Yes, you can send messages to LinkedIn members without a premium account. However, your ability to message is limited compared to premium accounts.
Messaging with a free account
With a free LinkedIn account, you can send messages in these ways:
- Send connection requests – When sending a connection request, you can include a note of up to 300 characters.
- Accept connection requests – When accepting a connection request, you can include a reply note of up to 300 characters.
- Reply to messages – You can reply to any messages you receive from your connections.
So with a free account, you can send brief messages when connecting with people, and participate in ongoing conversations by replying to messages you receive. However, there are limitations:
- You can’t initiate new conversations by sending the first message to connections who haven’t already messaged you first.
- Your messages are limited to 300 characters when sending connection requests or replies.
Messaging with LinkedIn premium
With a premium account like LinkedIn Premium Career or Sales Navigator, you can send messages without the limitations of a free account. Premium accounts allow you to:
- Initiate new conversations – You can send the first message to any of your connections, rather than having to wait for them to message you first.
- Send longer messages – Your messages have a limit of 8000 characters rather than 300, allowing you to write more detailed messages.
- See when your messages are read – You can see read receipts to know when your connections have read your messages.
- Know when people are more likely to respond – LinkedIn tells you when your connections are more active on the platform, so you can time your messages appropriately.
With these capabilities, premium accounts make it much easier to have meaningful conversations and build relationships through LinkedIn messaging.
Use cases for LinkedIn messaging
Here are some examples of when you may want to message LinkedIn connections, with or without a premium account:
- Following up after connecting – Send a note thanking someone for connecting, asking to set up a call, or introducing yourself and your business.
- Asking for advice – Message a connection working in your industry to ask for their expertise and guidance.
- Staying top of mind – Check in periodically with connections to nurture relationships and keep your personal brand visible.
- Making referrals – Introduce two connections who would benefit from knowing each other.
- Sharing updates – Let your network know about promotions, new jobs, projects you’ve launched, etc.
The key is to focus on creating value for your connections. Thoughtful, personalized messages can go a long way in strengthening your LinkedIn relationships.
Tips for messaging effectively
Here are some tips to improve your LinkedIn messaging and get better results:
- Personalize each message with the recipient’s name, company, location or other details to show you took the time to craft it just for them.
- Refer to previous conversations or connections you have in common to provide context.
- Ask open-ended questions to spark dialogue rather than making statements.
- Follow up if you don’t receive a response, but avoid messaging repeatedly without a reply.
- Use a clear subject line rather than leaving it blank to give context.
- Proofread for typos and clarity before sending your message.
- Use LinkedIn’s tracking tools with premium accounts to see optimal times for messaging.
- Send messages from your profile on a computer for the most options and best experience.
LinkedIn messaging etiquette
To avoid miscommunications or inappropriate messages, keep these LinkedIn messaging etiquette tips in mind:
- Don’t overshare personal details about yourself or ask overly personal questions.
- Avoid hard sells of your business. Focus on relationship-building.
- Use a professional tone rather than informal language.
- Respect other people’s time by keeping messages concise and relevant.
- Don’t message repeatedly without a response.
- Wish connections happy birthday or congratulate them on work anniversaries, but avoid overdoing it.
- Give connections space if they need it and pick up the conversation thread later.
Is LinkedIn messaging useful?
While LinkedIn messaging has some limitations, it can be very valuable when used properly. Some key benefits include:
- Start conversations with people you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
- Strengthen and nurture relationships that start with a simple connection.
- Meet new mentors, clients, partners, and collaborators.
- Share updates, advice, and opportunities with your network.
- Stand out by personalizing communication at scale.
- Follow up on events, meetings, and other offline interactions.
Messaging helps move connections from a cold contact to a warm relationship. With some strategy and finesse, you can get a lot of value from LinkedIn messaging with or without a premium account.
While LinkedIn messaging capabilities are more limited on free accounts, you can still send basic messages to build relationships and participate in existing conversations. Premium accounts provide more flexibility to initiate new messaging threads and have meaningful dialogue.
Focus on creating value for your connections, personalizing your messages, and using proper etiquette to get the most out of LinkedIn messaging. With some effort, it can be a very effective way to strengthen your professional network.