While creating a LinkedIn profile, accepting a connection and using LinkedIn messaging is somewhat simple, the strategy and content used within all of these makes for a big difference.
Today we are going to focus in specifically on LinkedIn messaging.
Let’s look at an example of a LinkedIn message to get started:
“Hi there, New LinkedIn Connection! While we’ve only just connected, I know that by inviting you to meet up tomorrow and sending you new messages every single week – even though my product offering is not something you will ever need – we’re going to have a terrific, mutually beneficial relationship! So… what’s a good time for you tomorrow?”
—Not a Real Person
While that’s (thankfully) a fictional message I just made up, I’m sure that you’ve seen snippets of that kind of communication in your LinkedIn inbox.
LinkedIn Messaging Affects Brand Identity
Of course, nobody sits down and wants to write a message that will annoy or anger the recipient – at least not in the digital marketing world!
But it happens – thousands of times a day – on every single social media channel.
And on LinkedIn, it’s 10 times worse. Because the person you’re writing to is, usually, some kind of colleague, vendor or supplier, or a respected figure in your industry.
The 7 Deadly Sins of LinkedIn Messaging
The truth is that the way you get your message out reflects back on your brand identity. So the next time you’re writing a LinkedIn message, beware these Seven Deadly Sins:
1. Not knowing me.
If you tell me you’re looking for a senior marketing executive position, you didn’t read my profile.
If you’re offering me products/services that I have absolutely no use for, you didn’t read my profile.
If you offer me services that I offer, you didn’t read my profile.
Please – if you really think I’m a prospective customer, take 20 seconds to skim my profile and make sure of it.
2. Using an obviously generic, copy-and-paste message.
You know what I’m talking about – I’m sure you’ve gotten (or even sent) a few of these messages yourself.
Fact: I’m guilty of this sin on occasion. However, I will then take the time to customize it somehow to include the person’s name and/or company name.
3. Being pushy.
Sending frequent Linkedin messages can get annoying fast. If we’ve connected on LinkedIn, I’ve invited you into my LinkedIn stream and even (when it’s relevant) into my email inbox.
But it can feel intrusive if you’re popping up in my inbox every week – it’s like Kramer sliding through Jerry’s front door all the time. Kramer can be a fun guy, but the shtick can lose its luster.
4. Being REALLY pushy.
I can see asking for a call to get acquainted, but an immediate request for an in-person meeting? Or the slightly “less forward” message asking “are you available today for a quick chat?”
Slow down, pal. You may be one of those Always Be Closing kind of people, but not everybody can (or wants to) start shaking hands and making deals an hour after connecting on social media.
5. Being too vague.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those LinkedIn messages that aren’t specific enough. Just sending a “Hey there! How are you today?”message is an invitation to a much-longer conversation that not everybody has the time for.
Please save us both time – be direct and get to the point. You sell software that’s affordable and does a super-smart quality analysis of my content? I’m intrigued.
6. Using LinkedIn like it’s Facebook.
Confession: I don’t like having birthday announcements on LinkedIn. And just like the real office, I avoid talking politics, religion, and most other topics that can start controversy or offend people.
IMO, we’re on LinkedIn to network and to learn from each other. Maybe some folks join to make friends, but there are plenty of other social media channels for that.
7. Not using spellcheck.
Typos happen. But really badly written messages with tons of typos and grammatical errors do not help represent you as a competent professional.
In fact, a lot of people will see you as someone to avoid – because if you’re making these kinds of mistakes on simple email messages and not doing a thorough proofreading, they’ll think that your lack of attention to detail could mean your products/services are not top-quality either.
Gordon Ramsay is Right
While celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is often guilty of one of the Original Seven Deadly Sins (Wrath/Anger), he’s right about compliments vs. criticism.
Chef Ramsay always says (not quoting verbatim) that we don’t learn anything from compliments – other than we’re doing a good job. We learn much more from constructive criticism. It helps us grow and improve and do better.
Use LinkedIn Messaging with Care
LinkedIn and LinkedIn messaging is an integral part of your brand’s online footprint, so use it with care. Let this constructive criticism keep you on track. And if you’ve committed some of these sins in the past, let’s wipe the slate clean starting now. You’re forgiven – just please remember to avoid these “sins” the next time you’re typing in a LinkedIn message!
Do you commit any of these “sins” with LinkedIn messages? Have any others that I missed? Feel free to post in the comments.