Saturday, April 23, 2011

Advice for Connecting on LinkedIn

I absolutely love LinkedIn, it's definitely one of my favorite social media platforms. I've heard many different strategies for making LinkedIn work for you. Some are more universal and some are a little more questionable. However, one tip that I always hear that I really feel like needs to be reiterated is:

Always customize your introduction
when sending an invite!

This is a huge pet peeve for me because it happens all the times. I get an invite with the standard "I'd like to add you to my professional network" from someone I don't know from Adams. Then they have also indicated we know each other because we are friends, it really diminishes your credibility with me, and I won't accept your invitation. Just because we both love social media doesn't mean we should connect. Give me a reason, tell me why, tell me something.

Here's the deal. LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It's important to understand that in order to network you need to talk to people. You wouldn't walk into a networking event and start handing out your business card while staring at the ground and not saying a word... would you? Well, that's nearly the same concept as not customizing your introduction.

When sending an introduction, explain why you want to connect. Granted you only have 200 characters to make an introduction, which can prove difficult, but write something! LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool, but only if you know the people in your network. It's important to be "social"! Next time you find someone you want to connect with that you haven't met in person, explain the best you can why you want to connect. Whether it's because you are in the same industry and have similar interests, you want them to be a resource in your professional community or you want them to help you get a job. Tell them why you want to connect!