Yes, you can send private messages to other members on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a messaging feature that allows you to privately communicate with your connections as well as other members you are not connected to.
Sending messages to your connections
To send a private message to one of your connections on LinkedIn:
- Go to their profile page
- Click “Message” next to the “Connect” button
- Type your message in the text box
- Click “Send”
This will send the message directly to their LinkedIn inbox. They will receive a notification that they have a new message. Your connection can then reply back to you and a message thread will be started.
You are free to discuss anything privately over LinkedIn messaging with your connections. There is no character limit. You can send text, images, animated GIFs, links, and other content through LinkedIn messages.
Sending InMail to non-connections
If you want to message someone who is not one of your connections, you can send them an InMail. InMail allows you to privately contact any member on LinkedIn, whether they are in your network or not.
To send InMail:
- Go to their profile
- Click “Send InMail” next to the profile photo
- Compose your message
- Click “Send”
This will send a message to their inbox informing them that they have received an InMail from you. They can choose to read it, reply, or dismiss it. Replying will open up the messaging thread between you.
However, unlike regular LinkedIn messaging, InMail has some limitations:
- You only get a certain number of InMails per month depending on your account type
- InMails have character limits
- Recipients may ignore InMails from people they don’t know
So InMail is best used when reaching out to non-connections who you’d like to build a relationship with, such as potential business partners, clients, recruiters, etc.
Who can send and receive messages?
All LinkedIn members are able to exchange messages, regardless of account type. However, there are some limitations:
- You can only message your 1st degree connections
- You need a premium account to send InMails to non-connections
- You cannot message members who have disabled messaging
- Suspended accounts cannot send or receive messages
So as long as your account and the recipient’s account is in good standing, messaging capabilities are open between connections. For non-connections, a premium account is required to initiate contact via InMail.
When messaging on LinkedIn, it’s important to follow proper professional etiquette. Here are some tips:
- Be polite and friendly in your communications
- Introduce yourself if the recipient doesn’t know you
- Be clear about your purpose for reaching out
- Avoid using all uppercase letters as this can seem angry
- Don’t send unsolicited promotional messages or spam
- Respect if a recipient does not reply and avoid pestering them
- Use proper grammar, punctuation and avoid typos
Essentially, treat your messages on LinkedIn as professional communications. You want to come across as courteous and sincere rather than pushy or overly casual.
LinkedIn does not tolerate harassment or abuse through messaging. It is against their User Agreement to:
- Send unwanted, offensive, or sexually inappropriate messages
- Send messages to those who have indicated they do not wish to be contacted
- Send messages intended to demean or intimidate
- Repeatedly send the same unwanted messages
Violating LinkedIn’s harassment policy can get your account restricted or banned. If you receive harassing messages, you can report them within LinkedIn to get the sender’s account reviewed.
Saving and organizing messages
Your LinkedIn messages with each connection are saved in threaded conversations under the Messaging section. To find your messages:
- Click the Messaging icon in the top nav bar
- Click on a conversation to view the message history
- Use the search bar to find past conversations
You can also organize your messages by archiving or deleting conversations you no longer need quick access to.
On the mobile app, your messages are similarly archived chronologically. You can swipe left on mobile conversations to archive or delete them.
How to know if your message was seen
When messaging connections, you can see read receipts to know when your message has been viewed. These are displayed under each message.
For InMails, you will receive a notification if the recipient opens your message. You can also see if they clicked any links you included.
These read receipts and open notifications give you insight into whether your messages are being seen. If not, the recipient may be inactive or ignoring you.
Turning off messaging
If you do not want to receive direct messages on LinkedIn, you can disable messaging in your account settings. To turn off messages:
- Go to your Profile settings
- Select “Communications”
- Uncheck the box for “Allow InMails and messages from members I don’t know”
- Save your changes
This will stop non-connections from sending you InMail. You can also individually block specific members from messaging you.
However, even with messaging disabled, you can still receive messages from your 1st degree connections.
Is LinkedIn messaging secure?
Yes, LinkedIn offers secure messaging powered by encryption protocols to protect your private conversations and data. So you can feel safe exchanging confidential information over LinkedIn messaging.
InMail also has robust security features and complies with GDPR data protection regulations. You have control over the types of data and messages you share.
Pros of LinkedIn messaging
- Allows for private, detailed conversations
- Faster way to connect than email
- InMail enables contacting non-connections
- Read receipts let you know if messages are viewed
- Encrypted for data security
Cons of LinkedIn messaging
- InMail has usage limits for free accounts
- Only works between members who allow messaging
- Mobile app has fewer features than desktop
- No way to mark messages as important
- Lacks more advanced features of other platforms
LinkedIn’s messaging capabilities allow members to have productive conversations securely. Both basic messaging and InMail can facilitate important business discussions and relationship building.
Following proper etiquette and understanding the limitations of LinkedIn messaging ensures you have effective communications. Used strategically, it is a valuable tool for connecting with other professionals.