Firstly I must apologise for the lack of posts recently, I am currently busy writing a book (watch this space) which has been exhausting my writing energy quota. Poor excuse I know but there you have it!
Inviting someone to connect.
Here is the dilemma;
You want to connect with someone on LinkedIn so you click on the "connect" link on their profile, before personalising the message (which everyone should always do) you are required to state how you know someone (see below)
The problem is that they are not a colleague or someone you played tick (you might have called it tag!) with at school, they are not someone you have done business with nor are they a friend. You do not have their email address (which is required for "other") and you do not share any groups with this person so it seems that your only remaining option is "I don't know X" which is also not true as you have spoken to them or met them briefly. So what do you do?
Some people decide to lie and opt for one of the first four options.
Some people decide that a less dishonourable lie is to opt for the last one. When they click on "I don't know" they are confronted with the following abrupt and somewhat annoying message;
I won't get into why LinkedIn insist on this ridiculous idea of only connecting with people you already know, that's a different subject but it seems very odd that for people who are not friends, colleagues, classmates or customers/suppliers but who have met (at a networking event for instance) there is no suitable reason to pick.
There are various solutions that avoid having to go through this process as follows;
- Invite via a mobile app
- Click on the "connect" link in the "people you may know" section
The problem with both these options is that they do not allow you to send a personalised message, the recipient will get the lazy message "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" which most people agree is worse than saying you are a friend (when you're not)!
So what can we do?
Enter LinkedIn Contacts, LinkedIn's newest and best ever feature which saves the day!
Here is how its done;
Go to Network and then click on Contacts
If you haven't already done so, click on the yellow 'get started' link to launch LinkedIn Contacts
Wait for Contacts to 'do its thing' and magically transform your LinkedIn account to a free, live CRM (Contact Relationship Management) programme.
Go to the profile of the person you wish to connect with and save them to contacts by clicking on the star symbol on the left of their profile (see below)
Since publishing it appears that some profiles are no longer showing this star, if this is the case you can 'save to contacts' by hovering over the triangle next to 'Send InMail" and save from there (see below)
Now click on "Tag" and then "add new tag".
You will only need to add a new tag once, from this point onwards you can use the tag you have created. In the box type in an appropriate name i.e. "connect" or something similar, then click save.
You will now see the new tag showing on the profile (see below), click on this and you will be taken into LinkedIn Contacts and a list of everyone who you have assigned this tag to (if you remember to delete the tag after sending an invitation then this list will only be the one profile).
Once in the list of contacts you can see (once you hover over the contact) a link to connect. Click on this and you will be able to personalise the invitation, without the need to state a reason.
The best of both worlds!
If you want to be tidy you can now go back to the contact and delete the "connect" tag (this can done in LinkedIn Contacts).
So there you have it. A bit long-winded? Maybe but I think it is a good discipline to tag everyone you are interested in any way. You can create up to 200 of your very own tags i.e. "prospect" or "potential employer" etc.
I hope that is of help to you.