While Twitter and Facebook are considered to be the more popular social networking sites and are often leveraged for personal use, Linkedin provides a targeted, easy to search pool of potential business contacts. If you are interested in using LinkedIn to create new contacts, read on!
Use InMail, not a connection request. If you have never met the person before don’t assume they want you to immediately be a part of their network. LinkedIn is a great tool for networking but do not forget to build the relationship as you would in person.
Get introduced through a connection. If you do have a connection in common reach out to your colleague and ask them to make an introduction on your behalf using the LinkedIn introduction tool. Login to your account, go to the profile page of the person you would like to be introduced to, and find the link on the top right of the screen located under the yellow ‘Add (person’s name) to your network).
Lay the foundation. Initiate the relationship by mentioning something you both have in common. This could be graduating from the same college, that mutual contact, or working in the same industry. If you share a common group with them on LinkedIn this is a great time to mention that.
Qualify yourself. Make sure to introduce yourself by stating your profession and any other relevant experience. Remember that this person may be contacted frequently and you want them to take your inquiry seriously. Take the time to introduce yourself just as you would with someone in person.
Have a reason for connecting. What do you want to talk to them about? Perhaps you reviewed their profile and were impressed. Would you like their advice or insight on how they got their current position or transferred from one industry to another? Quickly and clearly explain why you are contacting them – two paragraphs is more than enough. Don’t forget to mention how you could be of assistance to them as well by telling them of an upcoming event in your industry or perhaps share your mutual college’s LinkedIn group that they may not be aware of yet.
Photo courtesy of http://images.fastcompany.com.