I have received over 100 requests to connect on LinkedIn in the last three weeks. It’s hard to keep up with them all.
I don’t just do a quick look at the name and title and hit ‘Accept.’ I open the person’s profile, see what they’re doing now, and what they’ve done historically. More often than not I come away pretty impressed. I then drop the person a personal note by hitting the ‘Reply’ link that’s displayed after I accept the invitation to connect.
Am I nuts? Maybe, but I have met some wonderful people this way. People who I have come to establish a business relationship with as a client or strategic partner of LexBlog’s.
I couldn’t imagine not having LinkedIn go out and identify people I’d like to meet, and to then prompt them to send me an invitation to connect. How beautiful is that?
Going through my list of 100 invites, I look for the folks who took the time to send a personalized note with their invitation. Personalized meaning they didn’t default to the stock LinkedIn invitations of “I’d like to add you to my professional network” or “Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.”
When I see the personalized notes, I know those folks took the time to care. I try to pay them the same courtesy. I may even remember them over other people — not my intent, but when you’re going on 58 and meet as many people as I do via the net, memory can be a problem.
Of the 100 requests to connect I’ve received in the last few weeks, only four included a personalized note. Four.
Do you send a personal note with a request to connect? If not, why not? Aren’t you looking to engage the person you are asking to connect with in a meaningful way? Are you just looking to rack up as many connections as possible? Wouldn’t you want to distinguish yourself from those who take the easier way out? Aren’t you looking to grow your book of business?
Your note need not be much. Just something to indicate why you thought of connecting. Maybe referencing something you saw in their profile. Maybe just saying it was great to meet you yesterday.
One of LinkedIn’s greatest shortcomings is that it does not permit personalized invites from their mobile app. Hit or brush over the ‘Connect’ button and you’re 90% of the way to being hitched, via the stock invite you just sent out.
So ‘personalized connecting’ is going to be done via your laptop for the time being. After LinkedIn gets enough people connected for its devices, it’s bound to allow us to show some common courtesy to each other. We are professionals after all.
For those of you who I have not gotten back to on your request to connect, I’ll get there. I am even looking for a social media intern/coordinator who can help me keep up with things.