If you want to send a message to someone on LinkedIn that you are not connected to, the easiest way is to send them a connection request first. Once they accept your request, you will be connected on LinkedIn and can freely message each other. However, if you need to reach out to someone you’re not connected to more urgently, LinkedIn does provide a couple options for messaging non-connections.
Options for Messaging Non-Connections on LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn InMail
LinkedIn’s InMail messaging system allows you to message anyone on LinkedIn, even if you are not directly connected. With InMail, the recipient will receive your message in their LinkedIn inbox just like a normal message. The key difference is that InMail messages can only be sent if you have available InMail credits.
LinkedIn provides a certain number of InMail credits each month depending on your account type. For example, LinkedIn Premium accounts get 5 free InMails per month. Once you use up your allotted InMails, you can purchase additional credits. An InMail credit allows you to send 1 message.
To send an InMail, go to the profile of the person you want to reach out to and click “Send InMail” under their photo. This will open up a messaging window where you can write your message. Make sure to write a clear subject line and customize your message to the recipient.
Some tips for writing effective InMail messages include:
- Personalize the message and relate it to their background/experience
- Be clear about your purpose for connecting in the first paragraph
- Ask for a brief phone call or meeting if appropriate
- Use a professional but friendly tone
InMail messaging allows you to make meaningful connections beyond your existing network. Keep in mind though that InMail credits cost money, so use them judiciously and only when you have a specific purpose.
Using LinkedIn Network Memberships
If you belong to any LinkedIn Groups or have a paid Premium account, you may have the ability to message non-connections who are also part of those same Network Memberships.
For example, if you and another person are both members of the same LinkedIn Group, you can message each other within the Group even if not directly connected. The message will show up in the LinkedIn inbox like a normal message.
Similarly, Premium account holders have access to messaging with any other Premium members, regardless of whether they’re connections. So having a Premium account allows you to freely message over 600 million Premium users.
When messaging someone through shared Network Memberships, keep your purpose straightforward and avoid overly promotional language. Focus on making a personalized introduction and explaining your reason for reaching out.
Requesting an Intro Through a Shared Connection
If you don’t have InMail credits or a shared Network Membership with someone, another option is to get introduced through a mutual connection.
Go to the profile of the person you want to reach and see if you share any 1st-degree connections with them. If there is someone you both know who could provide a warm intro, message that person first explaining who you want to connect with and why.
Ask your mutual connection if they would be willing to introduce you. Offer to send over any background details about yourself or talking points that the intermediary could pass along.
Getting a warm introduction through a trusted peer is often the most effective way to establish new professional contacts on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Restrictions on Messaging Non-Connections
It’s important to note that LinkedIn does limit how you can message people you’re not connected to in order to prevent spam and abuse.
If you try to message a non-connection too frequently without getting replies, LinkedIn may limit your ability to message further for a period of time. There are also daily limits on the number of InMail credits you can purchase and use.
Group admins can also set restrictions on who can message within their Groups. For example, some Groups only allow conversations between members who are connected.
Some tips to avoid LinkedIn messaging restrictions include:
- Only message people you have a legitimate professional reason to connect with
- Personalize your outreach and make it relevant to the recipient
- Don’t overuse InMail – space out your messages and use only when truly needed
- Review Group guidelines before messaging within a Group
- If someone doesn’t respond, don’t keep messaging repeatedly
Messaging Etiquette When Contacting Non-Connections
As messaging non-connections does require going outside of normal LinkedIn protocols, it’s important to be mindful of professional etiquette.
Some tips for proper LinkedIn etiquette when messaging someone you’re not connected to:
- Be transparent about who you are and your intent for connecting
- Keep your asks reasonable and not overly demanding on the recipient’s time
- Respect it if someone does not reply and do not continue messaging repeatedly
- Make messages personal and tailored rather than generic “spam”
- Use a professional tone even if trying to convey friendliness
- Don’t make assumptions or overstep professional boundaries
With the right etiquette, messaging non-connections can be an effective way to grow your network. But be sure to avoid making people uncomfortable or coming across as spammy.
When Is It Appropriate to Message Someone You’re Not Connected To?
As a general rule, it’s appropriate to message non-connections when you have a specific professional reason to reach them and lack alternative options.
Some examples of appropriate cases:
- Following up after meeting someone in person
- Seeking expertise they have for your work
- Wanting to discuss a potential job opportunity
- Introducing yourself as a new contact at a partner company
It’s usually not appropriate to message non-connections just to:
- Increase your network size or connection numbers
- Solicit business out of the blue
- Comment on their content just to get their attention
- Send generic or spam messages
When in doubt, put yourself in their shoes. Only message if you’d genuinely appreciate similar outreach if you were the recipient.
Tips for Messaging Non-Connections on LinkedIn
Here are some top tips to keep in mind when messaging someone you’re not connected to on LinkedIn:
- Make the purpose clear – Explain who you are and why you want to get in touch in the first paragraph.
- Be transparent – Disclose if you got their contact info from LinkedIn or a mutual connection.
- Personalize the message – Make it about them, not just a generic template.
- Show you did your research – Reference their background to make relevant connections.
- Extend a specific ask – Instead of just asking to connect, have a clear next step in mind.
- Highlight mutual benefits – What’s in it for them to connect with you?
- Use a professional tone – Even if aiming for friendliness, avoid over-casual language.
- Follow up strategically – If no reply, follow up once more before moving on.
Messaging people you’re not connected to on LinkedIn does require some strategy. Use inMail sparingly for important outreach, get warm introductions from mutual connections, and join Groups and Premium to expand your messaging capabilities.
Most importantly, remember to personalize your messages, communicate your intentions clearly, and maintain professional etiquette at all times.
With the right approach, messaging beyond your immediate network can lead to meaningful new relationships and opportunities. But always be respectful of people’s time and boundaries as you expand your outreach.