I recently conducted an experiment in to inviting people to connect on Linked In. I was expecting the result to prove that you needed to personalise invites to get the best results. This is the advice I’m repeatedly reading from the experts and coaches that advise on Linked In. I was surprised to get results back that prove almost the opposite.
I posted the following results on my job seeker blog, “Social Job Search.”:
I sent out 50 invites to connect to people I was not connected with anywhere else.
I got 31 acceptances in total. Bear in mind that some of the 50 may not yet be opened. It’s not uncommon for some people to either follow you for a while and accept or archive later or those that have profiles they rarely visit, choosing to either ignore or turn-off e-mail alerts.
The results of the 50 invites were:
The Standard Linked In Invite: 23 out of 25 accepted.
The Tailored Linked In Invite: (This introduced me and stated my objective in networking.): 7 out of 25 acceptances.
I took this further by sending out a further 20 invites, 10 using the standard Linked In Invite and another 10 using tailored invites. These were sent as introductions via connections.
I received 6 acceptances. 5 for the standard invite and 1 from the tailored invite. Of the 20 invites, 14 were forwarded to the second level connections.
To complete the experiment, I sent out a further 20 invites to members I shared a group with. At this stage, all of the invites were the standard Linked In Invite.
Of the 20 I sent out, I got 19 acceptances. By far in a way the most succesful.
When I published this post it created quite a lot of discussion. There were those who insisted the findings were wrong. Nobody could provide anything but opinion to dispute it though.
There were those that felt the results were skewed by the fact that I’m quite well-connected, or that I had a recruiter background. I would question this statement. If this was the case, wouldn’t it impact on the personalised and the standard invites equally?
I have since discussed this at length, with people who sit in both camps. My own conclusions as to why this might be the case are:
1: The dynamic of invites changed with the new style invite, and the removal of the “I.D.K.” option. Unknown connectors no longer run the risk of being sent to Linked In jail. this has resulted in an increase in connection requests.
2: There has been a general shift in the attitude to networking over the last 12 months. In the past, networks have been largely built on a people I know basis. The impact of twitter, where you have little control over who follows or communicates with you, has led to a ready acceptance of connections in other channels to invites from strangers. Even in Facebook, increasing numbers of people accept friend invites from people they have no knowledge of.
3: The e-mail button that comes with the invite has one highlighted option, Accept. You get the link to look at the profile, but only accept has its own option. You get the accompanying message in the e-mail text, which may increase the spam reaction.
4: With the increase of internet access via mobile, have we become accustomed to accepting push button invites without investigation?
5: Attitudes to networking are changing. Many more people are using social media channels to meet new people and make new contacts rather than keeping in touch with old contacts, at the same time, we are much quicker to disconnect with people that we view as spammers, rude, dull or purely pitching.
These are my thoughts as to how networking, and our view on Linked In, in particular is changing. I would really like to hear your thoughts as to how you might be building connections now compared to 12 months ago in any of the channels.
Keep being ambassadors,
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