Are you familiar with this famous quote?
People do business with people they know, like, trust and value.
The best way to connect with people is in-person. Nothing beats spending time to get to know a person, exchanging ideas and finding things in common.
The second best tool to connect with people is LinkedIn.
The 610 million-member social platform was built sixteen years ago for and with its users in mind.
And now the benefits to the business environment worldwide are beginning to show.
Here are some interesting stats on LinkedIn:
- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions;
- LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies;
- 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media come through LinkedIn;
- 46% of social media traffic to corporate websites comes from LinkedIn;
- 92% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all other social platforms.
To leverage the power of LinkedIn every user is encouraged to build its network of connections by sending connection requests.
Is there a right way to connect? Yes!
Is there a wrong way to connect you should avoid? Yes!
How to connect on LinkedIn the right way – 7 DOs and DON’Ts
1. Invite people you know & people you don’t know
The reason for this specific requirement is based on protecting our personal information given that the members we invite in our network receive access to our email address, employment history etc.
That’s all good but how are we going to expand our network if you include only the people we already know?
It’s like when our mother told us Never talk to strangers! It served us well during childhood, but we are not children anymore, are we?
So invite the people you know and after you have exhausted your list of friends and work colleagues move on to people you’ve never met but would like to connect with.
Do invite people you know as well as people you would like to know.
2. Who should you connect with?
LinkedIn offers an answer to this question as well. They say they want us “to build a valuable network and make meaningful connections that will have a positive impact on our career.”
Remember the following three words: valuable, meaningful, positive.
Before pushing the Invite button, ask yourself this:
Does this person provide value to my network?
Is our connection meaningful?
Will they have a positive impact on my career?
It all goes back to the reason you are on LinkedIn. Is it to connect with HR managers? To build your professional brand? To get leads for your business?
Do connect with a strategy in mind.
Don’t accept random invitations or rely on LinkedIn’s recommendation algorithm.
3. Add a note to 100% of your connections requests.
If the person you are trying to connect with doesn’t know you, it is only common courtesy to introduce yourself.
When you meet someone, you don’t hand them your business card and then turn your back and leave, do you?
Well, even if you are trying to connect online, it’s still a person you are talking to. Politeness still applies.
Do add a note to your connection requests.
4. What should you write in your note?
If you’ve met before, remind them of the occasion and include a few details about what you’ve talked about.
If you’ve never met before, state the reason you want to connect. Maybe you have a mutual friend in common. Maybe you’ve read something they’ve published and you liked their point of view.
When inviting people to connect, Wordstream CEO Larry Kim uses a blueprint he calls the 5 P’s that works wonders: he makes sure his message is Polite, Pertinent, Personalized, Professional, Praiseful.
Here are three templates you can further customize to suit your needs:
Do make your message Polite, Pertinent, Personalized, Professional and Praiseful.
5. Don’t sell!
So many LinkedIn users complain that the next move most salespersons do is selling them something.
Don’t sell them your services/products right after they have accepted your connection request! This is not the right way to go. It will only get you removed or banned.
No one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to find a great solution to their problems.
Remember: People do business with people they know, like, trust and value.
Make efforts to build relationships with your connections. Relationships are the foundation of a business.
Don’t sell before establishing a relationship!
6. A profile photo is a must
LinkedIn is about connecting with real people. Add a photo of yourself, preferably a headshot on a clear background. The goal is to make yourself easily recognizable to your connections.
No photos of you laying on the beach.
No photos of your pets or children. Keep your profile photo professional.
Also, don’t replace your photo with your company’s logo or other branded visuals, you have the Company Page feature for that.
Do include a professional profile photo.
- Do invite people you know as well as people you would like to know.
- Do connect with a strategy in mind.
- Don’t accept random invitations or rely on LinkedIn’s recommendation algorithm.
- Do add a note to your connection requests.
- Do make your message Polite, Pertinent, Personalized, Professional, Praiseful.
- Don’t sell before establishing a relationship.
- Do include a professional profile photo.
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