There’s a common ”online oops” that many of us are guilty of — and it’s making us “LinkedIn Losers.”
The other day, I received a typical request to connect via LinkedIn – with the all-too-familiar template invitation of:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
So-and-So has indicated you are a Friend.”
Ho Hum. Snooze.
Certainly we could do better than this, couldn’t we?
This “invitation to connect” has three main issues:
1. It’s Impersonal.
The individual didn’t even bother to type in my name or a greeting, such as “Hi Cathy” or “Dear Cathy” –which would at least make me think the message is not some bulk email they’ve sent to everyone , but rather, a personal message to me.
2. It’s Generic.
Nothing says “lazy” or “thoughtless” like using the boilerplate template supplied by LinkedIn to connect with people. I know the “Include a Personal Note” section says “optional”, but you really couldn’t take the 60 seconds or so needed to write a short message about how we might know one another or why you’d like to connect? Really?!
3. It’s Misleading.
When you create an invitation to connect, LinkedIn gives you some options regarding how you might know someone:
• We’ve Done Business Together
• I Don’t Know This Person.
“Friend.” ironically, is the only choice that doesn’t require you to input any information that indicates you actually know the person – such as the company where you worked together, the school you both attended, the person’s email address, an online group that you both belong to, etc. I find more and more that people simply choose the “Friend” option because they DON’T know the person they are trying to connect with. Chalk it up to being deceitful or just plain lazy.
Interesting Note: The person who indicated that they were a “Friend” of mine was actually a vendor that I had to discontinue working with due to various issues with their work. I had heard nothing from them since that time – until this message.
If this person had at least used my name and a personalized message such as “I see you’ve re-branded. Hope business is going well.” I would have had a much more positive impression and considered connecting with them. As it was, they didn’t seem to put any thought at all into the connection request, so I assumed it was either a mistake or simply a bulk/generic invitation to connect.
Do Your Reputation a Favor
How you represent yourself and communicate with others online directly affects your reputation. You don’t want to carelessly damage your reputation because you approached someone online in a sloppy or spammy way.
Nobody wants to receive an impersonal, generic or misleading message from someone they may or may not know online. Take a few extra seconds to craft a personalized, thoughtful message and you will stand out – in a GREAT way – from the majority of LinkedIn users.
Have any other tips or “pet peeves” about LinkedIn that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Leave your comments, tips and suggestions below!