LinkedIn is one of the biggest social media platforms for prospecting and recruiting. There has been much debate over how people should approach a connection request on LinkedIn. There are two strong philosophies that many LinkedIn members abide by. The first philosophy suggests connecting with only your co-workers and people that you already know. The other philosophy recommends inviting anyone to your network that you feel could benefit your network.
On LinkedIn, you have connections and not friends. It is important that you create a network and be inclusive – not exclusive. Having a platform where you manage and nurture your valuable connections is every marketer’s dream.
Every LinkedIn member has multiple levels of separation from someone who could potentially be a future prospect or recruiter. The degrees of separation exist in order to show you who might be a future client or a meaningful connection. If you are continually rejecting those 1st and 2nd-degree connections, you will be turning away potential prospects and recruiters.
I’m sure at this point you’re asking yourself, “well…should I be accepting every single connection request that is sent my way?” Of course not! It is important to be strategic and evaluate their LinkedIn profile before you accept their connection request.
Although most people are trying to follow the philosophy of adding and accepting meaningful connections on LinkedIn, there are a few reasons why you might not be getting the connections that you are hoping for.
Here are 5 reasons why your LinkedIn profile might be being ignored and how you can fix it:
1. You’re not sending a personalized message
Let’s say you were at a networking event for the specific industry you work in. If someone walked up to you and said, “I’d like to add you to my professional network,” they would probably give you a confused look. Sending out a generic LinkedIn invitation to a stranger without introducing yourself is a big mistake.
Rather than sending a generic message, head over to their profile and find a meaningful interest that you both have. Start your message with introducing yourself and then mention something that you both might have in common. Your potential connection needs to understand who you are. It is also critical that they see how they can benefit from this professional connection as well.
2. Your profile is lacking significant information
If you don’t have a headline or a professional profile photo, chances are your connection requests are going to be ignored. Having a complete LinkedIn profile and optimizing it to be searchable is a great way to have potential connections believe that you are legit.
How can you make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete? Make sure you have these important components:
- Headline - Describe what you do and who you work for.
- Summary - Your LinkedIn summary is arguably the most important content on your entire profile. The LinkedIn algorithm searches for keywords on your page and this is a great 2,000-character space to take full advantage of informing your target audience on what you do. Make sure your summary isn’t just plain, jazz it up by adding some media.
- Experience – Your profile is going to look incomplete and not very compelling if you don’t go beyond what you have on your resume. The experience section is another vital piece to your LinkedIn profile in order to ensure people will want to accept your connection request. Adding media such as relevant images, videos, presentations or articles will help your profile stand out and look legit.
- Endorsements – Ugh, the dreadful endorsements. Unfortunately, our competitive society loves numbers. Opting out of endorsements or having very few will make your profile seem suspicious. Try reaching out to family members or co-workers to give your endorsements a boost.
- Connections – Maintaining an average number of connections is very important for prospects and recruiters. When someone is contemplating accepting your invitation to connect, being human, they think, “how will this connection benefit my network?” If you only have 10 or 20 connections, this is a pretty small network. Potential clients and recruiters are going to see that this isn’t a very impactful connection for expanding their network. To solve this problem, try connecting with all of your co-workers, family members, neighbors, fellow alumni, former colleagues, or friends before you send connection requests to prospects and recruiters.
- Customizable LinkedIn URL – Getting your own URL for your LinkedIn profile is essential for your connection request to be accepted by other LinkedIn members. You can create your URL based on your first and last name or the industry you are an expert in.
Although there is no one right way to craft a LinkedIn profile, you will be more likely to connect with prospects and recruiters if your profile is complete and optimized.
3. Lack of proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization
You are reaching out to strangers who are potentially critiquing your profile before they accept your connection request. Chances are if you have improper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization people are going to feel inclined to delete your request. Some of us understand that humans make mistakes and not everyone is an English major, but there are those prospects and recruiters who will call you out for it every time. Being on a professional network, it is important that you clean up your mistakes and try to have a polished profile.
4. You’re spelling their name wrong
Take the time to check and double-check the name of the person you’re sending a personalized connection request to. If you accidentally misspell their name or call them by the wrong name, this is an easy way to be ignored.
5. You’re trying to sell something
If you want to sell something to a prospect on LinkedIn, do not try to do so on your initial connection request. Contacting people on a professional network with a crappy sales pitch is one of the biggest reasons prospects and recruiters are ignoring your request. Many prospects and recruiters are on LinkedIn to grow and nurture their professional networks. They are not going to want you sending the same crappy sales pitch to all of their connections. Try having a more meaningful conversation rather than sending a template sales pitch.
No matter how you change your approach to connecting with prospects and recruiters on LinkedIn, there will still be some people who never accept your request. Due to the different philosophies of LinkedIn users, don’t take it personally if someone rejects your request. If the tips above cannot help you break through, it’s probably an indication that the prospect or recruiter isn’t seeing what they will gain from connecting with you.
Why do you accept or reject LinkedIn connection requests?