When Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) alum and entrepreneur Sandra Oh Lin, CEO and founder of KiwiCo, recently hosted a group of our students to visit her Silicon Valley-based company (and gave the group very hip hats), I didn’t send her a handwritten thank-you note after returning to Cleveland. Instead, I thanked her by creating a LinkedIn post, which included a photo of Sandra with the group and included tags with hyperlinks to the LinkedIn profiles of Sandra and her company, the university and the students and faculty who participated in the visit. My students also created LinkedIn posts about their visit, sharing their gratitude and the insights that they gained from the discussion.
LinkedIn has undeniably evolved into an indispensable communication platform for the business community. Entrepreneurs and business owners use the website to announce significant company achievements, new hires and, crucially, to attract talent.
On the flip side, jobseekers — including students — leverage LinkedIn as a platform to connect with potential employers and mentors. An article in The Wall Street Journal from February 2022 went so far as to declare, “Let’s Face It, LinkedIn Might Be the Best Social Network Right Now.”
So, what better place to convey gratitude to a business connection than on LinkedIn? When done tastefully, a well-crafted post not only conveys appreciation to the individual you wish to thank, but also signals to others in your network that you are grateful for the time and support extended to you. It can even ignite a touch of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) when your LinkedIn connections observe your visit to an exciting Silicon Valley startup.
For the last three years, we have been live streaming our CWRU Entrepreneurship Speaker Series events on LinkedIn. Initially, we began streaming on Facebook, but we soon realized LinkedIn was the most effective platform for reaching our CWRU alumni audience.
Here are some practical tips to consider when crafting an effective thank-you post on LinkedIn.
■ Request connection. Ensure you’re connected with the person you want to thank on LinkedIn before creating your post. This will allow you to tag them in your message.
■ Be specific. Instead of offering a generic expression of gratitude, share something specific you took away from the experience. Personalize your message to make it more meaningful.
■ Create visual appeal. Including a photograph in your post is a delightful touch when it’s appropriate. A picture can make your message more engaging and memorable.
Should public-facing social media posts replace all forms of thank-you notes? Absolutely not. It’s important to exercise discretion and to consider the context. Posting an appreciation of thanks on social media may not be the best idea, for example, when you’re in the midst of a job-interview process before receiving a formal job offer.
However, there are a growing number of situations in which a well-crafted social media post, particularly on a business-oriented platform such as LinkedIn, can be highly appropriate and effective. ●
Michael Goldberg is associate professor, Department of Design and Innovation, Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management and executive director, Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship, Case Western Reserve University