LinkedIn, Networking, social media, Uncategorized

Identify the “Link” Before You Send a LinkedIn Invite to Connect

Because I’m a digital marketing expert, and advise clients on social media strategy and/or serve as their social media voice, I felt I owed it to the many individuals who use LinkedIn — both the right way and the wrong way — to call out a major user “faux pas” and how to fix it.

Given the fact no job or business is ever 100% secure — times and interest in products and services by current customers change rapidly, management comes and goes, new technology makes certain products or services obsolete, etc. — if you are of employment age, then you should be maintaining an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn and actively using it to connect with both individuals you do know, and individuals you don’t. This will ensure you are adequately connected when you find yourself in need of identifying your next permanent or contract gig.

So, now to the “faux pas”. If you’re going to reach out to someone via LinkedIn whom you don’t know well or don’t know at all, and it’s not totally obvious why you want to connect with them (for example, they are not a close friend, or former co-worker or manager), you should never, ever send an invite to connect without 1) devising a note of some sort  that goes beyond the standard one of “I’d like to connect on LinkedIn.”; and 2) including in your note some context around why you want to connect.

LinkedInInvite

As a marketer who understands “best practices” and the proper use of various forms of social media, for some time now, I haven’t accepted requests to connect from individuals I don’t know who haven’t taken the time to explain why we should “connect.” However, I’m kind enough to reach out to these “inviters” and ask them why they want to connect before I completely write them off as a possible LinkedIn connection. I hope by doing so, I’m teaching them how to better make connections going forward, so they they and all LinkedIn users will benefit.

A good salesperson knows you have to explain the value-add associated with any product or service you sell. In the case of LinkedIn, you are selling yourself, and you need to explain to your “invitee” why and how they would benefit from connecting with you. As the inviter, you have the responsibility to identify the “link” for your “invitee”. Hey you wouldn’t invite someone to a party or event without explaining what it’s all about, right? The “link” could be having careers in the same field, volunteering at the same organization or ones with similar interests, having attended the same college or graduate school, having a lot of mutual connections, having the same passions/interests, etc. The explanation you provide with your invite doesn’t have to be long. In fact, ideally it shouldn’t be (you can and should wait until your target “invitee” accepts before providing too much detail; you can use the LinkedIn “message” function later on to provide that greater detail). Sample explanations include:

  • “I’d love to connect with you because of our similar interests in healthcare technology”
  • I’d love to connect because I see we have quite a few mutual connections from our careers in community banking”
  • “I think we’d enjoy being connected because I see we are equally passionate about digital marketing”
  • “I’d welcome connecting because I really enjoyed your article, blog post, presentation, etc. about x,y, and z, and I’d love to keep the conversation going.”

So, the next time you go to send a LinkedIn invite to connect, give some good thought as to why you want to connect with the individual in-question, and why they’d want to connect with you. If all LinkedIn users employ this protocol, we can improve on the great tool that LinkedIn already is and make it an even more effective environment for ensuring interesting conversations and beneficial connections happen between the right people.

Acceptance of Circumstances, Enjoying What You Do, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Passion

Attitude Truly Is Everything

While you’ve all heard my blog post heading said and written numerous times in numerous ways, I think it’s a message that bears regular repeating. It’s a timeless message relevant to everyone in every situation and in every century — your attitude can and will make or break you.

I was reminded of this late last week when a friend told me that as part of consideration for a newly created position — one that would initially require a lot of mundane, repetitive work, but that was expected to grow to a much more diverse, and challenging one — she had to submit her favorite quote. She submitted the following: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind” – Author Unknown. A perfect quote for my “Keep Up the Fight” page.

I do believe if you go into any situation — whether it be business-, social-, family-, or health-related focusing on the good — and if the good is not easily identifiable, hunting for it, you are more likely to be both successful and happy. I speak from experience as someone who has dealt with serious illness that if you look and give thanks for whatever silver lining you can related to the situation, such as the ability to help others dealing with the same illness, a greater appreciation of the simple things in life, the forcing of one to have more life balance, etc., you will fare better mentally and physically.

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The same holds true for any business situation. Thirty years of work experience has taught me that a positive attitude is infectious. If you are proposing or beginning a project with a strong belief that it will have positive outcomes, others will believe and approach the project with the same belief. This is one of the many things I love about being a consultant (and a leader, in general), and where I think consultants, regardless of their field of expertise, can really help. We aren’t battle-weary from internal and external politics and other challenges impacting a particular department or organization.

Consultants are like fresh troops who come into a situation with brand new ideas and eyes that bring renewed enthusiasm and energy to a situation because we believe that we can be effective and help lead individuals and teams of individuals to the best possible outcomes. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t do what we do for a living.

Belief that great results can be achieved and no challenge is insurmountable is a powerful thing. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen it work in your lives.