By Leanne Calderwood
When you are growing your network by sending connection requests, ensure you personalize the message that accompanies your request. This could help you stand out amongst dozens of requests. Whether someone is an influencer or they are weary of connecting with everyone, a personalized invite will capture their attention.
You can really stand out by giving your potential connecting something of value—a resource, a website link or another connection. It can reference the work that they do, or perhaps another interest they have as evident in their profile. The valuable insight is not in exchange for anything, but rather given freely and without expectation of a return gift. The same value-based contribution can be given to those that connect with you first.
As with all social media platforms, LinkedIn is not where you sell your product all the time, especially to those you are trying to connect with. LinkedIn is where you start selling you and your personal brand. The hard sell will not work here, especially in the initial connection request invitation, and you’ll lose interest from your new connection if you try to feature-dump your product 24/7. Rather, use LinkedIn as a place to build trust in you as their advisor, and in your product as a solution. When the time comes for the sell, you will have built up some credibility and trust, and the transition will be much easier.
Engage with your 2nd- or 3rd-degree connections by engaging in their content before you send a connection request; this will increase your visibility with the connection tenfold. They will see your name and your comment prior to the connection request, thus making the request more warm in nature. Thank them for the content in your connection request, and post a thoughtful comment or ask a thoughtful question in return. Engaging in other comments also increases your visibility with members of their network. Go beyond the “like” and the “great post,” and provide your thought leadership into the discussion.
Your own LinkedIn content could have received engagement from like-minded professionals who are not necessarily 1st-degree connections. Dive into your own content’s engagement to see who’s hanging out, they could become great connections!
If you are aware of your 2nd-degree connections’ areas of thought leadership, tag them into discussions posted by others on LinkedIn. Your tag will end up in their notifications, and make your connection request more relevant. Remember to only tag content that you know they would find interesting or valuable. You don’t want to come across as spammy. Be selective to what they would find of value.
Extend invitations to those that have engaged on your content, and nurture them to find other like-minded individuals that may find value in your future content. This is a great way to find communities to help grow your personal brand.
Leanne Calderwood, CMP is one of the hospitality industry’s most preeminent LinkedIn experts, and one of Canada’s top voices in the meetings and events industry.