So you’ve made a connection on LinkedIn…now what? Do you store them like baseball cards or move them to a real world conversation?
This is a topic which has been touched on a bit in other posts of the #31DaysOfLinkedIn effort because it is important. LinkedIn is more professional than the other platforms of social media so therefore it lends itself to more real world calls to action.
If connections are paying attention.
(Also: this post is not meant to be a dating guide to LinkedIn. Although, that kind of activity needs to stop before more professional reputations are ruined.)
If someone asks to connect with you on LinkedIn
There are two schools of thought when it comes to accepting connections: LION and selective. LION was pretty popular in the early days of LinkedIn but has mostly gone away as a name but is still alive as a practice. A Linked In Open Networker is someone who accepts all invitations to connect from all askers. I’ve never been sure of what non-sales related benefit this brings to either party. LinkedIn actually frowns upon this practice.
I myself find myself somewhere in the middle. I generally accept invitations but check out the profile first to see if its going to be a sales pitch which I don’t have time for or interest in. Go ahead and ask me and see if you make the cut!
So how do you move a connection to a real life conversation when they initiated the connection? This is the easier one, they asked so there is some interest in you, what you do, or what you may be able to do together. Check out their profile if you have accepted the connection and send a message asking, basically, “what’s up?” to begin with and then move to a real world conversation if there is mutual interest.
Real life can be over the phone, over the Skype or similar, or face-to-face if geography or upcoming events are helpful. The decision is yours.
If you asked someone to connect on LinkedIn
This one is more difficult because you have initiated the connection with a perceived motive in mind. Your new connection may be wary of the next steps. This is where having all of your i‘s dotted and t’s crossed on your profile is critical. Even if it is just a cup of coffee to meet a neighbor, peer, or possible influencer, it will possibly be viewed as you wanting to sell your product, your service, or yourself in the conversation. And maybe it is, nothing wrong with that.
Instead of hitting the new connection up with an invite to the real world thirty seconds after they accept your connection, take some time and interact with their content (if they are posting any), see what mutual connections you already have, or similar life experiences you may have. If they appear to be inactive on LinkedIn outside of accepting connections, then it may be alright for you to message your request for a real world connection. Just be prepared to get be rejected.
As we have mentioned in the #31DaysOfLinkedIn before, too many profiles have been set up and never updated. If you truly want to drive interaction then, sometimes, you must really be the driving force of the interaction. Just be cool about it.
Do you have any good, bad, or indifferent experiences to share in the comments below about moving LinkedIn connections to real-world connections?
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Gus Wagner is the President.Owner of The Rocket Group – an award-winning marketing and communications firm. The Rocket Group has specialized in building effective tools across traditional means and new media for clients in businesses, organizations, and nonprofits since 2001. Gus is also a five-time certified Social Media Strategist, a former Chief of Staff in the Missouri State Senate, a retired national champion amateur hockey coach, and a would like to be a singer/songwriter. His Welsh Corgi, Taffy, lets Gus and his wife, Farrah Fite, live with her in Jefferson City, Missouri.