Linkedin has been termed as the holy grail of new business opportunities, making genuine professional relationships and building your network.
The recent algorithmic changes of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have made LinkedIn the new favourite for marketing professionals.
Linkedin is the world’s largest professional digital platform.
If you are looking for –
– new leads for your business
– want to pitch your ideas to new investors
– connect with fellow professionals in your field
– Finding a new job or opportunity
..then Linkedin is the right place for you.
However, Linkedin is not only about connecting with professionals but initiating and taking the communication ahead and converting it to something fruitful.
Whatever may be the reason, Linkedin is the platform to grow professionally.
Using LinkedIn to spread a word about your business or service is the first step towards growth.
Linkedin has two basic tools to achieve this:
Linkedin Messaging – the free version which can be used for sending a message to your connections
Linkedin Inmail – The paid version with advance messaging features.
If you are in a B2B market and want to make full use of this professional platform, then Inmail, which is a paid service enabling you to contact anyone on Linkedin, is highly recommended.
However, if you are just starting out you don’t need to opt for the paid version.
In this article, we will look into the free version of the Linkedin messaging service and how we can fully utilise it.
If fully understood and used appropriately, Linkedin can be a powerful lead generation and communication tool for all types of professionals.
Let’s take a look as to how we can use Linkedin’s free messaging service in seven different ways to effectively communicate with fellow members.
Send Message to 2nd or 3rd Degree Connection:
Ok, so the person you want to send a message is not your 1st-degree connection. Worry not. You can send them a connection request with a message in the “Add Note” Section. Please do note that sending random connection requests may lead to a blocked account if someone reports your request as Spam or mark it as “I don’t know this person” or LinkedIn decides you are spamming people with connection requests. Hence, if you are sending a request to someone you just met once, or are doing followup, or have a proposition for them, always use the add a small message in the “Add Note” section to let them know who you are and why you have sent them the connection request.
If you want to connect to someone from the LinkedIn Suggested list in the “My connection Tab”, avoid clicking on the “Connect” Button as it will directly send the connection request without providing the option of “Add Note”.
You need to click on the profile of the person you want to connect and once the profile is open, press the “Connect” button.
You will see a pop up with Add Note Option.
This allows you to send a short message of 300 words along with the connection request.
Once you have been accepted by the person, you can send the detailed message directly using the “Message” tab.
Send Direct Message to 2nd or 3rd Degree Connection:
You don’t want to send a connection request to the person whom you want to send a message, or you think the person does not know you and will not accept your request at this time (that can definitely happen), what are the alternatives you have?
The options are pretty simple. Either you take the paid service i.e. Inmail or if you want to send the message for free, try searching for the same person in one of the groups you both are a member of.
Linkedin allows you to send messages to even 2nd and 3rd-degree connections if you are members of the same LinkedIn group.
How to find if you are in the same group?
Click on the person’s profile. You will see if you share any mutual groups in – “Highlight Section”
Click on the mutual groups and it will open a pop-up window showing all the group names. It is advisable to click the group you are most active in.
Once you open the group, go to “Members” and click “See All”
In the search box, enter the name of the person.
Once you see the result, you will also see a message button. Click on it and Voila, you can send a direct message to a person which is not your connection.
Do not click on the person’s profile as it will take you to his/her profile page and you will see a locked message button, which means you do not have permission.
Be the first:
Now you are connected to someone or you have accepted someone’s connection request. What’s Next? Many users think LinkedIn is just another social media platform for cold calling. In fact, it’s the opposite. People in Linkedin want to connect with someone to grow their business network or to approach them later if needed.
If you are a Linkedin user, just go through your LinkedIn and check how many connections you have. From that check how many of them have actually started a conversation with you? You will be surprised to see the statistics.
For e.g., I have a total of 3800+ connections from across my industry. Out of which more than half (~2400) are in my list through connection requests.
Approximately 150-200 connection requests were with a note. Even after connecting with the rest of the request with no notes, I received approximately 100 messages about the reason to connect with me.
That’s just 10-15 % of my connections really wanting to start a conversation with me and have something in mind before connecting with me.
One of the most important rules of professional networking is to start and continue the chain communication.
