This post is dedicated to helping you learn why to personalize your invitation, and offer some tips on how to personalize from various areas in the site.
TIP: Skip the Import Step
So let's start at the beginning, when you first sign up for your LinkedIn account, there are several steps in the process: signing up, receiving a confirmation email, clicking the link to verify your account, and setting up your profile. LinkedIn also offers you a quick and easy way to Invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn. This page looks like this:
|Who You Already Know on LinkedIn - the tricky "Import" Feature|
- There may be people in my email contact list whom I do NOT wish to invite to connect with me: my Dad who is not and will never be on LinkedIn, my great aunt who would have no use for such nonsense, my friend whom I am already connected to through their work email (so I wouldn't want to send them ANOTHER invitation to their personal email, which they may not have connected to a LinkedIn account), a few fellow members of Toastmasters that I know aren't active on LinkedIn, etc. etc.
- LinkedIn accesses my personal email box and stores that information. I'm obviously open to sharing information on the Internet, but anytime a site asks to store my personal information even when I'm not using the site, it makes me nervous.
- If you follow their simple, step-by-step instructions, it will automatically send those individuals a impersonal invitation, the infamous, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." With the growing popularity of LinkedIn, you might receive this message a few times a week. And if you can't quite place the person who is inviting you to connect, you're likely to ignore it.
aka "Optional" should not be "Optional"
|"Personalize EVERY invitation," suggests Brenda Meller.|
I always suggest that LinkedIn users take a few moments to personalize EVERY invitation. As in EVERY invitation. This includes EVERY invitation. (Yes, it's that important). How do I personalize, you ask?
- Start by deleting the standard invitation text. Consider it garbage: "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Whenever I receive an invite with this text -- and I don't know the person offhand, I typically respond back with three words, "Have we met?" This gives the person an opportunity to explain how they are and why they want to connect. HINT: most people won't do this. They will simply ignore or delete your invitation and you've lost the opportunity to gain a new connection.
- Insert a greeting appropriate for the person, "Hello John" or "Dear Michelle" as an example.
- Give the person a frame of reference how they know you. Ex: "It was nice meeting you at the Troy Chamber breakfast this morning." OR "Hope you've been doing well. It's been a while since we worked together at PMH." OR "We sat next to each other at the expo on Tuesday and exchanged business cards."
- Invite them to connect. Ex. "I'd like to connect on LinkedIn." OR "Let's connect on LinkedIn so we can stay in touch."
- BONUS: extend an offer for assistance. It's always better to offer something FIRST before asking for their assistance when you may need it later. Ex: "Let me know if there is anything you need."
- Your signature name. This is the only part of the pre-personalized LinkedIn text that I leave in.
|An example of a personalized invitation on LinkedIn. ~Brenda Meller|
Plus, you've started the dialog with this contact with some friendly conversation, which will go a long way in making LinkedIn more useful to you in the future.