How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

There is no one answer for how to respond to a LinkedIn message, properly. It takes understanding many things about LinkedIn.

It takes knowing what users want to read beyond the simple LinkedIn thank you message after connecting.  

Confusing? Just keep reading.

In this blog post, we explain how you can turn your LinkedIn messages into positive experiences.

First things first ...

Important Tips About Linkedin Messaging

You need to keep these things in mind when communicating on LinkedIn:

1. Remember your goal behind the message.

  • Do you want an interview?
  • Or maybe a phone call?

Don't get so carried away in writing the message itself that you forget the goal.

2. Drop the LinkedIn “suit and tie” messages.

  • LinkedIn is still social media.
  • Be human and friendly.

An example of knowing your goal and being friendly in a LinkedIn message:

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

3. Never ask the person you message to do any work for you.

  • You messaged them, after all. 
  • Don’t expect them to serve you!

4. Never offer TMI (too much information).

  • We all have busy schedules, so respect the other person's time.
  • Stay on topic with LinkedIn messages.

See below an example of TMI and asking people to work for you in LinkedIn messages:

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

What's wrong with the above LinkedIn message?

First, I told the person to find me a link.

The person I messaged does not work for me. They are doing me a favor by communicating with me.

Next, I explained something that almost sounds apologetic for my experience.

It raises questions and makes communication awkward.

Finally, this LinkedIn message is more work than the person bargained for.

Think about it:

  1. I wrote to them because I needed something.
  2. They replied to assist me.
  3. I replied by giving the person more work.
  4. But I was the one who needed help.

In essence, my message was all about taking with no giving.

LinkedIn Messaging Fail  

Example of an “All take and no give” interaction

The names and images have been changed to protect the innocent LinkedIn messaging fail participants! In this scenario, “Steven” needs a job:

Steven 10:04 AM (good)

Hi Mike. Thank you for connecting!

Mike sent the following messages at 1:08 PM

Thanks. I actually have a role open:  

Sr. manager planning and program enablement. Take a look and see if you think that would be of interest.

Steven sent the following message at 2:51 PM (fail)

not seeing it here, Mike. Is there another place I can find it or a link you can send me?  Thanks.

Mike sent the following messages at 9:35 AM

Just go to our website! But it should be in LI too....

Steven sent the following message 9:55 AM (fail) 

Ok, I applied, thanks.  I also have a Masters Degree in Chemical Science but have no interest in the industry.  Wanted to use it long term to grow within my next career.

Let me know if you have further questions.  Thank you!

If you notice the tone of Mike’s messages, they almost come across a little frustrated with Steven’s requests.

Steven contacted Mike to get something.

But Mike ended up doing all the work on LinkedIn, himself.

Other Messages: When They Accept Your Invitation to Connect and Say Nothing

Yes, this counts as a message!

Accepting an invitation request triggers a message.

It looks something like this:

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

How to respond when the LinkedIn message says nothing

This one is quite simple.

No one likes to sound needy in a LinkedIn message.

And we certainly want to try and be respectful of others who may be busy.

We also may consider the person has no idea how to reply to invites with notes.

You are not only up against LinkedIn’s messaging UX, but you are also trying to get a response without being intrusive.

How to use a blank LinkedIn message 

Wait 24 hours.

The next day, send back a message:

“Hi, (Person on LinkedIn). Thanks for connecting!”

All you are doing is reviving the conversation.

And you do so at the very same time they accepted your invite.

This means you caught them during their LinkedIn usage time of day.

Most of the time, this very simple message leads to a response.

Here's an example:

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn ​​​

General Rules for LinkedIn Messages

Here are some general rules for LinkedIn messages.

These tips will help you properly answer each and every time:

1. Message as if the entire world is having an amazing day.

Some of the most effective messages on LinkedIn always have phrases such as:

  • “I hope you are doing great…”
  • “Pleased to e-meet you…”
  • “You have an amazing [insert something interesting about his/her profile]”

Why does this intro matter?

You are positive, friendly, and take an interest in the other person’s profile.

2. Keep it short and sweet and get to the point.

Long messages kill the eyes.

The more you write, the more you create a chance to lose someone’s attention.

3. Make sure your LinkedIn messages are easy to read.

Simply by clicking “Shift + Enter” after each sentence, you avoid creating a large block of text in a LinkedIn message.

Your messages should not be long anyway, but long conversations do require some spacing to get your point across.

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

4. Never write like a spam message template.

If you are spamming on your first message to a person, it is very unlikely that the LinkedIn message will be a success.

Why would I have any reason to reply to this?

Hello Steven Lowell, 
I sent you this free guide to assist with your online success.
The information is provided by our partners (blah blah) ...”

We are all people doing business on LinkedIn.

Talk to others on LinkedIn like people, not prospects you enjoy spamming.

5. Make sure your message has a cool factor to it.

No one likes to read a boring message.

Every message you send should have some sort of “cool factor” to it.

A cool factor is the details of your message that makes people notice you.

For example, you could mention skills you have or certifications you earned.

Note the circled portion:

How to Properly Answer Messages on LinkedIn

What makes something cool to a person?

  • It is unique and adds value to the person you contacted.
  • It shows you have read the LinkedIn profile.
  • You know what the person thinks is useful.

For example, the message you see above was sent to a technical recruiter who recruits engineers in Phoenix.

You might be interested to know that the message led to a job interview.

In Conclusion

LinkedIn messaging advice comes in many forms. It is still a social media tool used to connect with people for the purposes of business networking.

At the end of the day, it is important to be just as social as you are professional in order to properly answer messages on LinkedIn!

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