The debate on whether or not to include a note when sending a connection request on LinkedIn has been raging for some time, but in my opinion, is a no brainer. Always, always, always include a note. Not only is it proper etiquette, but it can increase your chances of successfully connecting by a huge margin. In this blog I will give some tips on how to find worthwhile connections and also boost your chances of getting your invite accepted and growing your valuable LinkedIn network.
First off, there are many ways to find people on LinkedIn that would be worthwhile to connect to, but I’ll focus on the easiest ones that are what you would call “low hanging fruit”. LinkedIn has an entire page of possible connections for you located under the “My Network” tab. If you go there, they have already done the work for you and have listed out different groups of people that are 2nd and 3rd degree connections through a variety of factors.
- College & High School Alumni
- Located in your same geographic area
- Members of Groups you belong to
- People in the same industry as you
Once you find a potential connection you’d like to invite to join your network, you will want to open their profile up and scan it for several things which will all be useful when customizing your invite.
- Common connections (anybody that you are both already connected to)
- Activity (any posts or articles they have shared, comments made on other posts, etc.)
- Geographic location
- Summary (oftentimes there are great nuggets in the summary that are interesting or connect you somehow)
- Current job description (perhaps they are doing a job you’d like to have or previously did and know about it)
Once you have scanned all this information, you can use bits and pieces to craft a highly personalized invite.
Let’s run through a test of this process with a real world case study.
For this example, I looked at people who attended Marquette University, my college, for potential connections. Now just because they attended the same school as me doesn’t mean they will be in the same industry or geographic location. When I review these people, I look at their location and job titles to make sure it’s a good fit for me and where I am located.
The school connection section on LinkedIn is going to look something like this.
Something very important to remember here on this page is that you do NOT want to click on the “Connect” button here. It will send a connection request off to that person and not give you any opportunity to add a note. If you click on Connect here, you will be out of luck to add a personal note. Your best option is to right-click and open the link in a new tab. This will open up that person’s LinkedIn profile. Once you open that up, you’ll want to now click on the “Connect” button on their profile. For this example, I found Brian Georgeson who is currently a producer for the Los Angeles Chargers and is listed as being in the Orange County, California area- the same geographic location as me and in an industry that is related to the work I do.
Once you click on the “Connect” button, you will get the following popup offering the ability to customize the invitation. You will want to click on the “Add a note” button here.
Once you have clicked that button, it will open up a message window giving you 300 characters to add a personalized note to your connection request.
So, having reviewed his profile before clicking on the connect button, I saw that we shared a few common connections as well as both attending Marquette University. He is also located in my same geographic area. So, my personalized invite might look like this:
Hey there Brian! I see that we share some common connections and also both attended Marquette University. I also see that we are both in Orange County. I wanted to reach out and connect to a fellow alumnus and see if we could expand our networks!
A nice feature of the personalized invite box is that it will reverse count down your 300 word word count so you know how much space you have left to write your message and can go back and tweak it until you have it just right and within the limits.
Once your message is crafted, hit “Done” and your personalized invite is on its way!
I find that sending personalized invites gives your potential network connections a message. Not only have you put the time in to really look at their profile and make sure it’s a good connection, but you’ve also put a premium on their valuable time and helped them to make a decision about whether or not to accept that request. I know that 9 times out of 10 I am not going to accept a blind invite unless my quick initial scan shows me that this person might be worth connecting to. If somebody takes the time to craft a note to me, I am much more likely to accept that invite- if it is a good match or if they have made a great case as to why I should add them to my network.
So, what say you…do you personalize your invites? Do you accept blind invites? Comment below!
Tai Freligh offers digital marketing and social media services through his company Tai Freligh Consulting, as well as tips, exclusive entertainment interviews and the occasional dog and cat picture. Catch me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn on my Tai Freligh Consulting company page. You can also drop a personalized connection request to me on my LinkedIn profile.