How to reach out to Swedes on Linkedin

- Annica Thorberg fr, aug 14, 2015

I have been a member of Linkedin since 2005 and at that time we were not many Swedes here. We passed the first million around 2011. From 2012 more and more business people and employees started to use LinkedIn to build their profiles and brands. And today almost 2 million Swedes are on LinkedIn. Pretty many per capita as we are only 9,5 million residents in Sweden.


When LinkedIn opened their Scandinavian office and choose Stockholm the interest for using LinkedIn really took off. Swedish became at the same time the 8th language in Linkedin (so we can use it in Swedish instead of English). Which even if most of us are fluent in English seemed to be an barrier before we could use it in Swedish.

"For me who is a big Linkedin-evangelista and for my company Marketinghouse – one of Swedens first inbound marketing agencies it was fantastic".

Many Swedes are known for beeing early adopters when it comes to technical matters, design, fashion, food and music. We have one of the worlds highest Internet penetrations and also one of the fastest Internet speed. (5th place according to Internet World Stats Thanks to Ericsson we were first to use 4G etc. And there are over 45 million google searches per day in Sweden.

Sweden is a country built on innovations and full of talented engineers who have been part of building companies like Ericsson, SKF, ABB, Volvo and Saab to be global players. And thanks to our Internetaccess so many young talented entrepreneurs have now started companies who have reached global awareness in music, apps, gamification and telecom. (Skype, Spotify, Minecraft and King with Candy Crush) to mention some.

Most young new entrepreneurs think of beeing on the global market from day 1 which is a big change in the last 10-15 years and a lot of successful entrepreneurs have studie door worked abroad to learn new ways of doing international business. So when building their own brand and their company brand digital and social media presence comes natural. So of course that includes LinkedIn.

So when you want to build your own or your companies network on LinkedIn and want to approach Swedes here are som tips on what we like and do not like when people are on LinkedIn or want to connect.

  1. Swedish people dont like when people brag or have odd profile headlines

If they see a persons profile and there are just too many adjectives and strange odd, ”screeming” headlines we don´t take that person really serious. You never see a Swede call themself ”Divas, Envangelists, Experts or Gurus in LinkedIn.

  • Don´t ask for recommendations or endorsements

Swedish people feel uncomfortable if you ask them to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn or an endorsement - especially after you met the person for the first time. We prefer giving recommendations when we have gain trust in a person and because we think she/he is worth it. And want to do it on our own initative not because someone asks for it. Swedes even get suspicious if someone has like 15 recommendations. Start giving an honest sincere recommendation yourself to that Swedish person you so want to get a recommendation from. That will gain trust and she of he might do the same.

  1. Swedish people dont like to stand out on LinkedIn

There is an invisible law in Sweden called the Jante-law that most Swedish people learn from day one in their lives. And it that you should not ”think you are better than someone else”. So we prefer to look average and not stand out. And just add our professional title and nothing else in our headline. No diploma titles, selling keywords etc. Because we are so afraid of not to be taken as a serious person in our professional life. And that people should talk about our backs if we do thinks differently here.

  • Swedes dont like invitations from people they dont know

I have been teaching so many Swedes in how to use LinkedIn over the years and the most common comments are: ”I dont like when people I don´t know want to connect to me” or ”Why are people I dont know connecting to me?”

My recommendation here is to ALWAYS connect with a personal message, to gain trust directly and explain why you want to connect.

  • Swedes will treat you like cold fish if you try to sell them stuff via the Inbox

If you try to sell stuff or offer different kind of services via InMails to peoples Inboxes on LinkedIn – you are so lost. We really dont like to get that kind of offers from people we are not connected with or even heard of. Especially from abroad. We just get enoyed when it happen

  • Dont flirt with Swedish business women on LinkedIn

We the Swedish business women are on LinkedIn in our profession. Here we want to build our personal brand, our company´s brand and to be visible for new job offers.

And we just hate when men ask for a connection and directly start with giving us a compliment for their looks, smile etc. Believe me it happens now and then. And if you do – you are so smoked!


So now to the good part. We Swedes love to build a professional international network – like many others. But we are a little shy and a little conservative in the start. It takesome times to gain trust – so don´t be to openminded and pushy in the beginning and show a serious approach. Thats it!

With this blogpost I just wanted to give som recommendations for you who in your profession deals with Swedes, with Swedish companies or want to start networking with Swedish business people. Just learn from the six tips and next time you want to connect to a Swede – learn our ”Swedish Netiquette” and you will get a lot of new Swedish connections.

And if you dare, connect with me here on Linkedin - if you want to learn more about LinkedIn or how to connect with Swedes on LinkedIn.

About the author

Annica Thorberg is the CEO of Marketinghouse, founded 2009. The company is one the first inbound marketing agenices in Sweden and a Certified Hubspot Gold Partner since 2012. Annica Thorberg is a well know speaker, author and consultant in how to use Linkedin for branding, marketing and leadsgeneration.


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