Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if there were an online social network where people were focused on business? And how about one where you can find just about anyone you want to connect with or maybe even pitch your services?
Obviously, I’m talking about LinkedIn. (I’m guessing the post title tipped you off.) But I wanted to start this post that way to remind you just how amazing of an opportunity LinkedIn is. When people are on LinkedIn, they are focus on business and maximizing their career and business outcomes.
Which means that it’s a social network full of either valuable contacts or potential clients themselves!
But all of this doesn’t mean you should go wild and just click “Connect” on every person you see. In fact, that’s a pretty surefire way to make sure you DON’T build your network.
Instead, you should use five strategic tactics to ensure that your connections are much more genuine and valuable for both you and the person you’re trying to connect with.
Ready? Let’s dig in.
5 Essentials for Connecting on LinkedIn
1. Nix the pre-written copy
To make connecting “easier” for people, LinkedIn pre-populates copy along the lines of “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” Talk about a waste of a line! OBVIOUSLY, you want to connect with them, you clicked the button. And, especially since you’re a copywriter, there’s just no excuse for not taking the time to re-write this link. C’mon: You’re better than that!
2. Introduce yourself
This might sound obvious, but you’d be shocked at the number of people who try to connect to other people and never actually tell them who they are. Whether it’s a stranger or whether it’s someone you worked with several years ago, let people know who you are.
3. Give them a reason!
Not only is that pre-populated line redundant, but it also entirely sidesteps the concept of “benefit to consumer.” After all, you’re asking them to do something for you by connecting with you…so why should they? What is the benefit for them of connecting with you? (And, if YOU can’t think of a good reason why they should connect with you…well, why would you expect that they will?)
4. Provide value
This is kind of a pro-level tip, but if you really want to make a good impression on someone you’re connecting with, it’s beyond worth the time. So…provide value. Send a link to an article or a podcast or something along those lines that you think they’ll find interesting or useful (business-wise, of course). This is a GREAT way to immediately set yourself apart in a positive way.
5. Don’t make a request in the connection
A connection is not the time to make a pitch, ask for a phone call, ask to pick someone’s brain (quite possibly the worst request ever: “Can I get your valuable insight and experience for free?”), or anything like that. If you’re already making a request in the connection before they even know you, it makes the request all about you again (instead of focusing on the benefit to them) and basically makes it seem like you’re going to use the connection to get things from them. Expect a lot of deleted requests.
Is it a lot easier to just click the “connect” button and let LinkedIn put in its pre-written copy? Of course it is. But it also immediately conveys laziness and a lack of value for other people’s time. On top of the fact that you’re a copywriter: if you can’t take the time to write one or two great lines of copy here, what does it say about you and your copywriting services?
LinkedIn can be a fantastic resource…if you use it wisely. If not, it’s a really effective waste of your—and potential contacts’—time.
Your turn! Want to try out your new, non-generic LinkedIn connection intro copy? Post it in the comments below.