Why connecting with someone on LinkedIn is like sending a Valentines card!

I frequently get asked “What is the most effective way to connect with someone on LinkedIn?”

Although against LinkedIn rules, many people use LinkedIn to connect with people that they don’t already know. This can run the risk of people saying they don’t know you and ultimately lead to IDK’s (I don’t knows).  Should anyone receive a number of IDK’s within a certain time frame, LinkedIn will restrict the ability to connect to people. In fact they will only allow you to connect with people if you know their email address! Very limiting!

So how do you avoid this and build a meaningful network on LinkedIn?

Firstly you must ensure you have a full and detailed profile on LinkedIn. This way, when someone receives a connection request from you, they are able to quickly establish why you are on there and potentially why you want to connect.

Secondly Invitation etiquette dictates that your connection request must not try and sell them something or have some immediate need or action. (For example saying that you would like to connect as you have a job vacancy they may be interested in will potentially lead to many people who are not currently looking for a job not accepting).

Thirdly, your request should give them a hint that connecting will provide some benefit either now or in the future… (I.e. I would like to connect as we are running events specific to your sector)

Other tips for ensuring connections made are worthwhile:

·         Once a connection is received engage with them immediately.

·         Ensure your connections are visible. This will provide re-assurance to people you invite to connect that you are building a network of people similar to themselves.

·         Join groups that are relevant as this will demonstrate that you’re interested in similar things. Also ensure that you participate in those groups.

·         Regularly engage… Start conversation, ask questions, answer question and generally be active as this will ensure people maintain there connection to you and raise your profile at the same time.

So how is connecting on Linkedin like sending a Valentines card?

A connection, like a valentines card, maybe a very small gesture to someone you don’t know very well, but would like to know better. Presented in the right way and then nurtured afterwards can lead to a long lasting relationship!