How To Write Effective LinkedIN Invitations?

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 11.37.01 AM

Story 1:
After receiving multiple reminders telling you that you have a package to pick up, you call the company who let you know that the package is actually a free water tester kit that they’ll bring to you to test your water and then offer you service to improve your water at home.

Story 2:
You are waiting for important feedbacks from your prospects regarding the response you sent to assess their business inquiries. You then hear an email notification while you’re making your morning coffee. You rushing to your desktop, opening your browser, and discover mail  from someone in Africa who received a million dollar inheritance and need your help (i.e: bank account details) to recover it.

Uncomfortable truth: “We are surrounded by scams!” We’ve been the victims of cold calling/emailing or scam techniques and schemes for decades, now we can smell the sale from miles away. Today I will focus on LinkedIN’s most important feature: invitations.

LinkedIN is my favorite engagement tool. Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram It aims at people who are down for business and networking. I’ve already told you about the 3 Things We Are Doing Wrong On LinkedIN let’s go deeper

  1. Profiles : a total stranger has put some time and effort to write his story (LinkedIN bio), please read it carefully! At least read the headline, ads that sell have short and efficient headlines. Once you’ll start reading it, you’ll ask genuine questions. Especially if you both share common activity fields. Note these questions down. They’ll be helpful.
  2. Activity : Activities are key elements on LinkedIN, they will tell you how many followers people got, the articles they put online, their likes  and comments.
  3. Groups : like Seth Godin said: “we are all part of a tribe”. I love marketing and advertising, social media and design. Where will I find professionals talking and sharing stories about the things I really care about and giving me the opportunity to bounce off ideas? In LinkedIN Groups! If you we are part of the same tribe, chances are our conversations will be interesting.
  4. Causes: what are your passions? Art and culture? Sports? Music? Animal lover?
    If you do, let me tell you something: we are already friends, but you don’t know it!

Now you know four aspects to take your engagement skill further. LinkedIN is all about connections and sending the right invitations to the right people. How to send and personalise an invitation? My friend and LinkedIN expert Viveka Van Rosen can help you do that.

A good advice: stay creative. Remind yourself that you are a stranger and an intruder on the wrong side of the gun. To sparkle my curiosity -and keep me from pulling the trigger 🙂 – tell me who you are: How did you find my profile? Did I say something interesting in it? Do we have connection in common? Are we in the same group? Did you like a post or comment I wrote? So many ways. Be original, make me smile or laugh in 300 characters. If you write a quote, instead of running your polite “looking forward to read from you” jargon you’re on a great start: “Great minds think alike”.

Should you copy and paste invitations? Sure, especially if you have a lot of them to send over! Just tweak them a bit to show that you really care. And please…oh please…spell my name correctly : Denzel and Lionel aren’t the same person. I wish they were! 🙂

Practice, practice, practice!  A great source of inspiration could be dialogue from movies, tv shows, even books/comics! Look how strangers start a conversation with a character you like.

An invitation example could go like this:
Hi XXXX
I just liked your comment in regard to __________. I hold a similar viewpoint. I wish to connect with people on the same wave length. Hope we’ll share interesting conversations around ________. Happy to connect!

In conclusion, what undermine our success is the obvious things we know but miss everyday. Make a goal to send five genuine LinkedIN connections everyday. Track your failure/success rate and adjust.

We all hate underhanded marketing and time-wasters. We get interrupted all the time, even by LinkedIN invitations coming from nowhere! YOU are the product. I strongly believe that you can help someone out there – out of your country –  by contacting directly and honestly and maybe -I’m sure!- a great conversation will follow!

Your turn! Please, inspire us now! Share your stories and some examples of your best invitations, the ones that worked for you, in the comment section below!

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong On LinkedIN

There was a time, not so long ago, before the invention of the internet or  e-mail, when we used to write letters. We used to sit down and write with passion and strong empathy, because we knew that it would take weeks before our correspondents get that mail. When it will arrive? Will they get it? How will they feel when they’ll read it?  The anxiety was real. These are the common things most people do and that will undermine your success on LinkedIN.


