This week we are pleased to present our first Guest Blogger, Thin Pig friend Mic Johnson of Blue Gurus. Blue Gurus is a content marketing, LinkedIn training, and website development company in Kansas City.
Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband
I’m going to ask you a question and I already know what your answer will be. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that 100% of the people who read this question will have the exact same answer.
Have you ever received a LinkedIn connection request from someone you didn’t know that read:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”?
Of course the answer is YES. We all have. It’s one of the most annoying LinkedIn “bugs” that happens to every single one of us, often multiple times a week. Even worse, it wastes time and discourages engagement, which is the exact opposite thing a social network is supposed to do.
A big reason why this happens is because LinkedIn hasn’t made it obvious how to personalize LinkedIn connection requests. (HINT: The easiest way is to do it from your computer and click the blue CONNECT button directly from a person’s LinkedIn profile page). One of these days LinkedIn will wake up and make personalizing invitations the default option anytime you hit the blue CONNECT button anywhere on their site or app. But until then…
I’m guessing you’re like most people and, when you get a connection request with the default “invitation” message and you don’t know the person, you hit the IGNORE button.
I’m here to tell you that, especially if you have business development responsibilities, you need to immediately stop doing that and start doing this instead:
1. Move your mouse and hover over the “invitations” icon in the upper right hand corner of your LinkedIn account.
2. Click on “Pending Invitations”.
3. Instead of hitting the IGNORE button, hit the little arrow that appears to the right of the person’s picture.
4. Type a message asking the person why they were interested in connecting with you. Here’s a message I use often:
Thank you for the connection request. I wanted to let you know that I typically connect to people who I’ve met, know, trust, respect, can vouch for, etc. It’s certainly nothing personal; just how I choose to grow and protect my network.
Please let me know what interested you in connecting and what led you to my profile. If you’re interested in the services that Blue Gurus provides, I’d be happy to set up a time to chat by phone.
Ever since LinkedIn rolled out the “chat” feature, I’ve been regularly using this approach. And when I do, I get responses back from people 95% of the time. Below are a few actual responses I’ve received recently:
“I am looking for a reputable firm in the KC area with Word Press expertise. I ran across your profile and company based on a search directly related to that. Let me know if you have an interest in discussing your Word Press related skills and services. Dave”
“Hi Mic, I connected with you because of two mutual connections… I also have a friend looking to start a website and wanted to refer you to her. Please feel free to not accept my invitation. Thank you for asking. Have a great day. Dawn”
“Mic, I appreciate that. Honestly i was looking at hitting follow, rather than friend request just because I am trying to “see” more of the influencers in my feed and, both “LinkedIn Trainer” and “WordPress Website Guy” both jumped at me, when I stumbled onto your profile/ Not taking it personal, I totally understand the need to protect your network. I do not need any services at this point in time, but will keep it in mind if the need arises. Thank you for your reply. Sincerely, Laurence”
“Good Day Mic, I recently started following you based on a comment you made on someone else’s positive post. I just appreciate motivating individuals to help the entire team succeed vs. going at it alone and being miserable. I have read a few of your posts and thought I’d like to connect. I understand that you limit yourself and I am content to continue to follow you. Stay positive you’re doing tons of good! Make it a great day! Carrie”
So what’s the point of all of this? If you just hit the IGNORE button and don’t take the time to engage with people, you’re potentially missing out on real business opportunities, career opportunities, new subscribers/audience for your blog, new LinkedIn followers, the chance to add quality relationships to your network, and who knows what else!
Again, a big reason all of us have to deal with this “extra step” is because of LinkedIn. But another reason is because people can be REALLY LAZY when it comes to using LinkedIn effectively. (Pretty crazy how many people still have horrible LinkedIn profiles, isn’t it?)
The good news? Now that I’ve shown you exactly what to do, you don’t have an excuse anymore to not engage people who are interested in connecting with you! I’m not saying you have to do this process every single time.
I’m not saying you have to connect to everyone you engage with. But I am saying that you owe it to yourself to take this simple extra step to see if it might lead to something that could be beneficial to you, your company, your career, etc. for years to come.
Does your business need help with LinkedIn? We’ve been helping companies for the last 7 years learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively. We’d love to help you. To learn more, give me a call at 913-645-6650 or email me at email@example.com.
If your team needs help with LinkedIn, please reach out to Mic: firstname.lastname@example.org