“Hi X, it’s great to meet you. I love your content and I’m always looking to connect with like-minded people. Let’s connect and share value!”
What’s wrong with the above message? It’s polite, conveys enthusiasm, and keeps things professional. It’s also lazy, generic, and impersonal. Connecting with the right people engaging with insights are foundational LinkedIn skills. LinkedIn messaging is the tool you will be using to accomplish both of these things.
Despite this, the majority of LinkedIn users are failing to use messaging effectively. Most users fall into the trap of using the above message as a template. They send these messages out en masse and are then left wondering why they aren’t getting the engagement they’re looking for. If this sounds like you, worry not, because in this article we’ll be crafting the ultimate LinkedIn messaging blueprint.
Personalize Personalize Personalize
If you take only one thing from this article, let it be this: YOU MUST PERSONALISE YOUR MESSAGES. This doesn’t just mean adding a personal touch to a pre-made template either. Every message you send on LinkedIn, aside from very select cases, should be personalized to the person receiving them.
This goes for both connection requests with new contacts and messages to existing connections.
Why is this so important?
It shows that you care about the person you are trying to connect with. Personalizing your request shows that you’ve taken the time to get to know a little bit about them as opposed to just adding someone new to your network.
If this person is a potential customer, personalizing your request is the first step in building the mutual trust that will be essential as the relationship matures. Think of your message as that first spark that will ignite the fires of mutual benefit.
How do you personalize a message?
How can you make a message personal if you do not yet have a relationship with this person? Check their profile.
The profile page is a potential goldmine of information. It allows you to learn about a person’s professional experience, find out what they do, and even find out why they do it. This is why a fully completed and optimized profile is so important, which you can read about here.
Each section of a person's profile has the potential to serve as a starting point for a message, so let’s go through them.
The “Headline” section
The headline section of your profile is your opportunity to tell your network what you do and how you do it. As such, this is your first point of focus when personalizing a message. Read and understand the person's headline, and then use it as a platform for asking more questions. Show a genuine interest in what they do and that interest will be reciprocated.
Let’s take our marketing manager, Ben, as an example. From his headline, we can see what he does and how he does it, and we can also see he has some other professional interests. Asking about any of these topics would be a great way to start a conversation.
The “About” section
If the headline section isn’t giving you what you need, the about section may bear more fruit. A well-crafted about section will give more information about what the person does, but also make clear why they do it. As such, this can provide plenty of inspiration for you to ask some engaging questions.
From the above example, we now know why Ben does what he does, and we also have some more information about his other professional interests. All good conversation starters.
The “Featured” section
The featured section is a showcase of a person's proudest achievements or best pieces of content. By asking about these, you show that you've taken the time to read a little more than just the first page of a profile, and that you've really taken the time to analyse their profile.
The “Experience” section
The experience section can again provide plenty of inspiration for adding a personal touch to your messages.
It’s rare to come across someone who has shared the same professional journey as you. This means you’ll have plenty of prompts available to you when reaching out. A well crafted experience section may also have links to company relevant content which can provide even more inspiration for messages.
The “Education” section, and “Licenses and certifications”
Shared experience is a fantastic way to build relationships. The education section will tell you which college someone went to (if any). From here you have options, from what they majored in through to which societies were they a part of. Maybe you even went to the same school, in which case you have an instant rapport.
“Skills & Endorsements”
This is where someone showcases what they’re really good at. Ask them how they got so good, or if you’re not familiar with a skillset, ask for some clarification. More often than not, people will be passionate about what they’re good at, so this can be a great conversation starter.
Recommendations are one of the most powerful parts of a LinkedIn profile. The profile social proof that someone is as good as they say they are at what they do. Here you can find testimonials from colleagues, clients, and collaborators. Ask about them.
A completed profile will finish with an interests section. This section allows you to find out what makes your new connection tick outside of their professional life. LinkedIn, despite being professionally focussed, isn’t just about work. Ask questions about the person's interests and chances are they’ll be more than happy to share with you.
The personal touch
Personalizing your messages on LinkedIn is a foundational skill. If you’re looking to bolster your SSI, it’s also one you cannot be without. A personal touch when connecting with someone new shows that you have taken some time out of your day to get to know someone, instead of just firing of yet another generic connection request. A new connections profile is a potential goldmine of conversation starters. By parsing through each section, you’ll unearth plenty of valuable information which you can then use to start to build trust. Trust is the foundation of all relationships, so invest in it early, and it will pay dividends as the relationship matures!