As LinkedIn drives membership activity with ‘suggested connections’ and one button clicks, we need to take control of our personal brand.
That means thinking about who we connect with and more importantly – how we go about connecting.
Transactional marketers and spammers are having a field day with LinkedIn’s connection requests and unsolicited selling. Don’t become one of them.
Any of you who have read my blogs or attended my seminars will know that I’m an advocate for the smart use of LinkedIn for personal brand, opportunity development and connecting with those you do know and those you don’t know yet. Opportunities often come from those people we don’t know yet – but who may know of us.
Connecting is easy. Doing it properly takes time – but is hugely rewarding.
So smart connecting is vital if you want to ramp up your career, job search, and protect and develop a strong personal brand.
If you send out spam-like non customised requests you run the risk of cannibalising all of the above.
If I was to use the below connection request I’d be demonstrating the lack of importance I place in the connection and above all – I’m lazy!
I don’t want to do either.
I’d also be wasting an opportunity to promote my brand.
If you send one of these to me – I might connect – or I might not.
If you’re lucky, I’ll send a LinkedIn message back to you asking why you want to connect – of course taking the time to reinforce my own brand.
Customise your request.
Research the recipient, view their profile, create a two way opportunity. Demonstrate a reason for the connection.
- Invitations with email address: 2000 characters
- Invitations without email address: 300 characters
At the very least please stop sending out the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
I came across your profile in my search for subject matter experts in the area of sustainability. I’m extremely interested in this area myself, and would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you and from time to time share ideas and opportunities.
Don’t waste the connection…
Send a message thanking the person for their agreement to connect. This is an opportunity to reach out if you need to.
Managing your connections
Once you’ve connected, don’t let your connections fall into a dark hole. They’re a valuable asset. You may wish to use a similar approach to the one sales professionals use. LinkedIn has a basic CRM function.
You can Tag (categorise) your connections by assigning a tag to the connection in your connections list.
A = those I have worked directly with
B = those I know well
C = those I want to get to know
Or you can be more descriptive. I use descriptive text for my tags because I may want to search my connections later on.
You can use many different tags and apply more than one to each person for future reference.
Clearly you’ll adjust the tags as the nature of your relationship or their role changes.
Click here to learn more from LinkedIn about their tag function
In any event – please treat Connection Requests with the respect your brand deserves.
And then don’t forget about them. Keep in touch!