How often are you in LinkedIn? I’m logged in every day. I have multiple tabs saved as my ‘home pages’ and LinkedIn is one of them. So I’m prompted to be there every day, checking for messages, invitations and articles and posts of interest.
LinkedIn is a great networking tool, if you use it as intended. LinkedIn never intended for us to connect with strangers but with people we knew or had a passing acquaintance with. Of course, these days they make it really easy to connect with strangers by prompting you with potentials you might know because they’re connected to someone you are already connected to.
But don’t be fooled – it’s still important to add a note when sending an invitation to connect and this can’t be done via your phone I don’t believe. At least, I haven’t yet found a way to add a note after pressing on Connect, even when viewing a profile. You still need to use your computer to do this, i.e. view the profile, click on connect and then add a note.
I get lots of invitations and to every one of those that don’t add a note, I send a message asking them their interest in connecting. Those that don’t reply within a week, I click ‘ignore’ as clearly they’re not serious about their use of LinkedIn, but for those who respond it opens a communication channel and I often find out what is really going on inside their head. Sometimes it’s potential work.
Sometimes it’s because I can lead them to someone else. Today’s answer to my question produced this following message:
“Good morning and thanks for presenting your question Kathie. You’re the first Virtual Assistant that presented substantial articles detailing a Virtual Assistant’s value. In that spirit, I saw value in connecting. Either way, thank you for gate-keeping your connects as time is money.
Naturally I’ve accepted. This guy has seen value in how I use my LinkedIn profile and the fact that I also ‘gate-keep’ my connections. This means that if I end up supporting him further down the track, he knows I will look after his business as much as I look after my own. He has shown respect for what I do and in turn, he has also shown he would be someone I’d like to work with, if the opportunity arises. At the very least, a communication channel has been opened.
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.