Getting personal for LinkedIn success

Social Media Strategies

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Any regular LinkedIn user (which you should be, by the way) knows this line. It’s the old default LinkedIn network invitation.

This generic, impersonal message represented two things: A potential source of mystery for the recipient and a missed opportunity for the sender.

Why? If the recipient didn’t recognize the sender, he might ignore the invitation. Too bad because, with just a little effort, the sender could have included a personal message reminding how she knows the recipient or where they met.

LinkedIn recently did away with “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Its replacement is an invitation that appears in your inbox with a left-bent arrow in the upper right corner. The effect is the same: no personalization, no reaching out, just … nothing.

Conversely, a personalized invitation has overlapping word balloons in the upper right corner. Hover over them, and you can read the message from the sender. Pretty nifty, huh?

A growing personal network drives business. Using personalized invitations can make a world of difference in your success rate connecting with people on LinkedIn.

Here’s how: Go directly to the personal profile of your invitee. Click the “Connect” button. A text box will appear. Write a personal message, and click “Send Invitation.”

Don’t send invitations via the blue “Connect” button from “People You May Know,” or from listings of search results. Neither allows personalization. Avoid them.

As memorable as we all think we are, we can’t assume everyone remembers us. LinkedIn gives you the chance to offer a gentle reminder with this personalization feature. Make yours the invitation people won’t have to wonder about!

-Rick Moon is the owner of Brookfield-based Lunar Communications.

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