If you’re using LinkedIn to network and help increase the online visibility for you or your business, that’s great! It can be a very good place to find like-minded people, jobs, people who will buy into your products, etc. If not done correctly though, you may end up spinning your virtual wheels.
Whether you want to connect or email someone to ask about a job, a business venture, or some other topic there’s a bit of an art to contacting people on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that many people on LinkedIn (like you, perhaps) are quite busy. They may get a large number of connection requests and emails, and probably don’t have time to respond to every one of them. It’s more likely they’ll respond to one that states exactly what’s what. If your email is a bit cryptic, or doesn’t state clearly what you want, it’s likely to be deleted.
Joshua Waldman made some very good points in this blog post, 4 Essentials for Reaching Out to Strangers on LinkedIn. He shows an example of an excellent letter he received through LinkedIn and tells why he responded. His top points are:
1. Lead with something in common
2. Get to the point, fast
3. What makes him qualified?
4. What do you want from me?
Because of the way the guy wrote the email, it was obvious he had done a little homework first, wasn’t wanting to suck the life out of Joshua, and covered the four points above in a brief email. And even though this particular letter was regarding a job, the same ideas hold true regardless of why you’re contacting someone. Be brief, friendly, and to the point and you’re likely going to get better results than if you’re vague about why you’re writing.