Building and Investing in a Community of “Contacts.”
We’re a world of people. People in communities. Communities that only work if people within that community invest in building, Foster, interconnect, and serve the individuals in that community. The community only grows with healthy investment and welcoming culture.
All these factors are essential to taking a “contact,” adding that contact to your contact database, reaching out and inviting that contact to your social media, and pull that connection into your community. Through all of that, it must be remembered that the “contact” is NOT the business card. The “contact” is a person. It is a human for whom you wish to invest in human communications tools and a community of other people.
As can be seen with the principles highlighted in Effective Linkedin Connections – Building Your Network, generic “invitations” to connect via mobile social applications like Linkedin or automation tools like EverNote are useful tools. They simplify the task of the “Linkedin request.” What they do not do is use the online tools as a more human connection. The widely recommended best common practice (BCP) and firm recommendation are to curate a crafted invitation. It is old but solid advice that has provided to be the most effective invitation to a human community.
While this advice works for Linkedin, the same can be true for other social media tools that “invite” people to connect. Linkedin’s current “Invitation” allows for 300 characters. Other tools like Twitter have no customized messages, but can be done view E-mail. The key is back to the basics. A well-written invitation to someone is going to have a higher receptivity. Especially if that crafted request to connect offers something of interest.
What is a well crafted Linkedin invitation?
Sentence 1 – Reconnect with the person with a reason that benefits them. Where did you meet? Did you even meet? If you have not met, then explain why it would be beneficial for them to connect to you. The biggest mistake is to say “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Why do I want to be part of your network? How does that benefit my interest? You connecting to me might help you, but it may not help “me.” The first sentence is the most important. You need to show the connection, compliment the person, and make the human connection.
Sentence 2 – Explain how joining forces would clear the path for them. Your connection to must add benefit to their community. Offer something of service. It can be as simple as white papers and blogs that you are sharing, insight and commentary, or activities they might find interesting. The key is to have on a sentence that illustrates how they benefit from the “online connection.”
Sentence 3 – Provide an example of Value. The ‘value’ offered would be something the invited connection would immediately check out and validate. The offer might be out something tangible or an open invitation for a conversation. Common “values” would be a focused blog post, guides, papers, interest websites, or other materials.
These three sentence would be within 300 words. These are 300 important words which offer a reason why they benefit from the connection. But, people would say “that is too much work.” It can be. Some techniques can make it easier to manage. For example, use Notepad to have a template crafted with Sentence 2 and 3 that aligned with a recent white paper or article. Then paste in and customize the specifics phrasing for that particular connection. This approach shortens the time for each invitation while maintaining the personalized invitations.
Does this work?
Yes! Most of my invitations with custom invitations get accepted. The key is to spend the extra time to build your community.
But I don’t know where to Start
There are several good articles with excellent suggestions that can be used to kick start your “templates.” Here are some of the best:
- Themes Focused on Types of Connections. Aja Frost posted Want People to Accept Your LinkedIn Requests? Use These 10 Templates on Muze. Aja has good examples to help focus on themes around the type of individuals you are connecting. The key is Aja passively points out is the research in the person you are trying to connect.
- Polish your Profile for a Knockout First Impression. Jessica Ihl posted The Best LinkedIn Invitations: Tips and Sample Templates on the DSM Group. Jessica points out that first impressions are critical. That means they person you are inviting will jump out and check out your profile. That means your Linkedin and other profiles must be polished, up-to-date, and curated to make a good first impression.
- Keep to a System and Ensure the Photo is Inviting. Lindsay Kolowich shared an excellent guide in How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Invitation [Template]. Lindsay provides a seven point guide for what to include starting with a professional photo that is inviting. Some professional photos are “passport” quality, mug shots, or too casual. First impressions online are critical. A picture with a big smile and is intellectually welcoming is ideal.
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