LinkedIn is a fabulous online networking tool that can help you grow your connections and business.
The problem is because it’s online, there are a lot of lazy people out there who rely on the standard request:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network.”
How many times have you received one of these requests to connect from someone on LinkedIn that you’ve never heard of before?
They’re maddening, aren’t they?
I’m not the greatest at remembering names, so I guess there’s a slim chance that I may have met them at a conference or networking event.
The problem is, by sending LinkedIn’s generic invitation if you’re “unknown” to the recipient, it’s probably going to be ignored.
Make it personal
It’s my understanding that the only way you can personalise your request is if you click on “connect” from the person’s LinkedIn profile from your desktop or laptop. You don’t get the option when using the app.
From my point of view, if you want to connect with me, you need to tell me why.
There are a lot of folks out there that want to make themselves look well connected by sending requests to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
What’s the point in that?
LinkedIn loses its effectiveness as a potential marketing tool if you’re connecting to random people.
No. If you want to get the most out of it and want to connect to certain people, give them a damn good reason why they should accept.
How to be personal
It goes without saying your LinkedIn profile should carry a professional photo of you. Leave the ones of you cycling, running, or dancing on tables for Facebook.
Then you should always start your request with a greeting bearing the recipient’s name (spelt correctly).
Tell them how you know them. Perhaps you have mutual acquaintances, follow each other on Twitter, or met at a networking event, conference etc.
Once you’ve done that tell them why you want to connect with them followed by a short description about what you do.
Finish off with a bit of flattery about their work (not so much that it’s creepy or embarrassing) and sign off in a friendly way.
Personally, if I get the generic connection request, it’s very unlikely I’ll accept (especially if I don’t know the sender) and I’m sure I’m not alone.
If you want to make an impact and some valuable connections, put in the effort to make it personal.