Especially for someone just starting out on LinkedIn, building a network can be an intimidating prospect. How do people manage to have thousands of connections?? How can a newbie possible catch up? It would be great if there was a shortcut, a way around the tedious, long process. Unfortunately, there isn’t, although people try to make one but inviting lists of clients or customers to connect all at once.
This, however, is a mistake. Let me ask you a question. Are you going to respond better to an invitation that reads, “Mike, I was listening to your radio show and really liked a lot of what you had to say about x. I would like to connect and further discuss yz. Sincerely, a fellow Pink Floyd fan” or “Mike, please join my network!” Chances are, you are going to prefer the first one. Why? It’s more personal. It isn’t generic. It gets the relationship started on a much better foot.
Inviting people from a list prevents you from personalizing messages. You want to keep your invitations short ‘n’ sweet, because you only get 300 characters, but you also want to include something personal. Take the time to look at the person’s profile, learn a bit about them, and look to connect with them, not just a list. This will help build you a network that is focused on relationship building and real connections, rather than just numbers. It doesn’t really do much good to have a large network without any true relationships that you can build to do business with.