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Generic LinkedIn Requests End Relationships Before They Start.
I am a LinkedIn super user & love its power for managing my professional network.
Self proclaimed super user – but here are the facts to back this up:
I love the power of LinkedIn to manage my professional network, soft recruit, and gain industry advice/best practices through the power of participating in groups (more on that in a later blog post). I use LinkedIn to manage all of my business connections – people I have worked with, currently work with, and professionals I meet at conferences. These are individuals I want to extend an in-person relationship via this online space. Additionally, I like connecting with people I engage regularly with in group discussions.
My Biggest LinkedIn Pet Peeve: Generic Invites
My biggest pet peeve on LinkedIn is absolutely the generic invite – especially from people I don’t know!
WHY would I let you into my network when you can’t even take the 10 seconds to write a personalized message on why you want to connect?
This does not feel like a relationship request to me (meaning there are benefits on both sides) – this feels extremely one sided and you have everything to gain.
Those 11 words “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” does not start a professional relationship with me. In fact, it ends it before it even starts. To build connections in an online space, remember that first impressions matter.
Use these proven 5 tips to maximize your LinkedIn requests and build meaningful online relationships.
5 Simple Tips to Maximize LinkedIn Requests:
1. Avoid the Easy “Connect” Button
Don’t just click the easy “connect” button under “people you may know” as this sends the auto connection message. Go into the person’s profile & then send a connection request.
Be very careful using the new LinkedIn mobile app as if you click “connect” it automatically sends a generic invite. I inadvertently did this just last week to a colleague’s contact – which makes for a bit of an awkward explanation versus personalizing my request to begin with!
2. Do Your Homework Before Sending an Invite
View someone’s profile & think WHY you want to connect to them.
3. Write a Personalized Connection Request
Show them you took the time to view their profile and want to work on this relationship.
If you haven’t met:
“I’m very interested in learning more about XXX company and your career path from marketing to an HR professional and would like to connect.”
“My colleague recommended I reach out to you regarding your facilitation skills. I would like to connect to discuss working together.”
If you have met in person, detail when/where you met:
“It was great to meet you at the Campus Recruiting Forum yesterday in Toronto. I look forward to staying in touch to keep talking about social media & millennial recruiting.”
4. Send Requests Within 24 hours
24 hours of meeting in person that is – this helps ensure they accept your request as the memory of meeting is clear.
5. Respond to Invitation Requests Regularly
This means both to accept & decline. Don’t leave people in limbo land without a response.
A Little Experiment with Generic Invites:
I recently completed a little experiment.
My purpose: test my theory about generic connection requests & people’s seriousness about networking.
For those individuals who sent me a generic LinkedIn connection request who I didn’t know, I responded saying “Thank you for the request to connect. I take my network very seriously and want to connect with people to further discussions or ideas. As we have not yet met, why are you interested in connecting?”
Of the 50 generic invites I received & responded with this message, guess how many responded ?! Only One! That’s 2%.
This tells me that if you can’t take the time to write a personalized request – how much effort will you put into networking? Likely a big fat ZERO. So, what’s the purpose of connecting in the first place!?
Your Connections on LinkedIn:
What’s your acceptance policy or practice for LinkedIn requests you don’t know?
How are you going to change your request practices?