Your Linkedin Invitations? Personalize Them. First Impressions Matter.

image-of-invitationHow do you handle your Linkedin invitations? Do you personalize them or send out the boilerplate invitation? Does it matter? Yes, but only if you want that invitation accepted. Remember, your invitation may be someone’s first impression of you. And, first impressions matter. So if you care enough to extend an invitation, why not spend a few moments to make that invitation memorable for the recipient?

The question came up recently over coffee (virtually) with a group of friends and colleagues. We were discussing some of our pet peeves with social media and social networking. I volunteered that one of mine is to receive an invitation to connect to someone’s Linkedin network without any personalization. I find it hard to respond enthusiastically to a connection request when someone hasn’t taken the time to personalize the message.

image-of-Hubspot-LI-chartLinkedin is undeniably the social network for business today. Marketing Profs describes the social network’s audiences as highly engaged and cites 61% of registered users as saying that Linkedin is the site they use most for professional networking. Hubspot recently released data showing that, among its B2B customers, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate; four times higher than Twitter and seven times better than Facebook. So, participating in Linkedin can be an effective way to:

  • Generate leads
  • Help build online reputation
  • Meet potential employers or employees
  • Find new clients
  • Develop strong positive business relationships
  • Provide business intelligence about competitors or industry
  • Connect with media

Back to the question of invitations. Linkedin makes a boilerplate invitation available for use in building out your network. A lot of people simply identify someone to invite and click the link to send off the generic invitation. Unfortunately, if you are someone (and these days, who isn’t?) who gets a lot of email, getting a boilerplate connection request may not make it on your radar.image-of-Linkedin-invitation

I’m reading Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi’s Managing Content Marketing right now and was struck by this information, “…in 1971 the average American was exposed to 560 advertising messages per day. By 1977, that number had increased to more than 3,000 per days. In 2009, it was more than 13,000 per day.”  Unbelievable, right? And yet not so hard to imagine that today, in 2012, the numbers are even higher and the clutter even more dense.

We all feel inundated by the information coming at us, the requests we field or ignore, the stuff we need to address on a daily basis. Taking the time to personalize an invitation to connect is an investment in starting a good business relationship and, on a more practical level, helping your invitation break through the noise and be accepted. Kristin Burnham, of, wrote an excellent post last year on Linkedin etiquette and the nuts and bolts of personalizing your invitations. Take a moment to read it if you think you need help or an additional argument to persuade you.

What’s your take on this? How do you handle your connection requests? I’d love to hear from you. And, if you find you need help understanding where Linkedin fits in your organization’s marketing strategy, give us a call at 419.740.1262. We’d be happy to talk to you about it.






  1. juliepippert says:

    Absolutely, unless we are good friends or close colleagues and I readily know who you are, unless we spoke a mere five minutes ago and you said “I’ll send you an LI invitation,” or similar, I expect a personalized invitation, even if it is just a brief thing. So many people use pseudonyms on the Internet and then use their real names in LI, or former colleagues get married and change their last name, or you meet a plethora of people at a conference or via social media. It is crucial to me to be able to identify who you are and how we know one another. The way my memory works, the amount I need to recall…well, it’s honestly, sincerely nothing personal but I forget a lot, including people! And I might really want to connect with you. However, if I am unclear about who you are or how we know one another, I’m likely to ignore your LI invite. I’ve received the generic invite the majority of the time. Other times I’ve received nice little notes, “So good to meet you at…” or “Nice to reconnect after X years, from when we worked together at…” or similar. The worst is when the invite had lies (people said we were colleaguaes at a company I never dealt with in order to send the invite) which is a huge no no. Great article!

    •  @juliepippert I agree. When someone I know well sends me a boilerplate invite I grimace and accept readily. That’s because it is someone I already “know, like and trust”. However, when it’s someone I don’t know, or who uses another name in other social spaces, I tend to forget to take action because that may mean looking at their profile and trying to decide if the connection makes sense. Someone who takes the few minutes to include a sentence about how we know each other or why we should connect almost always gets accepted. And I have made some great connections on Linkedin through groups and the answers section, so it doesn’t always have to be someone I have met face to face. Thanks for your comment. :)

  2. HeidiMassey says:

    Yea @allenmireles Thank you so much for posting this. It is a huge pet peeve of mine. My problem is that I get loads of requests to connect from people who I don’t know. If they are creepy and doing mass outreach I can eliminate them easily. But sometimes it is just someone who doesn’t know better. And so they find me and send an invite. And there are some cool people who, given the right circumstances, I would happily accept the request to connect. But it sure is a lot of work to figure that out when they are the ones who reached out to me. If they want to connect to me, it is their job to sell that idea to me if I don’t know them. I don’t know if they are lazy or they don’t know any better. Many times, I will ask them why they want to connect. And if I get a great answer, I am thrilled and connect.  Keep banging the drum. Lots of folks do not know. 

    • Allen Mireles says:

      Thanks @Heidi Massey. It just seems so common sense to me and hopefully if we keep talking about it others will start to pay attention.

  3. ginidietrich says:

    This is what I tell people (particularly business owners) when I speak. But it NEVER fails that I’ll get invites after the event is over and it’s not personalized. It makes me freaking nuts.

    • Allen Mireles says:

      I know. I laughed today at the number of new invites I got. Every one of them the generic Linkedin invitation. Oh well…

  4. Thanks and I re-twitted!  My question is, can we change the boiler plate and put in our own template or must I copy and paste from a word doc every time I send an invite?

    • Allen Mireles says:

      Hi Erik,

      I think we need to put in our own words each time w send an invite. And, I’m not sure we have that ability when use the mobile version, which I hadn’t realized until recently.


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    […] I posted about the importance of taking the time to personalize the invitations you send out on Linkedin. Most of the people who send out invitations on Linkedin use the boilerplate language supplied by […]

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