How many times have you received the default LinkedIn invitation that reads “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” and wondered “Who is this person and why are they inviting me?”?
Sending the default message is amateur. It makes you look like everybody else. It does not differentiate you as a professional and it has a much lower acceptance rate than if you were to customize the message. At its core, LinkedIn is built on relationships. This requires a little bit of effort to actually have personal communications rather than just take the easy route of default messages.
That’s why I developed a simple four step process for writing a professional LinkedIn invitation. Here are the four steps:
1. Establish Context. Example: “It was good to meet you at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.” That narrows it down for the receiver because they know they actually met you and where (RSA).
2. Establish Rapport. Example: “Your company’s growth is impressive.” That shows you were listening with a positive statement.
3. State Your Standard Positioning Statement – the value you deliver to your customers. Example: “My company helps growing businesses simplify their data and networking challenges.” This should be similar to the Headline on your LinkedIn Profile.
4. Call to Action. Example: It’s pretty simple for an invitation. Example: “Let’s connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch.” That’s a pretty gentle ask.
As you can see, the last the first part of this formula is always custom written for the situation. The second half can be standard boilerplate every time. I keep a standard invitation in a Word document for easy cut and paste. That way I only have to write the first two parts. It takes 15 to 20 seconds to differentiate yourself as a true professional. The character limit for invitations is 300 characters, including spaces. Be brief and do not include links. This example is237 characters (79% of the allotted length)
Compare the default: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
To the Custom:“It was good to meet you at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Your company’s growth is impressive. My company helps growing businesses simplify their data and networking challenges. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch.”
Which one would impress you more as the receiver?
A word of caution: Many of the interfaces on LinkedIn trick you by giving you a Connect button that will instantly send the default message without giving you the option of custom writing an invitation. This is particularly common in the mobile platforms of the iPad or smart phone. While some of the newer forms included the capability to send a custom message, your best bet is to just click all the way through to the individual’s full profile. From there, the connect button will give you the opportunity to send a custom message.
Do you have any other ideas that you’ve used to increase the professionalism and acceptance rate on your LinkedIn invitations?