Took a Startup to $5 Million ARR in 6 Years | Founder of Dux soup, the world’s leading LinkedIn automation tool | F1 fan
I send and receive a lot of messages on LinkedIn. But the number of outgoing messages is vastly outnumbered by the incoming. Looking at these posts, I believe people generally fall into two camps: those who can communicate effectively and those who cannot.
For the latter, it can seriously hamper their ability to build networks and relationships or engage in meaningful dialogue, prospecting and selling.
However, if you master the following basics of communicating on LinkedIn, you’ll avoid the most common pitfalls I see today and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a two-way interactive dialogue.
Use the right tone of voice.
Business leaders who use LinkedIn for networking or lead generation need to use the right tone of voice. It has to come naturally. If you’re the kind of person who puts emojis in your emails, put it in your LinkedIn posts – it will show some of your personality.
If you’re direct and to the point, write your posts the same way. Who you are and how you are likely to interact with someone comes across clearly.
Without visual cues, your nonverbal tone is likely critical in building rapport, starting a two-way conversation, and keeping it flowing.
Personalize the connection request.
Take the time to personalize connection notes on LinkedIn. Bland, generic connection requests can be a real turn-off. The investment in preparation time will pay off in the long run in terms of improved conversion rates.
Alternatively, some LinkedIn automation tools have post-merge features that allow you to insert data fields, such as company name or industry. You can then send what looks like a unique message to tens or even hundreds of people with little extra effort.
Whatever you do, don’t rely on the standard “I’d like to get in touch with you” message that LinkedIn pre-populates the connection note with. You might as well add “but I’m too lazy to put in a little effort to write you a decent note” at the end.
Be clear about the result you are looking for.
There’s nothing worse than sending a vague message. It doesn’t help the reader understand what you’re looking for. Be clear about the outcome you want, whether it’s warming someone up to a sales pitch, encouraging sign-up for an event, or downloading a valuable item.
I’ve listened to many LinkedIn experts and often disagreed about whether you should “sell” in the first message. The best thing to do is test it yourself and see what works for you and your industry.
Think twice about your photo.
LinkedIn is a professional business networking site. And, like it or not, people’s opinion of you is partly determined by your photo. Think of the photo as another element to align with your overall purpose on LinkedIn.
What does your photo say about you? In a business setting, it might need to be a photo of you in a suit and tie. For creatives, a more casual photo may be best. Avoid the kind of photo you might post on other social media networks, such as a vacation photo or a photo of you with your friends.
Follow up in a timely manner.
Some time ago, I contacted the sales department of ten CRM (customer relationship management) vendors and asked for responses via email. Shockingly, four out of 10 I emailed were not responding at all.
Since LinkedIn is all about conversations, you need to respond in a timely manner when someone sends you a message. Personally, I aim to answer all messages within two hours.
The best interactions often take place after traditional business hours. When someone checks LinkedIn in the evening and sends a message, if you reply right away, it’s not uncommon to have a full-blown conversation, with messages flying back and forth. I suspect this is because there are fewer distractions.
These evening conversations have the potential to greatly accelerate your intended outcome.
Be your authentic self.
“Your authentic self” is a phrase I hear a lot these days when I read about communication skills. This is probably my favorite piece of advice, as it incorporates elements of the above tips. When it comes to LinkedIn, find your authentic self and communicate as if you were face to face.
For example, if you were at an event and stood in line for the buffet, what would you say to the person next to you to strike up a conversation? I bet it wouldn’t be: “Hi, my name is Ed, and I’m the founder of Dux-Soup. I see we must have a lot in common as we’re at the same event.” More than likely it would be something like, “Hi, how do you like the event?” Rather, this leads to a conversation.
If you’re a recruiter using LinkedIn, you need to communicate according to your personal style, whether it’s bold and direct or consultative and chatty.
What are you communicating?
Most people will have different goals when it comes to using LinkedIn. So think about what you want to communicate and how you can best achieve it. Start with the goal and work backwards, making sure you have a structured, professional approach to communicating on LinkedIn.