Saturday, August 20, 2011

How To: LinkedIn Connections

Three Ways to Personalize Your Request to Connect

What is LinkedIn?  LinkedIn is the social networking site for professionals looking to connect with other professionals.  LinkedIn defines itself this way, "LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals."

LinkedIn prefers these professionals connect with people they know and trust.  Many of us find that keeping an open mind and connecting with professionals we haven't met, but would like to connect with is of benefit too.  Count me among those.  Because we share and exchange information, as well as contacts, I prefer not to limit myself to those I have met in person.  To me that seems very restrictive.

In my business, and maybe in yours, getting to know people is a terrific way to expand not only the business, but my knowledge as well.  Who of us knows everything about our own industry?  Not too many it is probably safe to say.  Connecting on LinkedIn can broaden your base of influencers.  Those people who are able to bring business to you.

What is the best way to connect on LinkedIn?  The way you would like to meet someone in person.  When you send someone a message requesting they connect with you, tell them why and how the two of you can benefit from it.  LinkedIn supplies a short phrase, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."  How much better to insert something more personal, even if you aren't likely to meet this person face-to-face.

The three ideas to consider when requesting someone connect with you on LinkedIn:

1. Briefly explain who you are and where you live/are located.  Local? Another state?
2. Tell them what you do.  Are you a florist?  Consultant?  Commercial insurance agent?
3. Why connecting will benefit both of you. 

You are limited to 256 characters in a request, so be brief.  You are more likely to start off on the right foot with this person, plus they will look more closely at your updates as they are posted.

Grow your LinkedIn connections in whatever way is best for you.  Remember to personalize your request so you stand out from everyone else.  Whether it is someone you know or someone you have yet to meet, make your invitation one they are impressed with.

What do you think about connecting on LinkedIn?  Do you personalize your invitation?  Please comment below.

Connect with me on LinkedIn.
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