Sending too much (not personal) invitations.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.12.12 PM

D

Ever asked your contact to introduce you to another contact and as an answer you got: “I absolutely have no idea who that is!” Social media is not about the numbers it’s about great conversations. I used to think that the more connections I could get, the better. I was totally wrong. People have absolutely no reason to accept your invitation just for the sake of accepting it, the only question they are asking is: will you solve my problem?

image1

Don’t connect yet!

There are easy steps you can take to maximize your chances of interaction on LinkedIN:
1-Go read their profile: don’t scan it. Read from top to bottom where their interests are.
2-Always send a personal invitation: introduce yourself, the reason you are contacting them, use “you” instead of “I”, add humor in your message, make it short. The next time you see a profile and that blue button “connect” which is screaming for a click, don’t. You have the choice in the app and website to custom your invitation, use it.
3-Say thank you! A person stopped his activity to accept your request, it’s an opportunity to engage. Be thankful!

image2

Custom it

Wrong answer to endorsements.
Endorsement are powerful on LinkedIN as they validate your expertise, and they are free! But why this is what I get 90% of the time I endorse someone: “Thanks for endorsing me for _________”. That’s it. End of conversation.  Can you do better?


Saying congratulations or well wishes to strangers.
My agency celebrated its 10th anniversary a month ago. That day was fun, I was overwhelmed by the number of messages I received. Thank you! Unfortunately, they were almost all the same: “Congrats on the anniversary, I hope you are doing well.” and I’d go like “Well that’s very nice of you, I’m well thanks! How’s your day/activity going?” Aaannnnd…no answer. Please don’t spam the “Congrats” button if you are not keen to engage with someone. It’s like showing up at birthday party -without a gift 🙂 – and leave in the minute. LinkedIN placed that button for you to use it very carefully.


One more thing: remove some connections.
You can’t please everyone, thank God! Learn to ditch -politely-  your LinkedIN connections. Let them know that you’re still open to conversation by leaving your email for example. Don’t chase people: send one message, wait and set a follow up reminder. If
at the second message they still don’t respond, send them an email apologizing and reminding them that you tried to contact them. After that, don’t be a pest let them go and move on. LinkedIN is about motion.

Of course this is a short list, I can’t wait to learn from you. How do you deal with your social interactions and engagement?  Let me know in the comment section below.
Have a blessed day my friend!

16 Best Practices To Increase Your Social Media Engagement (Part II)

* Read about the ’16 Best Practices To Increase Your Social Media Engagement (Part I)’ in a new tab first


12-Master the hashtags
Hashtag rule Instagram and Twitter. Find what hashtags are running in your niche, and add them to your posts. Don’t put more than two or three hashtags, at the risk of sounding like a presenter on The Shopping Channel.
13-Ask politely
Great appraisals on your work i.e. testimonials, heartwarming messages will come your way. And you’ll want to use them in your social media marketing materials. Nothing wrong about that but ask the person’s permission first. Make sure to hide his/her name and profile pic if you are not really sure of the outcome. It’s common to quote people on Twitter, but not that easy on Facebook.


14-Get those emails
An email is personal, it’s like a phone number. People will stay away from social media for a while but how long can they avoid their mailbox? You need emails to build your list, send invitations, or just say hello. Your marketing depends on it: ask for the emails.


15-You have something to say
Social media is a lot about trials and errors. I think everybody got something interesting to say, I’m a big fan of great stories, so are you. Don’t belittle yourself


16-Pick your poison, to each his own
I don’t like Snapchat, it took me a week to test it and I uninstalled it right after. The app was opening on my face every time, and I always had to shut down the camera to get down to the chat part. My thoughts afterwards: “this is an app for people with big ego”. Maybe I’m wrong. Pinterest? It’s a huge source of inspiration for me and a great mood board. Pick your favorite platform and stick to it.

