There is no simple answer for how one should properly respond to messages on LinkedIn. It takes understanding many things about LinkedIn. It takes knowing what users want to read more than what you want to say.
Confusing? We explain more in this blog post to turn your LinkedIn messages into positive experiences.
First things first...Important tips to remember about LinkedIn messaging
You need to keep these things in mind when communicating on LinkedIn:
- Remember your goal behind the message. Do you want an interview? Maybe a phone call?
- Drop the LinkedIn “suit and tie” messages. LinkedIn is still social media. Be human and friendly.
Here is an example of knowing your goal and being friendly in a LinkedIn message:
- Never give the person you message any tasks. You messaged them! Don’t ask them to serve you!
- Never offer TMI (too much information). Stay on topic with LinkedIn messages.
An example of TMI and giving tasks in LinkedIn messages:
What went wrong with this 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:
- I wrote to them because I needed something.
- They replied to assist me.
- I replied and gave the person I needed help from more work.
- But I was the one who needed help
In essence, I was all taking and no giving.
Example of a LinkedIn messaging Fail “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” is the one who needs a job:
Steven 10:04 AM (good)
Hi Mike. Thanks 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 on LinkedIn. 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.
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:
So, what do you do 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, you are also trying to get a response without being intrusive.
How do you turn this ambiguous LinkedIn message into something useful?
- Wait 24 hours.
- The next day, send back a message: “Hi [insert name]. 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. Example:
General rules for LinkedIn messages
Here are some general rules for LinkedIn messages to help you properly answer each and every time:
1. Make sure you are messaging as if the entire world is having an amazing day.
We found some of the most effective messages on LinkedIn always had phrases in it such as:
- “I hope you are doing great…”
- “Pleased to e-meet you…”
- “You have such an amazing [insert something interesting about his/her profile]”
Why does it matter? You are positive, friendly, and take an interest in the other person’s profile.
2. Make sure you 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.
4. Never write like a templated spam message
If you are spamming on your first message to a person, it is very rare 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 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, mentioning the incredible skills or certifications you had earned in the past.
Note the circled portion:
What makes something cool to a person?
It is unique and adds value to the person you had contacted. It shows you had 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. And that message did lead to a job interview.
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!