Sending a blank connection request is not enough – You need a reason to be connecting with someone on LinkedIn
I recently received an invitation to connect with someone I had met at a conference. I didn’t remember her but she remembered me. Fortunately I messaged her back to ask if I could help her and she then reminded me where we’d met. I have also had LinkedIn invites form business associates who someone else has suggested should get in contact with me so that I can advise them on social media for example.
What both these examples emphasise is that you need to remind people or explain to them why you want to connect with them. They may have no ideas who you are or why you actually want to connect with them.
LinkedIn is not about connecting with strangers, but if you just send a blank connection request without explaining who you are or why you are connecting with them, you will come across as a stranger, or worse a spammer.
To avoid being ignored when approaching people on LinkedIn, you should follow a few basic rules:
- If you are trying to connect with someone you met some time ago, bear in mind that the person might forget who you are. It is important therefore to remind where you met and in what context. e.g. At an industry conference where you were introduced by a mutual business associate.
- If you are interacting get a person’s input, expertise or feedback, say so upfront. People like it when they’re valued and when the person asking for their contribution is honest and open about what they are looking for.
- If, as the main purpose behind the connection request you do really just want to do business, then send a simple, informal message explained what you are looking for. Try not to come across as too ’salesy’ or pushy. Be subtle in suggesting that connecting could be mutually beneficial to both of you. For e.g. send them a request message saying “as we have groups, interests and connections in common, I was wondering whether you’d like to connect on LinkedIn". The person you message will at the very least be intrigued enough to look at who you are and what you do that is similar to them.
- Once you have made a new connection, especially if it is not someone you communicated with outside LinkedIn or often, make sure that you send a follow up message that shows you appreciate the contact. The can be something as simple as;
Thank you for your recent connection.
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Finally, remember that LinkedIn as about connecting to people you know as well as people you’d like to get to know, but if all you do is send blank, meaningless or over salesy messages, then you’ll remain nothing but a stranger who they are not interested in connecting with. By remember the points listed above you can subtly and effectively connect and develop relationships which are mutually beneficial.