LinkedIn is still by far the best professional networking site on the Internet. It is the right place where you can meet with industry experts, business partners, and other interesting people. It is also great place where students can start a discussion with start conversations with CEOs of an international companies.
Many of us send and receive LinkedIn invitations every week. We interact with colleagues, our friends, business partners, recruiters, or potential candidates. Many of the invitations we receive are from total strangers we never met and we never will. But these people still want to have us in their network. They have various reasons for that, and I was curious what their reasons are. I decided to do a small test to understand how people are accepting an LinkedIn invitations. And especially why they are sending invitations to those they’ve never met.
I split the test into two parts. The first part of the test were the invites I sent, and I tracked how people reacted to the messages that I sent. The second part focused on the invites I received. I got more invites than I sent for this test. So I split the thousands invites — two hundred sent and eight hundreds received.
I contacted people with different roles and from locations that I would like to add into my network. But even though I was running a test, I always chose the people that I would like to have in my network.
My approach included sending 100 invites without any note. Fifty were sent to recruiters, and fifty were sent to other people.
- 43 of the 50 invites sent to the recruiters were accepted;
- 21 of the 50 invites sent to other professionals were accepted.
Another 100 invites I sent had a personal note. First 50 invited got template message. And the other 50 invites got a message I tailored based on their LinkedIn profile and experience.
- 38 from 50 templates invites I sent got accepted.
- 44 from 50 invites with the personal note and tailored for the specific person got accepted.
For the 800 invitations I received, I focused on these factors:
- If the invitation was sent with a note or without one
- If it they included note and what was in this note
- If I accepted the invitation when the person contacted me with the small note or any message.
- If the person visited my profile before he/she sent me the invitation.
I accepted 388 invitations from 800 I received. And I tried to reach almost all of these people in this test with a small note in reply to them.
And why I approached these people? The answer is pretty simple; they have some reason to connect me, and I would like to know what the reason was. What was the trigger for them to send me the invitation? Was it something that I did, posted, or wrote? Or they just want to know who am I?
I waited 24 to 48 hours after I accepted their invitation to give them the opportunity to reach me first. Twenty-seven did that, 21 of them were business proposals or job offers. Six of them just sent a thank-you note when I accepted their invite.
But what about 361 others? After 48 hours, I contacted them and sent some simple message (and many other variants of this message):
Thanks for your LinkedIn invite. I am just curious why you sent me this invite. Is there anything I can do for you, or you are just expanding your network on LinkedIn? 🙂
I probably missed some person from these 361 people, but I tried to reach everybody. However, 132 people responded and told me the reason why they added me and what the trigger was. This gave me interesting feedback because I was able to understand what I did to bring my profile to their attention.
The most common reason – 67% – was “I am just expanding my network of contacts.” The rest had other reasons like: they would like to follow my updates, or they had questions about craft or sourcing games and other things.
And what about the rest of 229 people? I hope they will reply one day.
Visit LinkedIn profile before you sent the invite
How many people visited my profile before they sent me an invitation? From the 800 people, only 114 checked my profile before they sent me an invitation. That means only 14,25 % of the people visited my profile before they sent the invitation.
I think that most of the invitations I got came from the LinkedIn mobile app. That’s why so many are without a personal note.
It’s easy to hit the blue button for sending the invite, on the LinkedIn mobile app, and you don’t have to write a note. If you would like to increase the chance for your invite to be accepted, be sure to add the note.
And if you would like to follow somebody and get their updates, it’s better to click on “Follow” on their profile instead of adding them.
Reasons for rejections
Adding people to your network is easy; the only thing to do is to click on “Accept,” but think about the quality of your network. Networking on LinkedIn is not similar to Pokémon game; you don’t need to catch them all. Target people who can bring value to you and to your network.
I also counted the number of invitations I did not accept (the reasons are below). From 800 invites I got, 773 were without any personal note at all. Only 3,38 % invites come with a personal note.
These are a few of the reasons why I did not accept an LinkedIn invitation:
- If the profile photo had a logo instead of face.
- If the profile was fake or had no information at all.
- If the invite was from a person who listed their current employer as “Confidential.” (This gives you almost 100-percent certainty that I won’t be accepting.)
- If the first message was, “Please accept, we have consultants available.”
- If there was no message at all, and the invite comes from a person working in a completely different field and location. (It’s about quality of network; there is no need to have four construction workers from Uruguay if you are living in opposite side of World. And you are hiring IT people)
- I don’t need to have everybody on LinkedIn in my network.
- If you are claiming you have business proposal, and in your profile you mentioned that you are from Nigeria and working as a banker or you are a prince.
And I would like to apologize to the banker from Nigeria (with a fake photo) and the Nigerian prince that sent me their invites that I didn’t accept. But you understand why I was not hitting the “Accept” button; plus, I already sent money to Nigerian astronaut lost in space who needs $3 million to get home.
And if you are planning to offer me new life insurance, passive income opportunity (read: scam), or add my email to your spam list, just mention that in the note. Because this will save us time.
And if your invite is accepted, don’t be a stranger. Try to reach people after you add them, just message them with few words like, “I like your post, article, etc.” This could start an interesting discussion, and it will definitely get you to stand out from the crowd of others on LinkedIn. And it’s great to share, because no one is an island of knowledge, so it is always good to share ideas and discuss points of view.
If you are part of my network, I hope we are going to interact more. As a recruiter, I like to network with people because they are the ultimate source of inspiration for me. And if we are connected, you can contact me anytime, and maybe we turn this monologue into dialogue.
Networking is important because it also opens up opportunities and it’s the people you actually know who will help to advance your career.