If you’re one of the millions of people using LinkedIn to find a great job or the perfect candidate for your team, this post is definitely for you. How many times have you blindly scanned the faces on the social media network and lazily sent that bland invitation to connect provided by the wizards at LinkedIn? You know the one. “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” If you think this is going to get you tons of new connections, you obviously don’t know much about social media. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are some fool-proof ways to improve your invites so you stand out on LinkedIn.
Be Sure You Invite Someone Who is Likely to Accept
The first thing to do before sending out an invite on LinkedIn is to be sure your target knows you and will be open to accepting you. According to Stacy Gordon Zapar of UndercoverRecruiter, “A best practice is to reach out to that person elsewhere first (email, phone, real life conversations, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn messages, InMail, group discussions, status updates, etc.) and start a conversation. If they seem amenable, go ahead and invite them.”
Personalize Your Invite
In a Social Media Today post titled How to Make Your LinkedIn Invites Irresistible, John Nemo emphasizes that you should then truly read your target’s profile and customize your invite to appeal to him as an individual.
Find something unique about him that you have in common but which has no professional relevance. You want to stand out. We guarantee you that successful recruiters on LinkedIn stand out because they said something interesting to develop a feeling of comfort and familiarity that will hopefully continue throughout the relationship.
Perhaps your target went to college at Stanford. “I thought I’d contact you today since you are probably in a great mood about that great Cardinal victory over Notre Dame last night.” Not only does your invite stand out from the others, but you have also created a rapport because it’s obvious you read his profile completely and taken an interest in his love for his alma mater. It seems a little cheesy and manipulative, but it works.
Who is Your Mutual Connection?
Now it’s time to tell your candidate how you found his profile and why you are trying to connect. Indeed, building professional relationships on LinkedIn works best when you can demonstrate a human connection. Look for some way to let your contact know that you didn’t just look them up in a Google search.
Let’s say, you are building a LinkedIn group of young freelance writers. Let your target know how you found his name. “A former classmate of mine at the USC School of Journalism said she collaborated with you on your award-winning report on the rise of e-cigarettes. She suggested I get in touch with you because you have a lot to offer our members.” This is very important because not only have you demonstrated someone or something in common but you have also flattered your new connection. The best way to make friends is through flattery.
What Can We Do for Each Other?
Now you can tell your target what your business is and why you need their talents and skills. The key is to emphasize that both of you can benefit from the relationship, because he will not want to help you if the deal is completely one-sided. You can say something to the effect of “I’d like to invite you to join my LinkedIn group of young freelance writers. Our members are all talented writers who are looking for the camaraderie of fellow professionals to bounce ideas around, improve their writing and ultimately get their stories published.”
Remember, a lot of individuals and businesses use the generic template provided by LinkedIn to extend an invite. Those who are more successful get to know the person they want to connect with first. By personalizing your invites, you are essentially saying, “I am not spamming you. I am truly interested in working with you.”
Photo: Alvaro Canivell