Communication is a key component to your success on LinkedIn.
This is true regardless of who you are and why you are using LinkedIn.
And while it is crucial to understanding what kind of LinkedIn messages you should or should not send, so is your ability to navigate and use the many useful and new features available within the LinkedIn message center.
A word of caution
While the LinkedIn message center may look and function similar to the messaging areas of other social media platforms like Facebook, how you use messages within LinkedIn will be very different.
Remember that LinkedIn is a business platform full of your existing or potential clients, competitors, business partners, vendors or employers. It is vital that any conversations or communication on LinkedIn is professional in nature and well written, regardless of length.
Avoid using slang, abbreviations and emojis when messaging unless you know the person well or that is the form of communication that specific person uses and expects.
I think it goes without saying that most decision makers and professionals will not respond to sloppy, pointless messages.
With this in mind, I am going to walk you through the LinkedIn message center step-by-step, so you can approach all of your messaging on the platform with purpose and professionalism.
Use the LinkedIn message center like a pro
LinkedIn message center: what you need to know
You can begin a conversation with your first-degree connections by clicking Message in the person’s profile or by going to the LinkedIn message center and clicking the Compose a new message icon (paper and pencil icon on the top left of the page) and typing in their name.
Next select the specific person you wish to message and begin typing your message.
If you have a previous message or thread already started with one of your connections, you can simply go to the message center and search for their name in the search message box located below the Compose a new message icon. This search feature will also allow you to search for relevant keywords within messages or filter the messages by:
- All Messages
- My Connections
Once you have a conversation going with a connection, you have a number of options available to you, to manage the conversation (or message thread).
Click the three dots in the top right corner of the message box to gain access to features including the ability to:
- Create a group chat
- Archive the thread (moves the thread to the Archive filter)
- Delete the entire LinkedIn message thread
- Mark that message thread as unread
- Mute the thread (so you don’t get notifications of new messages)
- Report the thread to LinkedIn if it is inappropriate
These same features are available when using the LinkedIn message center on your mobile device.
How to edit or delete a LinkedIn message
There is nothing worse than hitting the send button and realizing you have a typo or forgot to include something.
Thankfully you can go in and quickly edit that mistake!
You can also delete a specific message within a LinkedIn message thread that is irrelevant or messages that include the wrong attachment.
It is important to remember that you can only edit or delete a LinkedIn message within 60 minutes of sending the message and an Edited or Deleted badge is displayed to all participants in the conversation.
Also note that when you delete a message on LinkedIn, it is deleted for all participants in the conversation and you can’t retrieve a deleted message.
To edit or delete a message on your desktop, hover over the specific message until you see a pop-up with “…”. Then simply select Edit or Delete.
On your mobile device press-and-hold or double tap on the message you want to edit or delete to open up the menu and then select the appropriate option.
Initiate a group chat on LinkedIn
There will be times when you want to have a group conversation with multiple people.
In this case you can begin by typing in the names of each person you wish to add and then selecting the appropriate connections. Once you have added everyone, you can begin typing your message.
Sometimes, when you are in the middle of a conversation with one person, you want to include or introduce one or more people into the conversation.
LinkedIn has made it easy to do this.
You can now simply invite one or more people to join an existing conversation while ensuring you have control to keep your original conversation history private.
On your desktop, from the existing conversation, go to the top right-hand corner and click “…”. Select “Create group chat”.
Start by typing in the names of your first-degree connections you wish to add. Select the correct person when they pop up, click Add. Once you have added everyone to the group, give your group a name and click next.
This will create a new conversation and your original conversation history will remain private.
Click on the “…” in the conversation to add or remove new people. You can also archive, delete or leave a conversation.
As well as adding new group members manually, you can also turn on the group conversation share link, located at the top of the Add / Remove people box. After you turn on the link you can share it with those you want to join the conversation.
Keep in mind that:
- You can have up to 50 members in a group chat.
- Everyone in the chat is an admin and anyone in the chat can add/remove or edit the conversation name.
- Anyone who joins the chat will be able to see previous messages.
Similarly, you can create a group chat on mobile by tapping the “…” in the top right corner of the app and selecting “Create group chat”.
Start a video meeting on LinkedIn
Video meetings have become an important part of business.
Thankfully you can move straight from a message into a video chat, right within the LinkedIn message center with the “Start a Meeting” feature. Using this feature, you can start a face to face online chat using Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans by Verizon, or Zoom directly in your LinkedIn messages.
The feature is easy to use. Just click on the video icon next to where you’d type a message.
To use this feature, simply start a new conversation or enter an existing one with a fellow LinkedIn member and click on the video icon located below “Write a message…”.
If you are on a mobile device, it is located beside the “Write a message…” box.
Next you will see a pop-up box where you can choose from the Teams, Zoom or BlueJeans platforms. Sign in when prompted.
You can then grab and share the unique link to start the instant video meeting or you can schedule the meeting for later.
Send a voice message on LinkedIn
The LinkedIn mobile app provides a fantastic way to send personalized messages to your 1st degree connections through the Voice Message feature.
With this feature, you can record and send voice messages 20-60 seconds long.
