What are Best Practices for Connecting on LinkedIn?

By: Viveka Monday August 23, 2010 comments Tags: LinkedIn, LinkedIn Tips, LinkedIn Expert Tips, #LinkedInChat

In the recent webinar I did with MLTCreative on LinkedIn for B2B Marketing, there were several questions we were unable to get to during the presentation.  I will be answering many of them in my blog posts over the next few weeks.

Sandra H. asked:  How do you recommend that we connect with people who we don't know on LinkedIn?

When inviting people to connect on LinkedIn, there are limited options to show your relationship:

    • Colleague

    • Classmate

    • We’ve done business together

    • Groups

    • Other

    • And I don’t know…

Obviously if any of the first three options apply, use them.

You can use the “friend” option without knowing the other person's email address if you haven't been "dinged" (reported) too many times as someone  the person you are trying to connect to doesn't know. If you can use the "friend" option, (or any of the other options) make sure you create a personalized message.  Let people know why you are connecting with them.  How you found them.  What about their profile intrigued you.  You have a much better chance of getting your invitation accepted (or at the least, not tagged as an IDK or spam) if you tell them why you want to connect.

An option I will often use, if it is available, is the “group” option.  As long as a LinkedIn member has joined a group, and has not turned off the ability to connect through a group, you can reach out to them this way.

You may need to join a group they are a member of, wait to be accepted, and then when you are, send them a message asking them if they will accept an invitation.  This is more time consuming, but will not cost you an “InMail” or an “Introduction”.   If you ask them first to connect before you send the invitation, you will also be less likely to get spammed or IDK’d.

Your other option, of course, is to use one of your introductions.  Take the time to fully explain why you want to connect, not only to the end party, but also to the person connecting you.

If you have a paid account, you can use an InMail.

Some people will put their contact information in the “Contact Setting” at the bottom of the LinkedIn profile – and you can either use that information to contact them directly, or to get access to them as a “friend”  (Once again, be aware that you have a higher chance of getting IDK’d or reported as a spammer if you do.)

Use common sense.  The Golden Rule applies to LinkedIn as well.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I am a LION and I will accept your invitation.  Others might not.  But usually, with the courtesy of a well crafted introduction letter, and a genuine desire to connect, most people will grasp your outstretched hand and connect.

Let us know how you like to connect on LinkedIn!


About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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