Maximize Linkedin by Personalizing Your Invitations to Connect

With over 150 million members LinkedIn is an excellent source for business and individuals to network, hire new employees, conduct research and exchange information on professional topics related to your niche in security.  LinkedIn members tend to be highly engaged and it is the social media site most often used for professional networking. Therefore, when establishing and developing your personal network of connections, remember the importance of communicating in a personal way with people when you invite others to connect with you. The saying you never get a second chance to make a first impression applies online as well as in person. So, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your LinkedIn experience I recommend you make the effort to tailor your invitations to others that you would like to connect with on the site.

To you it may make perfect sense why you should connect with someone on LinkedIn, however, you must help that individual to arrive at the same conclusion instead of assuming they will do so on their own accord. Regardless of your existing relationship with the person you are inviting, even if you have never met or talked with them before, it is crucial that you customize your request to that person! When you use the default invitation, you know the one, “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network,” you offer no motivation to the person you are asking to connect to assist you.

Remember, some people are known by a much wider circle of people than they can possibly know themselves. As an example, think of someone who travels frequently making presentations and speaking to groups and imagine how many people know their name.  The truth of the matter is they are unlikely to remember an encounter with an attendee. When the recipient of your invitation fails to recognize you, they are more likely to ignore your request to connect.  There is even the possibility that they could select the “I Don’t Know” or “Report as Spam” option that LinkedIn provides. Be aware that if three people respond to your invitation request this way, LinkedIn will freeze your account and your privileges on the site can be revoked.

It’s not necessary to compose a long note as your invitation – a couple of sentences will do the trick. The point is not to be long winded, but to personalize your invitation request with this info:

1.    How you previously met, know or came across the person you are asking to connect with you. Convey something uniquely personal.

2.    Why you want to connect with them. Are you reconnecting, expanding your network or you have another common connection.

3.    Your offer of value or reciprocity to them.

An invitation with this information will serve as a courteous reminder to the other party about who you are.  In addition, an invitation is perfect as a follow-up to a first meeting, or a reminder of a previous relationship you may have shared with that person. You don’t want the person opening your invitation and thinking to himself, “What does he want from me.” Instead, have them thinking: “Wow. It’s sure nice that he/she followed up with me!” Or, better yet: “It’s good to hear from him/her!”

Try these four examples of a LinkedIn invitation that you can customize to fit your circumstances:

  • Hi______, it was nice to see you at the recent ASIS meeting! As a follow-up to our conversation about security industry trends, I would like to connect with you here on LinkedIn to network further and explore other areas of common interest we share. This is a way in which we can both expand our professional networks. Naturally, if you would like me to introduce you to any of my contacts, please let me know! I would be happy to do so. My thanks to you in advance for accepting my invitation.
  • Hello ______, although we’ve not met before, I read the article you wrote in the June edition of Security Management magazine. I value the insights you shared on cargo security concerns because of my role in Port Security. In your article you mentioned that you would be happy hear from readers on this topic and I would like to accept your offer to do that. If there is any way that I can help you in return, please do reach out to me. Thanks again for sharing your expertise on cargo security issues!
  • Hi ______, you may recall, we did some business together/worked together when I was in the Business Development position at ABC Security Company last year. I realize it has been some time since we last spoke, however I am reaching out now in hopes that through LinkedIn we can maintain our business relationship, and also assist each other in expanding our professional networks. I always look to recommend those with whom I share a connection, and would be happy to assist you in any way possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime! Thanks in advance for accepting my invitation.
  • Hello ______, last week I was part of the audience when you gave a fascinating presentation to the (ISC) 2 group. Your point about cloud-specific security risks was very important because cloud security is an emerging topic that needs to be addressed more deeply. I would appreciate connecting with you here on LinkedIn and joining your network. I am a professional with expertise in the area of cloud security and am actively seeking to expand my knowledge base and develop more contacts in this field that can share and exchange knowledge. In addition, I am looking for a new career opportunity. Please contact me if there is anything I might do to be of assistance to you! I would be happy to be a professional resource for you. Thanks again for your informative presentation to our group, and for accepting my LinkedIn invite.”

As a long-time LinkedIn user I am a big supporter of the site. It has so much to offer users in addition to the networking opportunities. So, if you looking to expand your network and would like to connect with me please send me an invitation. I look forward to seeing your personalized invitation in my inbox. You can see my profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidlammert

David Lammert

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