One of the best parts of paid or premium LinkedIn is the ability to send InMails to other members regardless of your level of connection.
While not a magic bullet or the end-all-to-be-all when it comes to outreach, when used wisely, InMail can serve as a great starting point for communications.
I recommend the following 4 steps to increase your chances of getting a response.
#1 Evaluate Level of Activity
Your best bet at getting a prompt response, or any response at all, is if the person is active on LinkedIn. Three telltale signs:
- They’ve liked or shared an article in the past 2 weeks
- Their profile contains a headline, summary and job titles that appear current
- They have 500+ connections
If the answer to any of these is no, then the person does not use LinkedIn regularly, which means your chances of a prompt InMail response are slim.
Also read: Why, How and When Should I be Active on LinkedIn? The Science and Strategy Behind Content Sharing
#2 Aim to Dazzle
Before you reach out through InMail, be sure your LinkedIn looks good! Those compelled to respond are sure to check – and will be more likely to engage if they are impressed with what they see.
#3 Do Unto Others – Politely
When creating your InMail, think about who you would like to be approached by someone with whom you are not acquainted. How would you feel about being asked for a job? How would you feel about having to read through 6 paragraphs of information before getting to the point?
While everyone is different, in my experience people are much more open to being asked for advice versus a favor, and words like “please” and “thank you” go a long way just as they do in face-to-face conversation.
Think brevity when showing interest and remember that InMail is a way to break the ice, not broker any arrangements. Rather than asking for the favor, consider instead requesting 5 minutes of their time for a quick conversation.
#4 Consider Alternatives
Just because someone is not active on LinkedIn doesn’t mean they aren’t active elsewhere. If it appears they are active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.), consider reaching out through Direct Message (DMs) to increase your shot at getting a reply. Just like with LinkedIn, make sure that before you engage your social media profiles reflect you in a positive and professional light.
With a bit of sleuthing, it is also possible to locate someone’s professional email. If you know someone that works at a company of interest, you can ask them to locate the person’s email using a professional directory. You can also google search to uncover the handle used to create the email (@CompanyName.com) and take a stab at how the first half of the email appears.
The Bottom Line?
By doing your homework, carefully crafting your message, reaching out where one is most active and impressing them with what they see – you will increase your chances of getting your foot in the door and taking that next step toward a meaningful interaction.
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