It’s amazing when someone joins LinkedIn and starts connecting. People can easily find others who might be in their local community, or share a common interest. Then it’s an easy enough and comfortable action to invite someone to connect to your network.
Yet I am quite surprised with some people who extend their hand when they are not quite ready.
Maybe they are new to networking let alone LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn has the reputation of being a most professional business online networking website, you would think people would from the get go act, well, professional.
It’s not always my experience.
If you are on LinkedIn and wonder why you aren’t attracting who you want to in your Connections or prospects or collaborators, consider how you can revitalize your presence there.
Your profile picture. For me, I want to see at least a semi-professional photo. That doesn’t mean a semi-photo of you where you have cropped yourself out of a family picture or one with your husband or wife. That doesn’t mean you in swim trunks or showing cleavage. That’s my take anyway. If I wanted to see this kind of side of you, I’d likely be connecting with you on Facebook. On LinkedIn, upload a professional or at a minimum a semi-professional photo of just you alone, one that gives you a more business image to onlookers.
Expect this possibility after sending an invitation to connect. In several LinkedIn discussion groups we’ve talked about using that fabulous LinkedIn feature to reply before connecting. I’m in lots of company and it was a relief to learn that so many people use this feature. But it seems many people do not understand how to handle getting a reply.
If you aren’t already connected, you are not magically connected from a reply before accepting your invitation, so make your next move with a reply count, if you want to build your network.
Not being able to state what you want. Since I always personalize an invitation to connect, on the rare times I do send one, people always know my intentions. My experience in using the reply before accept, tells me, either people don’t understand that networking is about marketing versus selling, or that they don’t understand LinkedIn.
Less than 20% of the people I email to tell them a bit about my connections, and ask how they see themselves fitting it, reply back.
This is a guess however, when 80% do not reply back to a query about what we are connecting for, either they do not have clear intentions, or they know they are there to jump into the selling process and can’t verbalize it, or they never get my reply question. That last option is highly unlikely but I do like giving people the benefit of doubt.
Know why you want to connect with someone and simply tell him or her. You’ll be delighted with growing your network this way.
What you do after a hiatus. Someone was noticeably quiet for a period of time, it could be for personal issues, getting into a new line of work, just wanting rest from networking, whatever, they’ve been on a vacation from LinkedIn.
A return from holiday usually comes with a direct email. What I’ve found from a few of my 1,200+ connections is that when people return, the first thing they say to me when they come back is, “Hello. I need your help.”
Really? How about “Hello, let me tell you what’s been happening.” Let’s start new again when you return instead of sliding down the selling trail from the get go.
With LinkedIn coming out with changes almost daily, or maybe weekly, it’s time to take advantage of things to revitalize how you connect with people.
Are we connected there yet?