The 3 most powerful dots in social media

So understated, and yet so powerful. These 3 dots play such an incredible role in the way you build your network, develop your brand and customize your content, yet most people I speak with never even clicked on them. Have you? That ends now – read below to understand and use these 3 dots to improve your LinkedIn experience.

Every page on LinkedIn has these three simple dots to the right of a profile picture or in the top right corner of a post. Lets take a moment to review how these dots differ and what options they deliver when you click them.

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On Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile should be a “living” document that you continuously update throughout your professional career. Your summary, job descriptions, headline and more all can change based on your career progression, personal brand and career goals. Yet how many times have you made changes and later wished you wouldn’t changed certain items?

This doesn’t have to be an issue! Before you make changes, just go to your profile and click those 3 dots next to your picture. They will give you the opportunity to “Save to PDF” an entire copy of your profile. I saved mine – just in case.

On Your Connection’s Profile

The 3 dots appear on the profile of someone you are connected with and provide several powerful choices: Remove Connection, Report/Block, Unfollow, Request a Recommendation and Recommend. Lets discuss the functionality of each.

Remove Connection does exactly that, it breaks the connection between you and this individual. You will no longer see their orginal posts on your feed (unless another connection likes, comments or shares it) and you will not be able to direct message each other. I very rarely Remove Connections.

Report/Block is another powerful took that gives you the power to report/block someone that is breaking rules in their usage of the platform. It alerts LinkedIn that something wrong is occuring and gives you the opportunity to block that individual from contacting you. I used this for the first time last week when I received an InMail from very prominent individual that was rife with spelling errors and the profile was not complete. I realized it was a phishing attact and reported/blocked the profile.

Unfollow is a great tool for those people that are always complaining their feed is too much “like Facebook.” When you “unfollow” someone, the connection remains but you no longer get their posts or articles on your feed (unless another connection likes, shares or comments on it). Unlike Remove Connection, however, Unfollow allows you to stay connected and direct message each other. In fact, your connection should never know that you Unfollowed them.

Request Recommendation allows you to ask a connection to officially provide a recommendation for your profile. Recommendations are great ways to add validity to your profile, as someone else is attesting to your knowledge, skills or abilities. Go ahead and give it a try! Quick tip: Message the person separately with a few words to help get them started on your recommendation. It will significantly increase the probability of you receiving a recommendation that aligns with your professional brand. Don’t worry, you get a chance to review every recommendation before they are added to your profile.

Recommend is the way you recommend your connection for certain knowledge, skills or abilities. It is important that you give as well as receive, but be aware that we can see all of your recommendations (both given and received). Use this tool wisely while at the same time making sure that you recognize your connections for their accomplishments.

On The Profile Of Someone You Are Not Connected With (Desktop Platform)

Have you ever gone to the profile of someone and the only option is “InMail” or “Follow?” Well, those same 3 dots provide an alternate set of choices. They allow you to InMail or send a Connection Request to someone with whom you have no other connection. The Connect selection gives you the opportunity just send the standard connection request or write a short message (300 characters or less) The InMail gives you much more room (up to 2,000 characters) to write. Use them wisely and be personable or creative if you want them to accept! Note: InMails are only available with the Premium subscription.

On The Profile Of Someone You Are Not Connected With (Mobile Platform)

The mobile platform differs from the desktop version in that the default connection request is always the automatic LinkedIn version. If you want to send a message along with the connection request, you have to click the 3 dots and “Personalize Invite.” If you click Connect on the person’s profile or hit connect on the 3 dot screen, the standard message will go out. Note: If you do this by accident, don’t freak out. Just send a follow-up InMail with a personal message on how you met or mutual interests. Not only will this improve your chances of a successful connection, you’ll have a message in your Inbox with valuable details/reminders of how you met.

On An Article/Post In Your Feed

I’ve heard it a thousand times: “LinkedIn has become too much like Facebook. I don’t like all the political comments or unprofessional pictures.” Well, those 3 powerful dots allow you to shape what appears on your feed by Hide this Post, Unfollow, Report this Post, or Improve my Feed. Use the 3 dots appropriately (like me) and you will not have this issue. Note: I actually had trouble finding an article or post I didn’t want on my feed. These yellow fluff balls in France were the closest, but I did not remove them from my feed. No yellow fluff balls were harmed in the writing of this article.

Hide This Post does exactly that, it removes the post from your feed. I’m not 100% sure that it works this way, but it seems to me that my feed becomes more customized with usage of this tool. I tend to think the LinkedIn algorithms are reviewing my “clicks” and selecting content appropriately. You definitely should be using this tool.

Unfollow, as discussed before, allows you to stay connected but stop seeing the posts of the person responsible for this item being on your feed. Just keep in mind that this is not always the original author. To reduce the chance of a mistakenly unfollowing a connection, the Unfollow button has the first name of the person this action will apply to.

Report this Post is for exactly that, reporting inappropriate content.

Improve My Feed is another great, yet underutilized tool. Click this option you will get a whole list of recommended sources to follow and get great information on your feed.

On Your Notifications

I am active on LinkedIn and my posts get a decent number of “clicks” and likes. I’ve have a few, however, that have gone over a thousand likes or comments. Take this post, for example.

In just 5 days my post received 316,000 views, 1,773 likes and 86 comments. This means my phone was getting blown up with updates from LinkedIn almost every minute (which was neat for the first few hours or so). I wish I’d known about the 3 dots back then, but here is what they offer:


On your notification page, the 3 dots allow you to Mute, Unfollow or Turn Off certain notifications.

Mute is the tool I should have used for the post with over 316k views, as it would have stopped notifying me every time someone liked or commented on it. I would just have had to check the post occasionally in order to reply to people’s comments.

Unfollow allows you to stop seeing that individual’s updates. This is just another customization option for your feed, but works the same as Unfollow on other pages.

Turn Off allows you to stop receiving notifications like this. It is another effective customization feature for your content.

Never before in social media have 3 simple dots been so powerful, yet so underutilized. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of how they enable you to customize your experience, build your network and develop your personal brand. Let me know if I missed an application or how ▪▪▪ work for you.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn. 

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