Networking and using social networks is so important in today’s business world. Knowing the etiquette of the social or business network that you are using is pretty much critical to your success.
One of the most important networks from a business perspective at the moment is LinkedIn – a network I’ve been using almost from its inception in December 2002. And though it’s evolving, there is one thing that remains the same on LinkedIn, and that’s how to connect with people successfully.
That’s what I want to have a look at today, particularly using mobile appliances, because judging by my own reactions and feedback from people I’m connected to, this is an area in which a lot of people make huge mistakes.
- Decide who you want to connect with on LinkedIn? In my experience, they tend to be:
- People you know socially
- Business acquaintances that you’ve had some contact with
- Business people that you would like to be connected to because it would be of benefit to you and, if the relationship is to develop, also to them
- Always send a personalised message whether you know the person or not. With people that you know socially the message is easy- just send them an appropriate message given your level of friendship. With known business associates, always send a business-like message. For people that I know relatively well and would automatically understand the collaborative nature of our business relationship is: “Dear xxxx, I would like to invite you to my business network on LinkedIn. Kind regards, Patricia”. There are some business acquaintances that might need reminding how you know each other or how you met. For example, people that you met at a networking event or have only contacted once. For people that you don’t know at all, the message is more important. First, do your research about who they are and what they do. Next, you’ll have to tell them why you want to connect with them, and also how it will benefit them. I will often reject invitations from people that I don’t know and who don’t take these three steps when inviting me to connect.
- How do you send this message? When using a PC or laptop the process of personalising your message is easy, but doing so on a mobile device is less obvious. So here’s how:
- Search for the person that you want to connect with
- Click on their page – don’t immediately connect
- In the top right corner of their page you will see three white dots on the blue background
- Click on this and select the ‘personalise invite’ option
- Then send the personalised message as above
- LinkedIn is a network for business communication, don’t make the mistake of using it as a social network! It is more formal than Facebook or Twitter.
Hopefully this will help you increase your response rate on LinkedIn, and of course feel free to connect with me and ask me any questions.