linkedin introduce yourselfNeed tips for introducing yourself to interesting people you find on LinkedIn?

Even the person with good intentions who focuses on building relationships struggles to come up with an introduction strategy for LinkedIn that doesn’t sound contrived. Of course, we all want to land new business. However, all of our prospects know this when they get a LinkedIn message. They go on high alert ready to sniff out a sales message.

You can ease that and make a good first impression with the right introduction strategy. One caveat … LinkedIn prefers that you connect with people you know, so here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, if you send connection requests to the unacquainted, they can report to LinkedIn that either they don’t know you or that your message is spam. LinkedIn tracks these. If a person receives enough reports, then LinkedIn throttles the account. This means you will have to enter an email address in future invitations.

Second, customize your message by explaining why you’re requesting a connection, what you have to offer and what you’d like them to do. Think personalized and short. You get 300 characters, but the first 75 are the most important. Focus on building the relationship and being a useful resource.

The hard part about making an introduction is the opener. Once you get past that, you can then offer to help in some way that doesn’t cost anything or indicates you expect something in return.

For example, a person who works for a managed services provider can say, “If you ever need expert advice before you make a technology investment, I’d be happy to act as a sounding board for you.” Come up with a few sentences like this to use with different audiences.

So what about the opener? The following 6 strategies will help avoid introduction awkwardness.

1. Share a common connection

In browsing LinkedIn, you may discover you share a common connection with the person you wish to contact. Use that connection as a way to introduce yourself.

“I was checking in on LinkedIn when I noticed you know John Doe. He and I worked together when we were at ABC Company. Since we both know John, I thought I’d introduce myself and see if you’d like to connect.”

“I was checking in on LinkedIn when I noticed you and I know John Doe. He did some great work for my software company. Since we both know him, I thought I’d introduce myself and see if you’d like to connect.”

2. Respond to a group post

Another way to meet people is through LinkedIn groups. Watch the discussions for an opportunity to introduce yourself. If someone shared a valuable resource or posted a great tip, use it in your introduction.

“Just read your great tip on how to optimize a LinkedIn profile. I followed your advice for improving the summary. Thanks for the tip. Since we share a common interest in [topic of group], I thought I’d introduce myself and see if you’d like to connect.”

3. Mention a press release or news story

If you’re watching a company that may be a potential client, you might look to see if it has any recent press releases or mentions in a news story. Or create an alert to notify you whenever the company’s name is mentioned. Since press releases often contain news, they should give you a good opener to introduce yourself.

Begin by talking about the press release. And then introduce yourself with a quick and understandable description of what you do.

“I saw in the news that your company is moving into my neighborhood. Welcome! I hope you like it here as much as I do. Since we’re neighbors, I thought I’d introduce myself and ask if you would like to connect.”

“I read in today’s paper that your company is moving to a new office. I have some IT strategies that could cut the cost of setting up a network. Would you like me to share them with you?”

4. Follow up on a profile visit

Most people on LinkedIn know that we can find out who visited our profiles, which provides another good source for an opening.

“I notice that you viewed my profile. Were you looking for something specific? Maybe I can help you or point the way. While we’re at it, would you like to connect?”

5. Refer to a comment in social media

Maybe a tweet catches your eye. You looked up the person’s Twitter profile and would be interested in connecting. You can either send a message asking the person to connect in LinkedIn or send a LinkedIn request with a customized message.

“Caught your tweet about selecting the right MSP and looked you up. It looks like you are working on some interesting projects. Would you be interested in connecting?”

6. Comment on LinkedIn or website blog post

Who doesn’t love getting an intelligent comment on a blog post? A good way to connect with someone is to do just that. It’s also an opportune time to take it further with a personal introduction. Mention the blog post and why you found it valuable. Then go on to explain that because you liked what the person had to say, you’d like to connect.

“Read your blog post about writing a LinkedIn profile in first or third person. Because of your advice, I switched my summary to first person. I checked out a couple more of your posts and would like to connect with you because I like your insights. Would you be interesting in connecting?”

After accepting your connection request, be sure to tag the person or make notes on their profile. Tagging helps segment your connections. In your notes, you may mention where you found the person and why you decided to connect. Remember no one can see your notes.

Once you’ve connected, try to follow up and stay in touch. Need help? Here are 6 ways to keep in touch on LinkedIn.

What introduction strategy do you use on LinkedIn?