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By Sarah Santacroce at Simplicity. Free image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

On my “13 Simple Techniques To Get More Leads with LinkedIn” webinar one of the participants asked:

“Should I accept invitations from people I don’t know?”

Good question. The more connections, the bigger your reach. So technically it’s a good business strategy to accept everyone’s invitation. But yet, I don’t recommend this approach. In this post I’m sharing:

My very personal LinkedIn Connections Strategy

“A contact only becomes a connection when there’s some kind of exchange between the two parties”. Click here to share this quote on Twitter

It’s not just a numbers game.

Yes, it’s true that your reach increases the more connections you have in your network. But just like on Facebook, the numbers alone won’t guarantee your success. Even though LinkedIn is a business network, don’t forget that “people do business with people”. So if you just have numbers in your network, and not real connections, you won’t get anything back from your marketing efforts.

So Sarah, what’s your LinkedIn Connections Strategy?

1. Always accept invitations with a personal message

Whenever I get a personalized invitation on LinkedIn, I ALWAYS accept it. The fact that the person made the effort to customize the default message and tell me why they’d like to connect with me shows me that they really care. I then accept the invitation and send them a message back to thank them for the invite.

Linkedin screen shot

Use this tip also when you invite people to connect. Always customize the LinkedIn message!

2. No personal message: look at the person’s profile then decide

If you receive a non-customized invitation, have a look at the person’s profile. Maybe you’ve met them at a recent event , maybe you’ve been in touch by e-mail, maybe they are one of your Facebook fans… If none of those options apply, maybe they are at least in an industry that’s similar to yours or your target audience. If that’s the case, accept the invitation. And then make the first step to turn that contact into a connection. Reach out and send them a short message. For example: “Thanks for your invitation. I remember meeting you at… I’m glad we’re connected here on LinkedIn now…”. I get an answer 90% of the time!


3. If non of the above apply, decide if you want to make the first step or ignore the invitation

If you ruled out that you know the person, he/she is not a potential future client or joint partner, is not in a geographical area where you do business … then decide on your next move:

Will you make the first step, i.e. accept the invitation and then send a message to find out how this person knew about you and why he/she wanted to connect with you?

or

Will you simply ignore the invitation and move on?

If you accept without reaching out to them, then this contact will remain a number and not turn into a connection.

 

So that’s my LinkedIn connections strategy. It’s all about making it personal. 

Author's Bio

santacroce_webSarah Santacroce is a certified social media, internet marketing, and virtual event specialist. She enjoys every aspect of small business marketing. It is her mission to help other small businesses and solopreneurs increase their visibility and use social media tools as part of their marketing strategy.

Sarah draws on 12 years of experience in Business Administration, in fields ranging from Employee Training to Public Relations at big and small companies. She became interested in Online Marketing and Social Media to promote her own business and after lots of research and numerous classes and webinars she is now offering that knowledge to other small- to mid-sized businesses who struggle to find their place on the web.

This article is the second in a series of regular contributions that Sarah will be making to her guest blog on knowitall.ch.  You can see more articles from Sarah on her own website at: www.simplicityadmins.ch

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