Logging in to see multiple LinkedIn @mention notifications might flood your business brain cells with eager anticipation.
A possible new lead?
An inspiring and useful post to read?
An invite to connect with a long-lost colleague?
But what if it’s a long list of @mentions of your name within the comments of mind-bendingly dull content? Or maybe within a post about an irrelevant event taking place tomorrow 300 miles away?
You have become an unwitting victim of LinkedIn @mention abuse. My commiserations.
What is the @mention feature?
Using the LinkedIn @mention feature allows you to bring a connection or company into a conversation. It’s a useful tool to boost engagement, encourage interaction and share content.
Simply type @ followed by the person’s name or company name within an update, post or comment and a list of your matching connections will appear below. Click on those names relevant to your content and voila, the job was done.
But, while supercharging our social media networks should, of course, be on our marketing to-do list, we all need to play the game politely.
Etiquette is key
And this is where I get a little controversial. You’re welcome to disagree with me here, in fact, I’d love you too. Start a conversation below and let me know what you think!
LinkedIn users are increasingly adding @mention in places that bother me:
- The irrelevant @mention in an event post
Your name is included within a post about an event, product or service that you’ve previously shown no interest in. The @mention is there purely to draw your attention to promotional content. I see this as blatant spam and I’m not a spam fan.
- The super-long list of @mention
We’ve all seen it, a post containing a long list of names which is not only boring for the reader but a little disrespectful to those mentioned. Strategically selecting a group of people who you know have a big following, in the hope that they will like or comment on a post, is a misuse of the feature. This isn’t spam but it’s borderline unacceptable.
The lonely @mention within comments
Another frequent sight on LinkedIn is a @mention used in isolation in a comment – no note, no elaboration, nothing.
The point of comments is to read the piece and engage. To simply @mention isn’t joining in, it’s an aside.
Yes, you want that person to read the post but there is no guarantee that they’ll see or act upon a notification. There are better ways to share it and contact them personally:
share the post via a direct message to their inbox (for first tier connections)
- share the post to your feed and @mention them (and only them!)
- copy the link and email it to them
Keep the reader in mind, they want to see interesting content and contributions from you.
How to LinkedIn @mention like a master
All social media relationships thrive on respect.
Like other tools and features, LinkedIn@mention should be used in ways to foster these good relationships with people you want to impress:
Include @mentions in a post if you think their views will add value to the conversation. Ask them directly to contribute.
If your post contains content (blog, interview, article) which includes a connection or company, @mention them
If you include @mentions within a post, limit them to as few people as possible. Any more than a couple and it becomes spammy.
Within comments, a @mention can bring somebody into a conversation they may not otherwise see. Invite them to offer their opinion. This is useful and polite cross-promotion, even if they don’t comment.
Avoid @mentioning someone on a post if they’ve previously not shown an interest in the subject matter.
Avoid @mentioning people on blatantly promotional posts. They probably won’t thank you for it.
So now you know how to treat the LinkedIn @mention feature with respect, you can help me spread the word!
Let’s not forget, the danger with any misuse of a feature is that it may disappear altogether. I’ve seen this pattern before:
People think they’re being clever by using a feature in a spammy way.
LinkedIn gets hot under the collar about it
They remove or restrict the feature.
Then those of us who use it for the right reasons, can’t.
So, my advice is to think about how you use the @mention feature. Do your methods add value? Do they account for etiquette? Do they improve the LinkedIn experience for you and your connections?
What do you think? Get involved and comment, I’d love to hear your views.