Voice messages allow you to communicate in your own voice with your connections, which helps them to know, like and trust you.
Here are some great reasons for sending a voice message:
- Easily message on the go: People speak about four times faster than they type, making voice messaging a more efficient way of explaining lengthier ideas, eliminating the need to type and edit your message.
- Get to it when you can: Leaving a voice message instead of calling your connection can often be better for them as they can listen and respond to your message when they have the time.
- Better express yourself: Speaking in your own voice allows you to communicate more effectively. It also prevents miscommunication, which often occurs in written communications.
To send a voice message on the LinkedIn app:
- Go to the messaging area in the mobile app, and select the person you want to send a message to.
- Tap the microphone icon located in the bottom right corner to open the voice recorder.
- Hold down the blue Record button, and record your message. LinkedIn will notify you if your message is too long or too short. Slide the blue icon away from the center to delete the message.
- If you haven’t turned off the Send voice message notification, you can tap Sendto send your message or Cancel to delete it and rerecord your message.
Set or edit your away message on LinkedIn (Premium Membership only)
While there is an expectation that you will respond to your LinkedIn messages in a timely manner, there will be times when you can’t.
If you are a Premium member on LinkedIn, you can set up an Away message that will let your connections know to expect a delayed response to their messages.
To set up your away message, click the three dots located beside the Create a new message icon in the top left corner of the LinkedIn message center. Select Set away message.
This will open up a popup box.
Simply select your start and end date. Note that these messages will be sent until the end of the day that you select as your End date. You can also only set an Away message for a maximum of three months.
Add your Away message to the text box. Keep it brief and to the point as you have a maximum of 300 characters (not words).
When you are ready, set the Away message to On and click Save at the bottom of the box.
You can easily edit this message, the dates or turn the message on or off by clicking the three dots in the top of the message center and clicking Edit away message.
Note that your Away message will only be visible to your connections on direct messages and not on group chats.
It is also easy to set up and edit your away message on your mobile device by clicking on the three dots in the top right corner of the LinkedIn message center and selecting to set or edit your away message.
Review message requests from LinkedIn group members
One of the benefits of belonging to one or more LinkedIn Groups is that you can send a message request to any of the members, even if they are outside of your network.
When a member of one of the groups that you belong to sends you a message request from Groups, it will land in a special location in your inbox. Here you can decide to accept or deny their request to communicate. If you accept, you can have a conversation through the LinkedIn message center, even though you are not first-degree connections.
Note that if you decline a message request, the sender won’t be notified. Additionally, as a security precaution, any attachments are disabled in the message requests when they are sent but will be unlocked if/when the message is accepted.
To accept or decline a message request, click on the three dots beside the Compose a new message icon in the top left corner of the LinkedIn message center. Click the Message request inbox.
This will open a panel on the left with any LinkedIn Group message requests you have (if any).
To respond to a message request, simply click on the request and then click Accept to continue the conversation. This will move the conversation to your main inbox area.
If you have previously declined a message request but decide you want to accept it, click on the three dots and select Declined message requests. Then simply go to the conversation you want and click Accept.
To navigate back to your main inbox, click the link Back to main inbox, in Message requests.
There is a similar process to manage your message requests on the mobile app.
Manage bulk messages on LinkedIn
Sometimes, you need to clean up your inbox. LinkedIn has made this easier with the ability to manage bulk messages. It allows you to select multiple messages at a time to archive, delete or mark them read/unread all at once.
Click the “…” in the top left corner of the message area, beside the new message icon. Select Manage conversations.
Now you can select the messages you want to bulk manage and then choose to Mark read/unread, Delete, or Archive.
On a mobile device, at the top right-hand corner of the app, tap “…” to open the menu.
Select “Manage conversations” and check the box next to each message you want to manage and chose what action you want to take.
React with emojis on LinkedIn
As I mentioned earlier, I suggest using emojis with caution on this business platform.
But in situations where reacting with an emoji might make sense or add to the conversation, LinkedIn has expanded your ability to react in messages with all the standard emojis.
To react to a message with an emoji on your desktop, simply hover over the message and choose from one of the commonly used emojis shown or click the white and grey smiley face to open up the full menu of emojis available.
On your mobile device press and hold or double tap on any message to open up the menu of options.
You can also change the skin color of your emojis now on your desktop. Simply click the emoji icon under your text box. Then click the selected default emoji located to the right of the emoji Search bar. This allows you to pick your preferred skin tone.
Note that while your emoji skin tone preference is automatically saved, it isn’t saved across different browsers and devices and will be reset if you clear your cache.
Social media is meant to be social - LinkedIn is no different
Utilize the functions available in LinkedIn message center to communicate with your connections. Collecting connections and never having conversations is not going to help you professionally.
Use common sense and always ask yourself – “is this something I would say in person?” if it isn’t, it’s best not to put it into a LinkedIn message.
The best way to communicate on LinkedIn or any other platform is to show genuine interest in your connections, add value and have a desire to build real relationships.
And if you would like to learn more about how to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience register for my free LinkedIn Leads video series. In it, I cover how to create a profile that stands out, convert connections into clients, and build your authority through content. Get access to the video series here!