If you are a fan of college basketball, you know that the following schools made it to the Final Four this weekend:

  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Syracuse University
  • Villanova University

The Final Four is one of the most popular sporting events in the country. Alumni and fans of these schools are passionate about cheering their teams onto the national championship.

So why not use this as a great opportunity to congratulate your Linkedin Connections who went to these schools?

The strategy is similar to the Keep in Touch feature in LinkedIn wherein members can send a quick congratulatory note when their connections experience some positive event like:

  • New Job/Promotion
  • Work Anniversary
  • News Mention
  • Birthday

Sending a short note raises your stock with the recipient by letting them know you are thinking of them. Dale Carnegie would love it.

Here is a video and instructions showing how to do it:

1. Go to “Advanced Search” and select filter criteria as shown below. The resulting page shows all your connections to congratulate.

a) Relationship = 1st Connections

b) School = “University of North Carolina”, “University of Oklahoma”, “Syracuse University”, “Villanova University”

NOTE: Make sure you use the quotation marks to get that exact school. Otherwise LinkedIn just searches for the words in any combination. If you are not paying attention, you’ll end up congratulating people who went to North Carolina State University (a UNC rival). Not good!

2. Because LinkedIn removed the BCC: feature in its Messaging overhaul, you’ll have to copy and paste to each one manually (Watch the video to hear about a secret mass-messaging app).

3. Send a congratulatory note like this:

Congratulations on the Tar Heels making it to the Final Four.

Good luck making history.

The “Thank Yous” are pouring in already and each one gives me an opportunity to continue a conversation.

As a reference point, about 1% of my network is from schools in The Final Four. That’s not bad, considering I did not grow up or ever work in three of the four areas. I did live in Chapel Hill for about 1.5 years so more than half of my lists are Tar Heels.

Let me know what % of your Connections made the cut and what sort of responses you get.