Have you received any of the following LinkedIn messages…
A sales pitch right in the connection request (or anywhere else)?
A recommendation request from a complete stranger?
Someone saying “Hi, I saw you viewed my profile…”
These are among the many LinkedIn offences you can commit. They damage your reputation and make you look spammy. Often, they won’t get a response, meaning you won’t grow a quality network and turn your connections into profitable business relationships.
The problem is most people still don’t know what messages they SHOULD or SHOULD NOT send on LinkedIn. If you are like many LinkedIn users, you might not even know what’s considered spam.
One of my most popular blog posts was on the topic of LinkedIn etiquette. This tells me many people want to know the right way to do things on LinkedIn.
I’m still surprised by the number of messages I receive from my connections and fellow LinkedIn members that break some of LinkedIn’s most fundamental rules of etiquette.
I have no doubt you have seen some of these types of LinkedIn messages in your inbox or even sent such messages yourself not knowing better.
Here are seven messages you should never send on LinkedIn and why.
Don’t Send These 7 LinkedIn Messages
1. Sending the default connection request
You get only one opportunity to make a good first impression. Sending the default connection request gives the impression that you’re lazy, disinterested and not committed to building a relationship with this possible connection.
Many people, especially decision-makers, won’t accept such a request.
It’s critical that you personalize every single connection request you send if you want the highest rate of acceptance of your invites.
Do some research on the person you want to connect to, and make your message about them.
A personalized LinkedIn connection request gives your potential connection a good reason to click the Accept instead of Ignore button in response to your request. If someone clicks Ignore, they will also have the option to select “I don’t know this person.”
WARNING: If you receive an excessive number of “I don’t know this person” responses, your account could be restricted, requiring you to have the email address of every person you want to connect with. This will immediately destroy your ability to connect with prospects and expand your network.
Personalizing your invites is not optional if you want to succeed at connecting with new people or generating leads using LinkedIn.
Personalized connection requests stand out from the crowd and are much more likely to be accepted, because the vast majority of people are still sending out generic default messages. I receive hundreds of connection requests every week, and still, fewer than one percent of them are personalized in any way.
PRO TIP: Particularly on mobile devices, it is far too easy to accidentally send the default connection request before you have the chance to personalize it. Make sure you go to the person’s profile to send them a personalized connection request from there. (Check out Tip 15 to learn how to personalize LinkedIn connection requests on mobile).
Additional Reading: Why I Accept or Reject a LinkedIn Connection Request
2. Requesting a recommendation from someone you don’t know
Yes, this really does happen!
If you don’t know the person, DON’T ASK for a LinkedIn recommendation, a skill endorsement or, quite honestly, anything at all. Doing this will significantly hurt your credibility with the person you ask. Even if they do write you a recommendation, it will not have the same impact as one created by someone who knows you and your work well.
Recommendations = Social Proof
The reason recommendations are so important is they provide Social Proof of your expertise.
When people are deciding with whom to do business, they are often swayed by the decision’s others have made. Think about Amazon reviews or the way you book a restaurant or a hotel after looking at the reviews.
People want to see what others have to say before they decide to invest in a product or service.
The more recommendations you have, the better, but quality recommendations are essential. Ask for at least five recommendations from credible people who can genuinely vouch for who you are and what you do.
When requesting a recommendation from someone who knows you and your work, invest time into personalizing your request. It’s key to successfully getting a recommendation.
Another key factor in getting LinkedIn recommendations is to strike when the iron is hot.
Each time you receive some form of testimonial or praise via email or private message, thank the sender and ask if they would be comfortable writing that in a LinkedIn recommendation.
When writing your request for a recommendation, it is helpful to tell your connection why you are asking. You can simply say you’ve been working on your LinkedIn profile and the next step is to gather some recommendations.
In your request, you can include a few bullet points relevant to the LinkedIn recommendation you want them to write for you.
Many people don’t know what to write. Helping them with this task can increase the likelihood they will take the time to write you a recommendation.
Asking them to address specific aspects of your product, service or their experience working with you can give them the inspiration they need to craft a thoughtful and compelling recommendation.
