The debate goes on whether or not we should personalize invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Short answer? Yes, I think you always should, and here’s why.
Why Do You Want To Connect on LinkedIn?
There are various reasons you might want to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Your reasons are probably different than my reasons, which are different from the next person’s reasons.
The important factor in making this decision is whether you are connecting the dots to that person, and helping them connect the dots to you. If your intended connection can see no reason why they should be connected to you, you have lost an opportunity to form an important relationship, not to mention you have just done what the majority of people on LinkedIn do, which is to send a boilerplate LinkedIn invitation, which I don’t consider very personal.
I don’t want you to waste your time when you use LinkedIn or any social media. Connecting the dots with another person helps you to make the best use of your time, as well as theirs as they don’t have to try to figure out how they know you, or to view the invitation as purely transactional, which doesn’t create a bond.
What Happens After You Send A Personal Message With Your LinkedIn Invitation?
Speaking of them connecting the dots back to you, that’s what happens when you send a personalized invitation to connect.
In that personal message that you send, you have said something to them that jogs their memory and helps them understand why you want to be connected to them. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just needs to be kind and cordial, just like when you’re meeting anyone you would like to get to know better.
What happens when you send this personal message with your invitation? The majority of invitees will answer you, which gives you one more opportunity to make a connection and probably a positive impression when you answer with a nice statement, such as:
“Looking forward to staying in touch with you. Hope to see you in the newsfeed. Take care.”
Don’t Sell or Promote Anything At This Stage
When you are messaging at this early stage in your LinkedIn relationship, don’t sell. You shouldn’t even get into your practice area, unless, of course, they ask you.
Don’t worry. You can nurture your relationship with them in other ways. That’s for another video.
Your Goal Is To Develop An Ongoing Relationship
If you don’t personalize your invitations to connect, what could happen is that you could connect, if they accept your request, and you might never see that person in your newsfeed, or you in theirs. Again, you’ve lost an opportunity to make an impression by connecting with that person on a more personal level. That is not the best use of your time.
LinkedIn’s algorithms will show us to each other depending on the kind of contact that we have on a regular basis, plus many other factors. I’m not saying interacting in your private inbox on LinkedIn will have an impact on the algorithms. What I am saying is this is one way to make you more memorable before you ever start to interact in the newsfeed. It is a gift as it helps you create an early bond with that other person that you can then begin nurturing. That is what social networking is all about.
Many won’t do this, so use this opportunity to practice good social skills by virtually walking up to this person and saying something while shaking their virtual hand. If not, this would be similar to meeting someone at an in-person event, handing over your business card, then walking away.
That doesn’t feel very personal or meaningful, does it?
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers grow their practices by integrating the right marketing practices in order to build their reputations and their relationships, which leads to building their practices.
Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, Nancy is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social, and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients.
She is also a personal branding speaker, trainer, and advisor, helping legal and business professionals in firms understand the importance and the impact of defining and reinforcing their personal brand.
Nancy is also the founder of the hybrid self-study and online course, LinkedIn Course For Lawyers, where she personally guides lawyers through the sequential creation of their LinkedIn profile and presence.
As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.
She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.