Messaging someone on LinkedIn late at night can sometimes be seen as unprofessional. However, whether it is actually inappropriate or not depends on several factors.
Consider your relationship
If you have an existing relationship with the person and normally communicate with them outside of traditional business hours, messaging late at night may be fine. For example, if you often exchange messages with a coworker or client in the evenings, reaching out at night would likely not be an issue.
However, if you do not have a pre-established pattern of communicating at night, messaging very late could come across as strange or intrusive. Cold messaging a prospect or someone you barely know at 2 AM would likely be considered inappropriate.
Think about their time zone
Time zones are an important consideration. What is late at night for you may be a normal business hour for someone in a different part of the world. So messaging someone in a drastically different timezone late at night your time may not actually be a problem.
However, if you know the recipient is in the same or a similar timezone, you should likely avoid sending messages very late when they are probably home from work.
Consider the message content
The content and purpose of your message also factors into the appropriateness of nighttime messaging. If it is a quick hello or a casual check-in, that may be fine late at night between connections who regularly communicate. But more formal or urgent business requests are likely better sent during normal business hours.
You should avoid sending complicated, long emails or serious work requests late at night when most businesspeople are not online. Save more in-depth conversations for normal business hours when you both can respond in a timely manner.
Use LinkedIn features appropriately
LinkedIn has features like InMail that allow asynchronous communication. Using InMail at night to send an initial outreach message may be ok, since the recipient can read and respond on their own time. However, avoid using the instant messaging feature late at night.
The key is to use the right medium for the time of day. Asynchronous options like InMail or regular messages may work well late at night. But synchronous communication like instant messages are likely better reserved for normal business hours when you know the recipient is available.
Consider your industry and company norms
Acceptable communication hours can vary across industries, companies, and geographies. Within industries known for late nights like tech startups or investment banking, late messages may be par for the course. But in companies or fields with earlier bedtimes, nighttime outreach may be frowned upon.
If you work at a multinational company, check whether teams in other locations have different expectations. When in doubt, align your messaging hours with the recipient’s local working hours.
Be judicious late at night
In general, use good judgment when messaging at night. Ask yourself if the message can wait until morning or if you’d be just as happy being woken up late at night with a non-urgent request. Keep the message focused and to the point to be considerate of their personal time.
Also, do not expect an immediate response to late messages. Let them reply on their own schedule the next day.
When is it ok to message someone on LinkedIn late at night?
Here are some instances when a late-night LinkedIn message may be fine:
- Following up on a conversation from earlier in the day
- Sharing an article or piece of information that would be timely
- Congratulating them on something you just found out about
- Quickly coordinating schedules for an upcoming meeting
- Saying a quick hello to maintain an existing relationship
When should you avoid messaging someone late?
Here are some examples of when it may be better to avoid a late night message:
- Cold outreach to a new prospect
- Long, complicated messages
- Serious business requests or proposals
- Anything that requires urgent action
- If you know they are unavailable or on vacation
Tips for messaging professionally at night
If you do need to send a late message, here are some tips to maintain professionalism:
- Be concise and focused
- Clearly communicate if a response is not needed until the next day
- Avoid formal titles like “Dear Mr. Smith” which can feel oddly formal at night
- Use proper grammar, punctuation, capitalization as you would during the day
- Avoid messaging excessively late – after 10 or 11pm unless urgent
The bottom line
Context matters when evaluating the appropriateness of late night LinkedIn messaging. An occasional late message between connections who regularly chat in the evenings may be perfectly acceptable. But cold outreach at 2 AM is likely unwelcome.
Use good judgment based on your relationship, industry norms, message content, and the recipient’s availability. With care and consideration, occasional evening messaging can be just fine.