The quick answer is – Yes, you can send messages to anyone on LinkedIn for free without having to pay or upgrade to a premium account. LinkedIn allows all members to freely send messages to connect and engage with other professionals on the platform.
Who can you message on LinkedIn?
On LinkedIn, you can send messages to any member as long as you are connected to them. If you want to message someone you are not connected to, you first need to send them a connection request which they can accept or ignore. Once connected, you can freely message each other on LinkedIn.
There are three main ways to connect and message people on LinkedIn:
- Connect to someone you know – Send connection requests to professionals, colleagues, clients etc. that you have worked with in real life. Once connected, you can message them.
- Connect to people you don’t know – Look up professionals in your industry and location and send them personalized connection requests. Introduce yourself and your intent in the note. If they accept, you can message.
- InMail – LinkedIn’s premium InMail feature allows you to directly message anyone on LinkedIn without needing to connect first. But InMail requires a paid Premium account.
LinkedIn has a built-in messaging system that lets you communicate 1-on-1 with your connections right within the LinkedIn platform. It works similar to email or other messaging apps.
To start a new message thread:
- Click the My Network icon at the top.
- Go to the Connections section.
- Find the profile of the person you want to message.
- Click the Message button on their profile.
- Type your message in the text box and click Send.
This will start a new messaging thread with that connection. You can keep sending follow-up messages in that thread to continue the conversation.
To check for responses and continue conversations, click the Messaging icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. This will show you all your ongoing message threads with your connections.
Here are some tips to make your LinkedIn messaging more effective and professional:
- Personalize each message with their name and a reference to how you are connected or something unique about them.
- Keep your first message brief – Introduce yourself, explain why you want to connect, and end with a question to continue the dialogue.
- Reply promptly when you receive a message back to keep the conversation going.
- Avoid generic messages like “Let’s connect!” Be more specific on your purpose for reaching out.
- Use proper grammar, punctuation and avoid slang or abbreviations in your messages.
- Do not overdo promotions or try to sell your products/services aggressively.
- Respect their privacy – do not over message someone who is not responding.
Guidelines for messaging on LinkedIn
When messaging your connections, keep these guidelines from LinkedIn’s User Agreement in mind:
- Do not send bulk messages. Send each message individually relevance to each recipient.
- Do not spam or harass others with unwanted messages.
- Obey the instructions of members who have communicated to you that they do not want to receive messages.
- Do not use scripts or automated software to mass message members at scale.
- Any abusive or inappropriate messages can get you banned from LinkedIn.
Following these rules helps maintain your reputation on LinkedIn and builds rapport with your connections through meaningful conversations.
Maximizing the LinkedIn messaging experience
Here are some tips to get the most out of LinkedIn’s messaging capabilities:
- Organize your connections – Use tags and lists to segment your connections by company, industry, geography etc. Makes it easier to find relevant contacts to message.
- Enable message notifications – Under account settings, turn on email or push notifications when you receive new messages. This ensures you reply promptly and continue conversations.
- Use advanced filters – Try options like only showing unread messages or sorting by most recent activity to better manage ongoing threads.
- Leverage Sales Navigator – LinkedIn’s premium Sales Navigator tool provides advanced messaging and prospecting features to help you be more targeted and strategic with outreach.
- Install the mobile app – The LinkedIn app allows you to message your connections on-the-go from your smartphone or tablet.
- Watch for read receipts – See when your connections have read your messages so you know if they received it and when to follow up.
Limitations of LinkedIn’s free messaging
While LinkedIn’s messaging capabilities are very useful, the free version does have some limitations:
- You can only message people once you are connected. Cannot directly message anyone.
- No read receipts to confirm if your messages were seen.
- Limited search filters to find relevant contacts and conversations.
- No option to recall or delete sent messages.
- Mobile app has fewer features than desktop experience.
- Harder to track and manage a high volume of messages.
These advanced messaging features are available with LinkedIn’s premium accounts. So depending on your messaging needs, you may want to upgrade.
In summary, LinkedIn provides all members the ability to freely message their connections on the platform as part of its standard free account. This allows you to have meaningful professional conversations to build relationships, share ideas, and nurture opportunities with your network.
However, to message any LinkedIn member without connecting first or access additional tools to manage high volumes of messages, you need to upgrade to their premium offerings like Sales Navigator or InMail.
But for most professionals looking to spark conversations within their current network, LinkedIn’s free messaging is likely sufficient to meet their needs.