So next time When you send someone a connection request, send a note along with it.
As soon as your request gets accepted, just send a brief message about yourself and your intent to connect. This is how I do it when I receive a connection request from someone.
I start asking if we have met or not, continuing with an offer to assist or help and What I do in my professional life to sum up the message.
Linkedin is all about networking and as you must be knowing, networking is a two-way street.
Networking is all about how both parties can benefit from each other. When you interact with anyone for the first time, instead of telling them what you want, ask if you can do something for them. This will help you to take the conversation ahead and later on once both the parties are comfortable talking to each other, speak your mind and share your ideas.
Trust me, this one method has brought us several new clients which have helped us grow our business significantly.
Sending a welcome or greeting message:
When you send a greeting message to someone, as a professional courtesy people tend to reply to that. The messaging window between you and your connection has been activated. Think about it as coming across someone in a networking event and passing by without saying anything. No harm was done and nothing gained.
Now consider another scenario of crossing the same person in the same networking event and initiating a discussion – “Hey, How are you today. Doesn’t this place have some really interesting ideas?”. The next time that person sees you, he/she will greet you for sure.
Once the message window between you two has been activated, you can send another message. It may be a pitch, business plan, or a job request. That message has higher chances of getting a reply as there has already been an exchange of messages between you two earlier.
Turn on Auto Suggestions:
Don’t forget to use Auto suggestions feature to quickly reply to any message that you receive in your LinkedIn inbox. Unlike Facebook messaging App, where you do not have the assistance of autosuggestion, Linkedin provides basic but related words and one-liners to keep the communication going.
You can turn on the Autosuggestion on the desktop by clicking the dropdown under “Me”. When accessing on mobile, click on your profile photo and select view profile.
Click on Settings and Privacy on the desktop. You will see a small “Gear” Icon. Click on that and go inside Settings and Privacy of your account
Click on the Communication tab.
Scroll down and you will see “Reply Suggestions”. Click on that and select “Yes”.
You can also Turn On or Off the Read receipt and typing indicators just above the “Reply Suggestion” as per your preference.
Linking your Calendar:
If you use Linkedin extensively to draw more leads by meeting new potential clients, this is a smart tool. Linkedin Message allows you to link your phone and desktop calendar with your Linkedin messaging.
Once you schedule a meeting with a LinkedIn contact through messaging, you can directly share it into your calendar to sync it with your appointments to ensure you do not miss the time and date.
For Linking the calendar to the message, Go to your profile and click on Settings.
When using it on the phone, the option for Sync Calendar” will be listed Under the account tab. When in desktop, this option is listed under the privacy tab. Click on it and Switch the toggle sign “On”.
While typing a message and scheduling a meeting, you can find the calendar option in the message window under “+” sign named as “Availability.”
Block Promotional InMails:
You are a very sorted person and don’t want any kind of promotional emails to distract you or make your inbox crowded, Linkedin has a feature for that as well.
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn provides premium messaging service in the form of Inmail which allows a user to send a message to anyone using LinkedIn. However, keeping the privacy of all the Linkedin Users, it provides an option for everyone to choose if they want to receive Inmails or not.
To block the promotional Inmails, go to the setting and click on the communication tab.
Select “Message” in ‘Who Can Reach You’ Section. You can Turn Off the option under “Allow others to send you InMail”
BONUS: Want to send a direct email to your contacts? You don’t need to waste your time asking for their emails individually. You can download your connections emails in Xls format. However, this can only be done on the desktop but if the connection has a setting which does not allow anyone to see the email, you will not be able to see those emails.
To download the data, go to the Settings and click on the Privacy Tab.
Go to ‘How LinkedIn uses your data’ section and click on – Getting Copy of Your Data.
You will be provided with multiple options. Select – Want something in particular? And check the box next to “Connections.
At this stage, LinkedIn will ask for a password and once it is confirmed, you would be able to download the Xls file. There you go, you have direct access to the email address of your Linkedin Contacts.
Linkedin is a goldmine for getting new business and contacts if you know how to use it right. If you come from a mindset of cold calling and short term results, then it might not be the right place for you.
However, if strategically and responsibly used, Linkedin can fetch you results ten times better than other digital platforms put together.