 

In conclusion, no matter what you do, it’s vital nowadays to keep the conversations going and using the same courtesy rules of the real world on social media. When you’ll stop communicating, you’ll lose your mojo. I like to stay organized and track my discussions by using Nimble. It’s a CRM which keeps all your social media conversations in one place. A great follow up tool!
Your share! Let me know about your tips to leverage your conversations and keep an high engagement level in your social media strategy


About the author:
Lionel Thomas is the founder of KILIFORI, a creative agency dedicated to helping businesses from both Africa and further afield to meet their marketing goals by telling their stories in a simple, uncluttered way that allows the most important elements to rise to the surface. His approach is distinguished by a passion for stories, drawing, photography, design and interactive media. 

How To Turn Strangers Into Friends On LinkedIn… and Elsewhere

beepbeepprintbyvahallastudios

‘Strangers are what friends are made of’ this is a sentence that caught my attention and is extracted from Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins’s book entitled ‘The Like Switch’. Winning people over ain’t easy. Especially on social media where the next friend is one click away from the previous one. Ever asked for a recommendation on LinkedIn and got the answer ‘I really don’t know him/her’ back? That’s the sad truth: we are friends on professional networks but barely know each other.

Picture yourself as an FBI agent and you have to interview a suspect who don’t want to talk to you -he let you know this fact upfront-. What will you do? The author just went in the interrogation room everyday, opened his newspaper in front of him, without saying a single word. One day, the guy asked him ’why you come here everyday and read that paper?’ he answered ‘because I want to talk to you’.. et voila! They finally had this conversation.

In the virtual world, we don’t have newspapers. We can’t be invasive like that (i.e send messages to someone until we get an answer).

Here are some tricks I use everyday when I wear my networking cap

Ask genuine -sales free- questions
The question have to be open-ended. You only need to based them on those 5: ‘How…’, ‘Tell me more about…’, ‘What..’, ‘Why..’ Where..’ The rest is about your own creativity.

Show a genuine interest
Your friends are posting content that matters to them, trust me, you should read it and give an honest feedback. You can’t expect people to comment on your blog if you don’t show the example. LinkedIn is not very good at showing people’s interests, but Facebook..that’s another game to play. Try to add your LinkedIn connections to your Facebook (not all of them!) and follow them there (wait some time before doing this, build better rapport first). I noticed that people are acting more friendly on Facebook. LinkedIn is for business matters.

The hobbies finder
Work is boring, stress is everywhere people like to get entertained. They go to remote places on weekends for hiking, fishing, horse riding. What’s your poison? They like the same things you do? Let’s find out using great questions.

Give…more!
Put your content out there and post it regularly, on every social media venue you care about. Use the ‘Update’ feature on LinkedIn and provide a link that leads to your blog. Giving brings you more conversations, that’s what you are here for, to discuss over things. Not to sell your services/products to strangers. I use my blog to express my ideas and feelings and give free tips based on my experience. Can’t wait to open a YouTube channel soon!

Get on Skype/YouTube!
We need to see you to: know you, agree/disagree with, laugh with and trust you. Distance has never been an issue and shouldn’t be an excuse nowadays. I’m always asking for a permission to have a Skype gig whenever my friends got some time on their hands.
What about YouTube? Marques Brownlee loves technology: he’s a geek. He got 2 millions -and counting- viewers on his YouTube channel, post videos mostly shot in his room. Looking at Marques, you can tell that he’s easy going, not using complicated words, always ready to smile and gives his frank opinion in every of his reviews.
This success doesn’t happen overnight, you need to rehearse and feel comfortable in front of a camera, say things that are relevant and resonate with your audience. Some video editing skills would be a plus.

It’s not about you!
I met this guy once who told me -point blank- that my content was pointless, irrelevant and bored him to death and he didn’t want to me to reach him out any longer. That’s TOTALLY fine by me! Don’t waste your time trying so hard to please someone when others are craving to know you better! Be polite, keep your integrity and move on with elegance. It’s your best solution.

One last thing, you’ll notice that people are very slow to answer on LinkedIn. That’s normal, using these principles will allow you to take the discussion further and on other medium like Facebook, Whatsapp, or Instagram who knows.

Your turn! What are your tricks to win friends in a virtual world? How do you approach strangers on social media and professional networks?