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LinkedIn invitation screensConnecting with people through social media is a great way to continue your inbound marketing efforts and strengthen relationships. This past year I have received many invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Some are friends, while others are 2nd connections through people I mutually know. It’s great to network, to get to know more people, and extend your professional reach.

I noted only a handful of these invitations were personalized. Approximately 90% of these invitations were “generic” or “templated”. This means while folks are looking to connect with me, they are simply clicking the “Connect” button, selecting a radio button to indicate how they know me, and using the text provided in the invitation. Refer to the screenshots on the right.

It’s this templated text I’m talking about; there’s nothing personal to it. Joining social media platforms is almost like asking for a membership to an exclusive club. If you truly want to connect with people, personalize your invitation. Think about it. Do you really want to deepen a new relationship by using canned text?

How deep of an impact would it make to you if the invitation you received included one or two personalized tidbits? This note could include how you met (i.e., face-to-face networking, etc.), a chat you both participate in (i.e., #linkedinchat, #smmanners, #tweetdiner, etc.) or a commonality you found in their public profile.

Make a bigger impact and ASK for permission to connect. This can be similar to a face-to-face networking situation. Would you take a business card from someone you just met at a networking event if you did not ask for it? You shouldn’t — you haven’t yet figured out if this relationship is viable, let alone deepen it. Yet this scenario is played out every hour of every day on social media.

Personalizing your invitation is the first step. Asking permission to connect is the second step. Here is a sample of what I might send:

“Hi, [friend’s name], it was great meeting you at [networking event] on [date]. I’d really like to learn more about the type of work you do and see how I can help you. With your permission, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

If you received this type of invitation, would you take the time to read through it? Would this type of invitation speed your desire to accept the connection? When you personalize your invitation and ask for permission to connect, you show a professional courtesy and respect that will come back to you tenfold. Learn other ways to send a LinkedIn invitation to connect by reading this article.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite personalized message you send out?

Cheers, Lisa

Written by Lisa Raymond

Lisa Raymond

Lisa Raymond is the owner of Visibly Media LLC, a marketing company specializing in social media and inbound marketing strategies. She has 20+ years background in print and website graphic design. Lisa is a member of the Social Media Marketing Society, Business Mentor Team, AmSpirit Business Connections, and Toastmasters International. Lisa is a fanatic about sharing new ideas & tips about social media to business owners and has given presentations at both The Hive @ Central in Phoenix and THINKspot! in Mesa. Lisa has been married to the love of her life, Michael, for over 25 years; she is a mom of 4 (two still at home, one a proud Marine!), and a new grandma of a beautiful granddaughter! Lisa is THE QUEEN in her realm of organized chaos!