For a while now there’s been some debate over how to use LinkedIn. Some suggest connecting with only people you know and work with, while others encourage inviting people to your network. It doesn’t matter if we are delivering a keynote, conducting a workshop or presenting a webinar, a question that seems to always be asked is:
And typically in the audience, you will always have two vastly different opinions. There are people who are advocates of a quality-based approach whereby only connecting with people they either know well or who are directly relevant to them and what they do. And on the flip side, there are net-workers who believe “Quantity” is more important than quality and therefore connect with everyone and anyone.
This is a different article in itself which we’ll be covering in our next blog. But for now, no matter which philosophy you follow, there’s one hurdle you’ll always have to overcome: getting people to accept your invitation.
Obviously, we all know to scrap the generic “I’d like to connect with you” message and send a personalized invite. (Right?) Well, you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually take the time to personalize their message…
And even when they do, it still doesn’t guarantee their invite would be accepted because they’re missing the top 3 fundamental rules when it comes to sending out invitation requests. Below we’ve listed these reasons and what you need to do instead.
“I would like to connect to stay up to date with your business and refer clients to you?” “I had a look at your profile and would like to connect to discuss possible synergies between both our current activities.”
Now let’s ask you a question, out of the above two invitations which one are you more likely to accept, the 2nd one right? Absolutely!!! The first invitation is just a little too vague and a little creepy. The underlying intention of why the person wants to connect is unclear, and that makes it harder for someone to accept this invite.
You’d be surprised how many people use lines like that or similar. We guess common sense is uncommon? To avoid this happening to you, make sure your invite has a straightforward and, ideally, mutually beneficial reason for connecting.
We see so many business owners connecting with people for the sake of building the number of people in their network. They believe that the more people they have in their network the greater amount of times they will show up in search results. Whilst this is true to some degree, a reactive approach to using LinkedIn should only make up 10% of an overall marketing strategy.
The other 90% should be you going out there and being proactive by searching, connecting and building a relationship with your core target market. So before you send another connection invitation ask yourself the following questions so you can be crystal clear on your target market.
– What’s my outcome for using LinkedIn? (Is it to generate more leads, get in front of decision makers, and expand internationally etc.?)
– What are my marketing objectives over the next 3-6 months?
– Who do I need to connect with in order to achieve those goals?
And last but not the least; they connect with people who are curious and not serious when it comes to using LinkedIn as a networking and marketing tool. Even though there are now over 500 million members with a LinkedIn profile, not everyone checks it as frequently as they probably should.
The person you’re trying to connect with might very well be open to connecting but just doesn’t use LinkedIn as often as you do. Don’t take it personally. Over the past few years the way we’ve tackled this challenge is to simply check for 3 things before you send out your invitation:
– Do they have a picture?
– Have they got more than 150 connections?
– Have they completed more than 50% of their profile?
If the contact you’re looking to connect with ticks at least 2 out of 3 questions above we would go ahead and send your invitation. If not, then you really should move on to the next person. With millions of other people to connect with, don’t feel like you’re missing out!
When you follow these 3 rules you not only increase the number of people accepting your invitation but have a more quality network of people you can market to. After all, your network is your net worth.
If you’re concerned whether if you go out and market yourself on LinkedIn alone that you may make similar mistakes then it’s always best to work with experts to ensure things are rolled out successfully. When venturing into anything new that is going to be so critical for your business it’s not worth the risk to your company and personal brand.
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