LinkedIn best practice tips: to connect or not?
As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks continue to evolve, it's hard to keep track of all the changes taking place.
I'm sure many have noticed recent LinkedIn changes in the Home page layout.
Another change that took place over the past few months, although not as noticeable, makes it much easier now to "personalize" the "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." connection request message.
This article is intended for both those new to LinkedIn and the experienced user that may not be aware of this much needed change that now allows one to "edit" the connect message PRIOR to sending it.
There are three basic ways to connect on LinkedIn:
- Home page - People you may know + Connect button
- People Search - Profile Connect button
- Someone is now connected to person's name - select name & hit connect button
Prior to this change taking place, if you responded to the People you may know + Connect button, the standard message, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." was sent automatically, before one was given the chance to edit the message. The only way to edit and personalize a connect message prior to sending was the People Search - Profile Connect button.
LinkedIn has addressed this glitch, and has now made it much easier to "personalize" a connect message, no matter which method is used to submit a connection request.
There are different philosophies on whether people choose to / not to connect:
- Some are LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) who will accept and encourage network connections with anyone
- Some refuse connection requests from anyone they do NOT know personally
- Others may connect with 2nd degree contacts (friend of a friend), or if the person shares some common interests, or if the connection may be mutually beneficial down the road
- Some absolutely REFUSE to connect with anyone who sends them the generic, non-personal, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." request
Best practice tips:
Think BEFORE you send - ask yourself "so what?"
Thinking "so what" at the end of a message is a good test to pre-qualify whether the message may have value (for someone other than you), whether the message is personal or not, and whether that person may agree to connect with you.
Think BEFORE you connect
Decide on the type of connections you want to pursue. People who share similar industry experience, club and organizational interests, career networking groups, civic groups, etc. may become strong connections. Pursuing professional connections - industry leaders and those with similar career interests may provide valuable content worthy of sharing, and increase the size of one's network. Connecting with too many people with little or no common interests runs the risk of receiving messages of little value to you, and you may even get "information overload" - too many messages too frequently.
Prior to LinkedIn adding the ability to "edit & personalize" all connect requests prior to sending, some people may have been more forgiving and would still accept standard connection requests without a "personal" message included.
Best practice tip:
Always include a personal message with any connection request -- the chances greatly improve that your request will be accepted.
If you don't know someone, or maybe only met them once, would you approach them on the street and ask to be added / add them to your address book with no other explanation?
A personal message is always better and shows proper etiquette.
Saw your profile. I'm looking for connections in the area and would like to learn more about your position at Hampden-Sydney College. I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Thanks in advance.
I believe I met you a while back at the Employment Transition Ctr, or was introduced to you by Charlie Wood. I am interested in learning more about your Longwood connections.
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Thanks
The famous line by Col. Nathan R. Jessup (aka Jack Nicholson) from A Few Good Men seems to have it covered. "You have to ask me nicely."
Social Media Strategist, WordPress Web Designer, Twitter Specialist, Social Medial Trainer - Specializing in the 'power trio' -- Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Online writer for The Examiner - http://www.examiner.com/social-media-in-richmond/daulton-west-jr
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