How many spam messages do you receive in your LinkedIn inbox?
The problem is most people still don’t know what messages they should or shouldn’t send on LinkedIn. If you are like many LinkedIn users, you might not even know what’s considered spam.
Some of my most popular blog posts have been on the topic of LinkedIn etiquette and best practices. This tells me many people want to know the right way of doing 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.
Sending these types of messages will often hinder rather than improve your ability to achieve your goals on LinkedIn, whether you want to:
- connect with like-minded professionals
- find a new job or
- generate new leads or prospects.
Here are seven messages you should never send on LinkedIn and why. You may have seen these messages in your own LinkedIn inbox or even sent such messages yourself not knowing better.
Don’t Send These 7 LinkedIn Messages
1. Sending the default connection request
Unless you know the person VERY well, never send the default connection request. Personalize every connection request you send to the people you don’t know or don’t know well.
I get it. LinkedIn makes it easy to send the default connection request, especially on the mobile app. You must consciously avoid sending the default invitation. You have to take the time to do a little research so you can write a personalized connection request.
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. If you stop sending this one type of message alone, you will significantly increase your success on LinkedIn. Most people are not doing it, and your invite will stand out. 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 a personalized connection request from there. (Check out Tip 15 to learn how to Personalize LinkedIn Connection Requests on Mobile).
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 or even a skill endorsement. 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 will.
Recommendations = Social Proof
The reason recommendations are so important is they provide Social Proof. When people are deciding with whom to do business, they are often swayed by the decision’s others have made. Think about Amazon reviews. People want to see what others 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 new 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 your new connections.
A person may have many reasons for viewing your profile. 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 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
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 will all the requests 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.
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. Then and only then should you ask someone for their time in the form of a call, video chat or in-person meeting.
5. Sending a sales pitch for your product or service
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, to the last scenario, it is critical you build a relationship with the person before asking them for anything. Sending a pitch message is the epitome of lazy sales and marketing. And if laziness worked, everyone would be a millionaire.
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 on any of those platforms is a waste of time.
If you want them to follow you on other platforms, find them on those platforms and engage with them there.
7. Writing overtly personal messages
Strangely, people do send these, despite the fact that LinkedIn is a professional social network.
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.
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.