A LinkedIn invitation is a personal branding doorway. It’s the portal through which others decide to walk through to be a part of your community. Are they going to answer your networking knock or pass you by?
It’s the first step in making a first impression with someone you want to add to your network. There are two mistakes most members make with LinkedIn invitations. One is not customizing it. The other is not responding to acceptances.
By not using these two touchpoints, you leave ‘relationship currency’ on the table. Using LinkedIn invitations is the best way to start, revive or expand your business connections to help you build your social brand.
90% of the invites that I receive have generic LinkedIn-provided headlines and copy. LinkedIn provides each member with 3,000 invites to ‘last a lifetime.’ So, you have plenty of chances to make a terrific first impression.
Using LinkedIn invitations is the best way to start, revive or expand your business connections to help you build your social brand.Gerry Moran
With a 300-character limit on LinkedIn invitations, you have at your disposal an essential personal branding tool. A tool to help you with your networking, reputation building, and social selling.
Here’s a five-point, end-to-end plan to think about your LinkedIn invitation strategy.
5 Ways to a Better LinkedIn Invitation
1. Engage with your contact before you send an invitation
Before you send an invitation, make sure you check out your invitee’s LinkedIn feed — liking, sharing, and commenting on their updates. If you see something that connects with you, then engage with meaning. Like. Share. Or, comment. Your actions will show up on your What a great way to make a great first impression without being intrusive! A Comment is always the best way to get on another’s radar.
PRO TIP. Make sure to Like and respond to every response you get to your comments, even if it’s a thumbs up.
2. Follow your potential network member before you ask them to connect
LinkedIn lets you follow anyone without actually having to connect with them. It’s an easy two-step process: click the contact’s ‘More’ button and then the ‘+Follow’ button, and then you’re in! Once you follow them, it’ll be easier for you to see when they post. Then you’ll have more opportunities to engage with their messaging.
PRO TIP. Be selective with your engagement so as not to appear spammy. Like a lot. Share often. Comment selectively with value-add input.
3. Always customize your LinkedIn invitation
You need a “LinkedIn pick-up line” for each of your potential connections. Bosses, past co-workers, customers, and others require a different networking approach. There’s no one-stop approach to sending invites. Customized invitations help provide context to your contact request. They allow you ‘make the sale.’ You have 300 characters to make a connection!
PRO TIP. Create customized templates for each of your networking groups.
4. Make sure your LinkedIn invitation starts to tell your story — different ones to different audiences
Your invitations need to include a personalized salutation, an explanation of the context for your connection, a description of why you want to connect, a review of the mutual benefits of joining in on your network, a call to action, and a “thank you.”
PRO TIP. Sign your name with your Twitter handle to make sure your contact can reach you in other ways.
5. Respond to LinkedIn invitations and when others accept yours
Adding a note to reply to an invitation or when someone accepts yours is a smart move. Your LinkedIn network is about having a conversation. Your response to a trigger, like an acceptance to an invitation, is just continuing it. Don’t just click that accept button when you get an invite! Say something back.
PRO TIP. Use this opportunity to respond with your content or call to action to take people to your other social media accounts, blog, or an article they might find interesting.
3 Personal Branding Articles You Should Read
- 42 Ways to Start a Conversation on LinkedIn
- How to Take Your LinkedIn Profile to the Next Level
- 10 Social Media Touchpoints to Get on Someone’s Radar
Do you have other LinkedIn invitation tips and tricks to help you make a strong connection to grow your network? Please share your experience (screenshots welcome!) below or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is extremely easy to turn your biggest LinkedIn mistake around! Take the time to introduce yourself, explain why you are connected and why it would be useful to connect. And, respond to each of your invites to move your business relationships to the next level!