You had me at “hello”, so why did you leave me there?
I acknowledged you, but you didn’t respond?
What was I to do?
You invite someone to connect. Hopefully, you took the time to personalize the invite, but maybe not. The person accepts your connection and then…nothing. You simply add them to your growing network and hope they’ll send business your way.
I equate this with walking up to someone at a networking event that you’d like to meet and saying “hello”. They say “hello” back and then you turn and leave. You’d never do this!
You’d follow up with something, even if it’s “some weather, huh?” You’d try to carry on the conversation. Eventually, you may get around to exchanging business cards and talk about setting up time to have coffee.
So why don’t we do this on LinkedIn?
Having mass numbers of connections on LinkedIn will do your business no good if you don’t begin to develop relationships with people. They are people, not just a number added to your growing number of connections.
When working with my clients, we develop a system to follow up with new LinkedIn connections. This is all part of the LinkedIn strategy that we build and implement together. You can do the same with some simple messages and a couple LinkedIn features.
How to build a follow up messaging campaign on LinkedIn
You first need to understand who it is that you’re trying to connect with. If you haven’t figured this out yet, check out this post, What’s Your “Why”? – Defining your LinkedIn Goals and Strategy.
Next, you need to clearly define what it is you offer that is of benefit to those you’re connecting with. You see, the messages you send through LinkedIn should not be about you. They should be focused on what you can do for the other person. It’s a bit like dating…you need to show them that there’s a good reason to get to know you better.
Once you have this figured out, I suggest you write a series of three messages.
The first message is the personalized invitation to connect. Here is where you mention:
- why you think it’d be a good reason to connect
- how you came across their name
- a sincere request to connect
The second message is the big one. This is where you’ll be able to tell if you are building a new business relationship or just adding a new connection. The second message is a simple, “Thanks for connecting” message. With this message you:
- acknowledge that they connected with you
- ask them about their business or a project that they are working on
- provide them with a helpful resource such as a link to an article you wrote
- include your email and phone number, just in case they wish to add you to their database outside of LinkedIn
From here, you hope to have a dialogue develop that will lead to a phone conversation or an in-person meeting.
The third message you craft is one that directly requests a short “get-to-know-you” phone conversation. This message is sent to those that haven’t responded to message 2. In the message, you:
- state that you strive to get to know each person in your network
- request an opportunity to get to know them better through a short phone call
If you get no response after this third message, then the connection really isn’t interested in getting to know you (which leaves you to decide whether or not to pursue them) or they simply don’t use LinkedIn regularly (which means you’ll need to follow up with them another way…think picking up the phone or sending a note in the mail.)
How to keep track of the messages you’ve sent
At this point, you may be asking “how do I keep track of all of this?” That is where LinkedIn tagging comes in.
From the Connections tab, you can view a full list of all your LinkedIn contacts. By hovering over a contact’s name, a few options appear, one of them being TAG. A tag can be anything you want it to be that makes sense to you. Tags are not seen by your connections; they are for your reference only. I suggest creating a few tags to get started:
- Invited to Connect
- Thanks for Connecting
- Requested Phone Appointment
Then, each time you send a message to a LinkedIn contact, you tag their record with the message you sent. This way, you won’t invite the same person to connect three times or send a duplicate “thanks” message.
By creating a follow-up system, you will be moving each person you connect with through your sales process. You will also be better able to qualify leads and make better use of your prospecting time.
Ultimately, you want to engage with the person offline. This is where real relationships are formed and your business grows.
So, test it out. Invite me to connect on LinkedIn.