Messaging someone for the first time on LinkedIn can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right strategy, messaging new connections on LinkedIn can lead to fruitful professional relationships. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively messaging new LinkedIn connections for the first time.
Should You Message Someone You Don’t Know on LinkedIn?
Generally, it’s fine to message people you don’t know on LinkedIn, as long as you do it thoughtfully. The key is avoiding spammy or sales-y messages. Instead, your first message should be friendly and aimed at starting a mutually beneficial conversation. Some appropriate reasons to message new LinkedIn connections include:
- Introducing yourself and expressing interest in their work
- Asking for career advice in their industry
- Seeking an informational interview to learn more about their role and company
- Asking to connect them with someone in your network who shares similar interests or goals
While cold messaging does work on occasion, focus on messaging new connections with whom you share common ground and are more likely to respond positively. Avoid mass messaging people with generic notes.
How to Craft Your First Message
Follow these best practices when drafting your initial message to new LinkedIn connections:
- Personalize the message. Mention something specific that drew you to their profile, like an impressive job title, shared alma mater, or mutual connection.
- Keep it short. Get to the point in 2-3 sentences. Long messages can overwhelm recipients.
- Ask an open-ended question. Give them a reason to write back by asking about their background, experience, industry, etc.
- Proofread. Double check for typos and grammatical errors, which create a bad first impression.
- Avoid sales pitches. Don’t immediately pitch your product or service without building a relationship first.
- Use a warm, conversational tone. This helps build rapport from the initial outreach.
The goal is to make your message intriguing enough to spark further discussion. With practice, you’ll get better at making meaningful first contact with new professional connections.
LinkedIn Message Examples
Review these examples of effective initial messages on LinkedIn:
Example 1: Introducing Yourself
My name is [your name] and I discovered your LinkedIn profile after speaking with our mutual connection, [connection name]. As a fellow [industry or school] alum making waves at [their company], I would love to connect and hear more about your professional journey so far. What inspired you to pursue a career in [their field]? I look forward to hearing your story!
Example 2: Requesting Career Advice
I came across your LinkedIn profile while researching [job title] roles at [their company]. Your career path and impressive experience really stood out. I will soon graduate from [college] with a degree in [your major] and am very interested in learning more about succeeding as a [job title]. Would you have time for a quick coffee chat or phone call to provide any advice for someone looking to break into the field? I would greatly appreciate even 15-30 minutes of your time.
Example 3: Discovering Common Interests
My name is [your name] and I see that we share an interest in [topic, industry, hobby, etc.]. I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you [mention a specific project, job, or passion related to the interest]. I would love to connect with fellow [interest] enthusiasts like yourself. Perhaps we could [suggest a chat, virtual coffee, meeting, etc] to exchange ideas on [interest]? Please let me know if you would be open to further discussing.
When to Send Your First Message
Timing your initial outreach right can improve your chances of getting a response:
- Connect first. Wait until the person accepts your connection request before messaging them.
- Avoid early/late hours. Steer clear of messaging very early in the morning or late at night, unless you know the recipient’s schedule.
- Be prompt. Ideally, message new connections within a few days to a week of connecting.
- Watch for triggers. Sometimes a change in their profile, like a new job, presents a natural opening to message them.
While there’s no universally perfect time to message new connections, the goal is increasing the likelihood that they’ll be receptive to your outreach. Pay attention to any cues on timing from their profile and interactions.
Following Up After Your First Message
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately hear back after messaging a new LinkedIn connection. Here are some productively ways to follow up:
- Wait at least 1-2 weeks before following up to allow time for a reply.
- Be gracious if they haven’t responded yet and avoid sounding entitled to their time.
- Offer alternative ways to talk, like a phone call instead of trading messages.
- Suggest a specific date and time for a chat or phone call.
- Consider referring the conversation to email or scheduling a meeting through calendar software.
- Ask if there’s someone else in their network who may be able to assist if they are unavailable.
Following up shows you are determined, while still being respectful if the person is unable or unwilling to talk. With persistence and care, many first outreach messages ultimately get responses.
Best Practices When Messaging New LinkedIn Connections
Here are some overarching best practices for effectively messaging new connections on LinkedIn:
- Personalize each message to show you took time to understand their background and interests.
- Keep your initial message focused and reasonably concise.
- Present yourself professionally but also approachably.
- Suggest continuing the dialogue via phone, email, or an in-person meeting when appropriate.
- Persist politely if you don’t get an immediate response.
- Remember that messaging is a numbers game, and not everyone will reply.
- Monitor your sending habits to avoid coming across as spammy.
- Measure response rates over time and adjust your outreach techniques accordingly.
With practice, you’ll get comfortable effectively starting conversations with new professional connections on LinkedIn. Just focus on being warm, direct, and thoughtful.
Common Mistakes When Messaging on LinkedIn
Avoid these common missteps when reaching out to new connections:
- Using a generic template message for everyone
- Making it too long with multiple paragraphs
- Launching right into a sales pitch about your business
- Not mentioning a specific reason for contacting them
- Having typos or poor grammar
- Using overly formal or stilted language
- Asking for too much too soon, like job leads or client referrals
- Messaging before connecting or without any shared connections
- Contacting at odd hours when they likely won’t respond
Avoiding these mistakes will drastically improve your chances of getting responses to your outreach messages on LinkedIn.
Leverage LinkedIn’s Communication Tools
Take advantage of all LinkedIn’s messaging features to connect with new contacts:
- InMail. Send personalized emails even without being connected.
- Introductions. Get introduced through shared connections.
- Open Profile. Enable anyone to message you if you want broader outreach.
- Groups. Join Groups to message other members.
- Search Filters. Find 2nd & 3rd degree connections in your network.
Explore all of LinkedIn’s built-in tools to expand your ability to effectively message new connections and stand out from the crowd.
Messaging Etiquette on LinkedIn
To create positive messaging experiences on LinkedIn:
- Be transparent about your motives and intentions when reaching out.
- Use a warm and friendly yet still professional tone.
- Respect the recipient’s time by keeping messages focused.
- Avoid applying mass pressure or guilt to respond.
- Don’t take lack of responses personally.
- Remember you are starting a two-way dialogue, not just promoting yourself.
Mindful messaging etiquette enables forging strong mutual connections that benefit both parties.
Messaging new connections on LinkedIn can open up your professional network exponentially if done thoughtfully. Keep these tips in mind:
- Research profiles to find shared experiences and interests to bond over.
- Craft targeted, personalized messages that are conversational and open-ended.
- Follow up politely if needed, and offer alternative ways to communicate.
- Apply best practices, like proofreading and avoiding salesy language.
- Leverage all of LinkedIn’s tools to expand your messaging reach.
With a genuine, personable approach, messaging new LinkedIn connections can catalyze fruitful professional relationships.