This article has been updated from a previous post.
In this hurry-up, on-demand world we now live in, it seems there’s equal haste to connect to others on social media. Members on LinkedIn — the more corporate and professional social media channel — are no more immune from this method of communication than those on Facebook.
It seems there are more tech-wise ways to have a conversation with people than there are people willing to sit and chat. Think about it. Do our clients ask us to email or text first rather than call? Are we guilty of the same behavior toward our clients, colleagues, and family?
LinkedIn is a social media channel where you absolutely should know to whom you are connecting. A few years ago, a trend started emerging with members inviting members to connect:
1. who don’t know the people they are trying to connect to (both ways);
2. without using a personalized invitation.
Connecting for numbers or relationships?
I would never insinuate it’s not okay to send a connection request. However, there’s a big difference between connecting to beef up your numbers vs. establishing a professional relationship.
If you’re just trolling through your Sales Navigator to see what companies you want to work with and see who you may know in order to forge a relationship, that’s fine — that’s called “research”. I do this often in my own business. What’s your process after you find that person and company?
Hopefully, it’s not just hitting the blue Connect button out of reflex.
Here are three simple tips to keep in mind when connecting on LinkedIn
1. Know your goals. Sounds simple, yes? It is! Before you hit the big blue Connect button, ask yourself one question: WHY do you want to connect to this person? Is it for your connection numbers or mutual gain?
2. Know the person. Again, this sounds simple, but the above scenario I described happens more often than you realize. Think about it this way: if you just met someone, would you give them the keys to your car or house right away? Probably not. Then, why would you accept a connection request from someone you just met and open the door for them to contact all your connections? If you truly feel like you really connected during your meeting, then, by all means, hit that blue button! If you consider that person a casual acquaintance, don’t connect — yet.
3. Make it personal. Don’t just whip out your smartphone and hit the blue Connect button. If you really want to make an impression, personalize your invitation! TIP: ask for permission to connect in your invitation. Make sure your mobile app is updated to the latest version, and follow LinkedIn’s help file for your iOS or Android device: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6096/6097/46662
Use LinkedIn to grow your network strategically, securely, safely. Personalize that invitation first, ask for permission to connect in your invitation, and watch your network — and your reputation — grow!
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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