” mode, click on the pencil next to “Websites” and there choose “Other” in the drop-down menu. You can then paste the specific link into the column to the right and use the middle column to give your link a title.

DO: Send a message to ask targeted contacts if they’d like to be added

If you have just started with email marketing and would like to send out a message to your contacts, asking them if they would like to receive your newsletter, I recommend you formulate it in a way that explains what’s in it for them. Focus on the free giveaway, don’t just ask “Would you like to be added to my newsletter?” Also, don’t send this message more than once!

DO: Use the “Publications” section to feature your e-book

Another place to feature your e-book and therefore grow your mailing list is the “Publications” section. You can add a direct link to your Opt-In page and add a short description about the e-book.

DO: Use the “Rich Media” section to link to your e-book

You can also mention your e-book in the “Rich Media” section. Add a nice visual (for example, the cover image of your e-book as well as the link to grab the download) and you will not only add a colorful touch to your profile but also build your email list!

DO: Use LinkedIn Ads to get more subscribers

In her blog post on this topic, Kristi Hines demonstrates how companies can also use LinkedIn Ads to get more subscribers. Read her post here. Now, in the video below you will see that I think it’s a rather expensive way to add subscribers, but I’m talking from a Small Business perspective. If the company has a budget, then I definitely think this is a great option to add new subscribers and add them to your sales funnel.


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DON’T: Add all your LinkedIn contacts to your mailing list

As mentioned in the video above, one thing you should only do if you’re looking for ways to hurt your reputation, is to export your LinkedIn contacts and add them all to your email list. Again, just because you are connected it doesn’t mean that your contacts have agreed to receive your newsletter.

DON’T: Spam people

Another big no-no is to spam people with sales messages. No one likes to receive them, so don’t send them to people who trusted you and let you enter their network. You will be kicked out quickly and as one of the slides in the video above shows, people also have the option to report your message as Spam and you risk being thrown into the LinkedIn prison.

Now it’s your turn. Have you been using these tips to build your email list? Maybe you have other ideas that I didn’t mention in this post. Please share them with us in the comments below.

Sarah Santacroce helps small business owners and solopreneurs find their place in today’s online world. Sarah lives & works in beautiful Switzerland but works with people from all over the world. Click here to subscribe to her mailing list & receive her '21 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic' E-book