“Back in the day” is a phrase that is often used to refer to a blissful time in the past when life was simpler. For example, back in the day, you could get away with a LinkedIn message as follows:
“I noticed we share some of the same groups so I wanted to reach out. I’d love to start a conversation with you about your blah, blah efforts. When would be a good time for a chat?”
Wait a minute Alan; I’m still using that approach today! Well, first of all, if that approach is getting meetings for you, keep using it. I’d never tell you to stop doing something that produces the results you desire. But my guess is that you don’t get many replies. Here’s why:
1. There are over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups and over 8,000 new groups formed weekly. In fact, there are some LinkedIn groups that have over one million members. Back in the day, before the group explosion, an affiliation through a common interest was more unique and could attract attention.
2. You can join up to 50 groups. Back in the day, you could join as many as you wanted, but that functionality changed around 2008. The average LinkedIn user joins seven groups, so the 50 limit seems to be more than enough. The fact that you didn’t take the time to mention a specific group just tells me you are casting a wide net and hoping something will stick. You might as well as said “I noticed we both speak English.”
3. We are all coached to join. Join Facebook, join Twitter, join LinkedIn so you can join the conversation and be a thought-leader. Yes, we are both members of a common group. That just suggests we both know the potential power of a community, in addition to what types of personas are likely to do business with us. Congratulations, you understand target marketing. That factor alone will not make you my new trusted advisor.
OK, you just told me why I’m not getting any replies. What should I be doing differently?
“Your comment in the (specific) group was spot on. I noticed it was related to your recent blog post on (specific). In the spirit of networking I’d like to learn how that strategy impacts your blah efforts. I’d be willing to share some research that helps support your position.” May I extend a connection request?
1. Obviously the approach above suggests you took much more time researching my blogging background, interests and participation in group conversations. From the beginning this approach takes away the feel of “spray and prays” and screams personalization.
2. You played to my ego, and believe me; every executive likes to have their opinions validated. As Mark Twain stated … “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
3. You crafted the message so that it was about me and not about your product or company. You also offered value-add (access to research), and made a polite request in your attempt to build rapport and trust. “When would be a good time for a chat” only feels like you’re trying to close me.