I loved cartoons ever since I was a kid. Every Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to watch and watch and watch until my father would drag me outside to help him on his pet project of the day.
As I got older, one of my favorite cartoons was Ren and Stimpy. In one episode, Stimpy was charged with guarding the “History Eraser Button.” The button that erases everything, and the one button you should never push.
LinkedIn has a button like this as well. It doesn’t erase anything, but whatever you do, don’t click this button!
The one button on LinkedIn you should never click is the Connect button in the “People you may know” section in the top right of your home page. The button seems simple and innocuous. However, if you push this button, it will send a generic “I would like to add you to my professional network” Invitation to Connect to that person. You don’t have the opportunity to personalize the invite.
Why is personalizing invitations important?
Say you were getting an invite to a birthday party. If the invite said “I would like you to come to my party,” and you knew the person really well, you would probably go. However, if you weren’t that person’s best friend, and you received that invite, your incentive to attend would be low.
However, if you received an invite that said, “I would love for you to attend my birthday party. I know you like bounce houses, beer and baseball, and this party will have all three.”
Which party invite would make you want to attend the party more – the generic or the personalized invite?
Take this same approach to your Invitations to Connect on LinkedIn. If you are connecting with someone you have known for a long time, “I would like to add you to my professional network” is probably going to get accepted.
However, if you just met the person at a conference last week (along with the other 100 people that person met), they might not even remember you, let alone want to connect. So, give them some reasons – remind them where you met, how you met, what you talked about, things you have in common (schools, former companies, connections).
Most importantly, mention what VALUE are you going to provide. For example, you want to share thoughts and ideas, or you both belong to the same non-profit and you want to help out. For some specific language for Invitations to Connect, check out Brynne Tillman’s recent post.
So where do I connect then?
Always connect from the person’s profile page. To get there from that same “People you may know” section, click on the person’s photo or name instead of clicking on Connect button . You will then be taken to that person’s profile page. From there, you will see a giant, candy-colored blue Connect button. When you click on that button, you can then personalize your invitation, and your invite will have a much higher chance of being accepted!
- Always personalize your Invitations to Connect
- Always connect to someone via their profile page, so you can personalize your Invitation to Connect
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About the Author
Robert Knop is a passionate helper of people, and Founder and CEO of Assist You Today, a company dedicated to helping companies harness the power of social media to add value their customers, build trust and drive sales. He’s always happy to talk all things strategy, digital and social selling.
If you’d like to learn how to set-up a profit-driving social selling program at your organization, whether big or small, feel free to reach out to Robert.