3. Using "I saw you viewed my profile" excuse
While it is a great idea to regularly check the Who’s viewed your profile page on LinkedIn, don’t use “I saw you viewed my profile” line as an excuse for contacting a new or existing connection.
A person may have many reasons for viewing your profile, or they may have landed on it accidentally. Rather than addressing why they viewed your profile, focus on telling them why you would like to connect with them.
There is great benefit to connecting with individuals who have already shown some interest in you by viewing your profile. If they are someone you want to connect with, send them a personalized connection request.
With a free account, you’ll see only the last five people who viewed your profile. With a Premium or Sales Navigator account, you’ll see every person who’s viewed your profile in the previous 90 days.
4. Requesting too much too soon from new connections
Relationships on LinkedIn are just like relationships in person.
Would you shake someone’s hand at a networking event and then immediately ask them to book a meeting with you? Or would you start a dialogue with them getting to know them a little better and establishing some rapport before asking for anything?
I hope it’s the latter!
It is exactly the same process when building relationships on LinkedIn. After someone accepts your connect request, focus on getting to know them and their needs. Then find a way to provide them with value and establish your authority on your topic.
It is then and only then should you ask someone for their time in the form of a call, video chat or in-person meeting.
Many new connections ask me to have a call with them for no apparent reason. I don’t know anything about them. Nor do I know what they want to talk about. Yet complete strangers feel compelled to request I take time out of my already very busy day to talk to them about an unidentified topic for an unspecified length of time.
Unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands, I’m sure you can see why this request is a bit ridiculous.
On average, I get about 40+ unspecified requests from people wanting to pick my brain, have a phone call or meet for coffee every month. Complying with all these requests to chat and provide free consulting would consume over 25% of my work hours each month, taking away from the time I need to spend on my business and my clients.
Time is valuable, especially for a busy business owner or executive, so FIRST you need to prove to people why speaking with you benefits them.
5. Sending a sales pitch for your product or service
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result…
So WHY do people still pitch their products or services at the very start of the conversation and see the relationship die before it even gets started?
And then they move on and fail with the exact same tactic with the next prospect.
Sending a message pitching your product or service to your connections is a great way to get blocked and/or reported as spam. It will definitely turn most (if not all) people off.
Similarly, it is critical you build a relationship with the person before asking them for anything.
Sending a sales pitch message is the epitome of lazy sales and marketing. And if laziness worked, everyone would be a millionaire.
If you want to learn how to use LinkedIn for lead generation the right way, click here and read this.
Additional Reading: How I Respond to Inappropriate and Spammy LinkedIn Messages
6. Asking to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Many LinkedIn users are not active on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Asking them to follow you or your business on any of those platforms is a waste of time.
If you want your prospects to follow you on other platforms, find them on those platforms and engage with them there.
7. Writing overtly personal messages
Let’s have dinner…
How about a glass of wine?
Are you single?
I hate to say it but I’ve encountered ALL of these types of messages on LinkedIn a number of times, and I’m not the only one.
LinkedIn is NOT Tinder, yet it seems that message is lost on a lot of people.
Take a look at this message:
Whether or not you think you are being respectful sending this type of message, you need to think about how the other person receives it. They might not perceive the message the way you mean it.
Remember, LinkedIn is not a dating site – it is a business platform. Always keep it professional.
Additional Reading: 5 Crucial Steps to Mastering LinkedIn Lead Generation
Irrelevant messages on LinkedIn are spam
The term spam means different things to different people.
To me, spam is anything the receiver doesn’t find valuable.
Make sure any message you send to a connection is relevant to them; otherwise, don’t be surprised when they don’t respond or – worse – mark it as spam.
Do NOT send your connections any sales communication or irrelevant information. They will consider it spam. The main point of using LinkedIn is building professional relationships. Everything you send your connections should be to further that goal.
Communicate in a way that benefits your connections if you want to stand a chance at building relationships with them.
What types of LinkedIn messages do you receive that drive you crazy? Did I miss anything on this list of messages not to send on LinkedIn? Let me know in the comments below.
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