Connecting on LinkedIn has gotten harder.
LinkedIn has always stated: “Only connect with people you know and trust.”
But that’s so limiting! Sure, most of us try to connect with only people we know and trust but there are times when we want to connect with someone new. When you connect with a person on LinkedIn, you typically have to state how you know the person. When connecting with someone you don’t know all that well, it doesn’t seem right to choose colleague or friend or schoolmate. But there was an option that could still work… GROUPS!
All you had to do was select a LinkedIn Group you had in common and connection could be requested. Sadly, things have changed.
LinkedIn removed the ability to choose a shared Group as a reason to connect.
Why would LinkedIn do this?
I am going to take a wild stab and say… it’s all about the money. Choosing Groups was a way to get around paying for LinkedIn. By selecting a shared Group, you could maneuver around the premium options of sending an Open Profile message or an InMail. Removing this option pushes the LinkedIn user to upgrade.
How Do I Connect with People I Don’t Know?
Now that we can’t select a shared Group when connecting with someone we don’t know very well, how can we connect with them? Here are a few alternate ways to connect:
1. Choose Friend! The only issue with this is if your account is restricted (You’ve been marked as I Don’t Know by more than just a few people), you will be prompted to enter the person’s email address. If you don’t know their email address, check out their profile to see if they posted it within the summary or another section. You can also Google their name and see if their email is floating out there on a bio or company Website. Still can’t find their email address? Try the old Jigsaw.com now named Data.com since acquired by Salesforce.com.
2. Create a Job Experience for connecting Add a new position to your LinkedIn profile. Give it an old date (so it sits at the bottom of your experiences) and create a company name of, “I’d like to get to know you” or something to that extent. The job title can be something like, “Networker.” Within the Connection Request invite, select We’ve Done Business Together and choose this company. When going this direction, it is so imperative to include a personalized note! You need to tell the person who you are and why they should accept you into their network. If you can’t offer that information, connecting may not be a good idea.
3. Skip Connecting and send a OpenProfile InMail. This option requires that both you and your target are paying members of LinkedIn and both opted for OpenProfile.
4. Connect with people via your smartphone’s LinkedIn App. When you connect on the LinkedIn App, that invitation is sent so quickly you don’t have to specify how you know them or include a personalized note. (I am not a proponent of this method since I do believe a personalized message is a must when connecting to someone you don’t know all that well).
5. Connect through Rapportive. Rapportive is an email extension that shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox. Hovering over an email address will show you more information on the person and whether you are connected on LinkedIn. If you aren’t connected, click the button and all you have to type is a note!
6. Add people through the Connections page Within the person’s LinkedIn profile, click the Relationship star icon next to the Contact Information tab. Click Connections on LinkedIn’s navigation bar. Click the search icon within the Connections page and search for the person. Hover over their record and choose Connect.
Beware When Connecting with Strangers!
It’s important to warn you that LinkedIn really means it when they say, “Only connect with people you know and trust!” When you go against their wishes, you are putting your LinkedIn account at risk. When you send an invitation to connect, the recipient can choose to report you as a person they don’t know or worse… a SPAMMER! After a few people report your invitations, you will find your account restricted and you can only connect by entering the person’s email address.
My suggestion is to connect with people you know or connect to LIONS. When you do decide to take a risk and connect with someone you don’t know all that well, include a compelling personalized note.
So what do you think? Do you have any suggestions on alternative ways to connect with people on LinkedIn? Please scroll down and let us know in the comments!
Want to Brand Yourself?Access my LinkedIn Headline Generator
Think about it... your LinkedIn headline is the FIRST THING people see of your LinkedIn profile AND it should compel them to read more! My LinkedIn Headline Generator is an online application that helps you create a POWERFUL, keyword-packed LinkedIn Headline! Choose your terms and in seconds you have an engaging, professional LinkedIn Headline that impresses!