Each time I speak on the subject of LinkedIn, just about everyone in the room raises their hand saying they receive LinkedIn invitations from people they don’t know. Baffled as to why they’re receiving this invitation from a stranger, their tendency is to ignore it and move on.
While one reason they react this way is because they don’t know the other person, another reason is that the invitation is totally impersonal. They open it and see this: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
And there’s the biggest mistake professionals make when reaching out to connect with others on LinkedIn. . .
LinkedIn is a platform that provides you with the opportunity to build and nurture relationships. Starting off with a generic invitation doesn’t reveal your interest to another and it doesn’t start a conversation.
People ask, “Why would I want to connect with this person if I don’t know him/her?”
Well, there might actually be a good reason to connect, but you’ll never know if you simply ignore the message.
First, I suggest you visit that person’s profile. What does he/she do? Are they in a related field? Could they be a potential referral or resource? Do you have connections in common that you recognize?
Then, if he/she seems interesting. Reply, but don’t accept their invite. Consider asking them how they connected with you. Were they referred to you or were they simply searching LinkedIn?
By doing this, you’re starting a conversation and that’s the first step to building a relationship. Ideally, that’s the first step that person should have taken before hitting the “connect” button and sending an invitation off to you.
When you don’t know someone (or don’t know them well), but you’re interested in connecting with him/her on LinkedIn, don’t make the mistake of sending LinkedIn’s generic invitation. Take the extra moment to personalize the invite, explain why you’re reaching out and start a conversation. Maybe you met briefly at an event or have colleagues in common, etc. Whatever you do, ENGAGE!
Remember, when you show a genuine interest in others, they’ll find you interesting (Chapter 4 Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget).
(NOTE: As of this writing, connecting on LinkedIn using your smartphone does not give you the opportunity to personalize your invite. Connecting with others via your desktop or laptop is the best way to reach out and engage with a personalized message.)
How often have you seen LinkedIn’s generic invitation land in your LinkedIn inbox? Do you ignore it or do you engage? Do you take the time to personalize an invitation before you hit “connect?” Please share your comments in the section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million!
On October 23rd my guest on the Marketing Blab with Debra was LinkedIn Expert, Viveka von Rosen. Read about five key insights we explored during the show here.
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