This one goes out to the fellas (anyone really). Remember as a young buck growing up the advice old Dad used to give you? If you were lucky enough (really?) to get the dating advice, you know that one of his pearls went something like this..
“Watch out son, for the ladies who don’t play hard to get and are too easy to [pick up, date, fill in your own father phrase]. They’re usually trouble and will cost you in the end.”
When it comes to social media, the easy pick up has its share of baggage too. It can spell trouble, cost you more, or at a minimum have dwindling value. Look no further than the white collar professional’s best networking friend, LinkedIn.
Making Connections on LinkedIn
I love LinkedIn. I really do. In my line of work I meet the coolest people there and have built a nice network of talented pros that I can contact for advice and, on occasion, business. If you’ve traversed LinkedIn, you may have noticed their restrictive policies when it comes to making new friends. LinkedIn is adamant with their “only connect with people you know” rule. Try to connect with the president of your biggest target client, and you have to have a connection in some way. For LinkedIn, that means
- He/She is a colleague
- A classmate
- You’ve done business together
- You are friends
- You don’t know him/her
If you’ve ever been through the sending out the invite process, you know what happens when you select any of the radar buttons. Colleagues, Classmates and Done Business connections require you to select from a dropdown list of common companies or schools. Of course you can select one under false pretenses, but that would be lying, and people who read this blog don’t lie, cheat or steal. If you select Friend or Other, you need to enter his or her email address, and you’d better be right or else you get the lough buzzer and are blocked from connecting.
So what’s an ambitious young networked to do to meet new friends?
The LinkedIn Premium Account
Of course, there is a solution. By upgrading to the LinkedIn Premium Account in one of its forms, you can get a varying number of LinkedIn InMails to reach out to total strangers. For the right price, the rule of “only connect with people you know” gets temporarily waived. The higher level account you buy, the more Inmails you get. LinkedIn is now a public company and folks, it has to make money too. Charging for connections via membership premiums is a key revenue source for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn’s Mobile App
“Hey wait, Karl!”, you say.
“There’s another free solution! I have the FREE LinkedIn mobile app and I can just connect to ‘people I may know’ without any context at all. HAHA Loser!”
That’s right, the LinkedIn mobile app pops up people you may know and at the touch of a button you can blast an invite out without the necessary context. Of course, you would NEVER use the standard LinkedIn “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” text, would you? If you answered YES to that question, you haven’t read your LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook.
Now here comes the rub with the mobile app. I found this out from one of my clients who was expanding his network on LinkedIn like many of you. You see, I bet you do just click and send out invites. You’re driving, for Pete’s sake, so it has to be easy! Your potential network recipients get a bunch of unsolicited, out of context invites from you.
Guess what that makes you?
A LinkedIn Spammer is what!
So many of them click on the “I don’t know” radar button. And now back to Dad’s advice, the trouble with the easy pickup. You see, LinkedIn counts those “I don’t know” tags and after you hit a certain number of them, freezes your account and puts you on LinkedIn probation.
“Wait a minute Karl, why would LinkedIn have an app that makes connections a finger click away, only to penalize you for the results when people say they don’t know you?”
Good question, and frankly I don’t know. But, reread the Premium Account section above and see that if you pay enough, you can at least partially avoid this bad scene.
Say it ain’t so man!
Get Context with Anyone On LinkedIn
So here comes a secret that some know about but many don’t. I’m going to share it with you because I like you, really I do. You can connect with total strangers on LinkedIn and build your network quickly with key targets and prospects with little in the way of limitations. So how do you do it?
First, forget connecting with people you have nothing in common with. Go get something in common with them, and that something is…
Get in the Interest Groups of the people you want to associate with. Read the posts, make comments, place likes, and then visit the member list. Find the people you want to connect with, roll your mouse to the right until the Invite to Connect link pops up, and click on it.
See the additional context generating radar button up there? If you’re only in one common group with her or him, LinkedIn will simply list that group. If you really do run in the same circles, as one would think you might, you may be in several groups that the other person is in and you will have a drop down to pick from.
Wah-lah! No email required. No school or common company. But you’re not done. Instead of using the tired, spammer using standard LinkedIn invite text, try something like this:
“I came across your profile as a fellow member of this group, and you seemed like a great person to connect with. Please accept my invitation to connect. I have a great, growing network and will NEVER spam marketing you. Karl”
The underlined portion is optional and usually isn’t required.
Use this method and watch your LinkedIn connect rate reach about 75% to all the people you want to reach out to, without paying anything extra, and grow your network as fast as you like. It’s still a one at a time, contact sport, but this will expand your network of contacts faster than you thought possible. People like to connect with people who think alike and travel in the same circles, so there is nothing illegal or wrong with this practice.
I present this technique to you free of charge. You are free to send money for whatever value you think it is worth.
Need help with your LinkedIn Marketing strategy? Learn about LinkedIn Profile Optimization now!
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