Sunday, September 15, 2013

An argument for generic LinkedIn invites

You've probably seen a blog post, heard a podcast, or attended a webinar that called for an end to generic LinkedIn invitations. Everyone is talking about it. And everyone seems to be in agreement. For example, here are 10 opinions from some industry experts:
But I couldn't disagree more! I am here to argue exactly the opposite:

You don't need to customize your LinkedIn invitations to connect.

You don't customize each phone call greeting do you? No, you simply say "Hello". And when you handwrite a letter you simply start with "Dear". So why do we have to customize our LinkedIn greetings? In an effort to combat the 10 (thousand) posts that are telling you why you should, here are 10 reasons why you shouldn't:
  1. It's easier to send generic invitations! Why are we making technology (that is supposed to make the world simpler and more convenient) more complicated by forcing people to customize each individual LinkedIn invitation?
  2. The people who send these generic invites aren't lazy, they're busy! Time is money, so the fact that you didn't take the time to customize your message likely means you're a busy, successful businessperson who understands this concept, and therefore someone others should want to connect with on LinkedIn.
  3. The LinkedIn mobile app does not allow you to customize your message, so the request likely came from someone innovative and technologically savvy who, again, you should want to connect with on LinkedIn.
  4. The LinkedIn social connector add-on for Outlook also does not allow you to customize invitations, but it is the quickest and most effective way to connect with someone you just exchanged emails with while at the office.
  5. Nobody reads, so until LinkedIn allows you to embed a 30-second elevator pitch video recording in each invitation you might as well not waste the time writing it.
  6. Everyone should accept every LinkedIn invite to connect (you can always block them later), but the whole point of a social network is to connect with people, so why does it matter what their invitation said? The real power is what they bring to your network after you connect. If you accept someone's invitation and they are constantly spamming you, block them (but, unless you're a celebrity, this will rarely happen).
  7. If people don't accept every invite, they can still check out your LinkedIn profile (and Google you) to find out more about you than you could possibly explain in the invitation's 300 character limit.
  8. LinkedIn itself even says the ability to "add a personal note" is OPTIONAL! If it was required it would just be a blank text input box without a generic template.
  9. You don't have to customize your "friendship" requests on Facebook or requests to follow on Twitter and Instagram (the so-called "personal" social networks), so why do you need to personalize your invitations to connect on LinkedIn (the so-called "professional" social network)?
  10. And lastly, again, no one should expect you to customize your LinkedIn invites until everyone starts answering the phone, "Hello this is Ryan an innovative and creative marketer who would like to talk to you on the phone right now and here's why you shouldn't hang up yet..."
Are you on team generic LinkedIn invitations? If so, add your reasons below! Or if not, feel free to tell me why I'm wrong: