How to Communicate the Value of Joining LinkedIn to Nonmembers

So you want to add some people to your LinkedIn network, but they haven't yet taken the plunge of signing up for the site. If you want them to accept your request by setting up their account, you might need to tout the value of LinkedIn to your contacts.

After all, recommendations are one of the most powerful sales tools, which is why all types of businesses — from e-commerce stores and retail businesses to service directories and social networking websites — use recommendations so often. Offering to help them build their profile or use LinkedIn effectively wouldn't hurt either.

Because LinkedIn (as of this writing) does not allow you to personalize your invitation to nonmembers, you will need to make this pitch either via e-mail or directly with the person you are recruiting.

So, how do you make the “sale”? (Sale is used figuratively. A basic LinkedIn account is free — a feature that you should definitely not neglect to mention to your invitees!) If you send a super-long thesis on the merits of LinkedIn, it'll most likely be ignored. If you send a simple “C'mon! You know you wanna…” request, that might or might not work.

The simplest way is to mention some of the benefits they could enjoy from joining the site:

  • LinkedIn members always stay in touch with their connections. If people you know move, change their e-mail addresses, or change jobs, you still have a live link to them via LinkedIn. You'll always be able to see their new e-mail addresses if you're connected (assuming that they provide it, of course).

  • LinkedIn members can tap into their friends’ networks for jobs or opportunities, now or later. Although someone might not need a job now, she may eventually need help, so why not access thousands or even millions of potential leads? LinkedIn has tens of millions of members in all sorts of industries, and people have obtained consulting leads, contract jobs, new careers, and even startup venture capital.

  • LinkedIn can help you build your own brand. LinkedIn members get a free profile page to build their online presence, and can link to up tothree of their own websites, such as a blog, personal website, or e-commerce store. The search engines love LinkedIn pages, which have high page rankings — and this can only boost your online identity.

  • LinkedIn can help you do all sorts of research. You might need to know more about a company before an interview, or you're looking for a certain person to help your business, or you're curious what people's opinions would be regarding an idea you have. LinkedIn is a great resource in all these situations. You can use LinkedIn to get free advice and information.

  • Employers are using LinkedIn every day. Many employers now use LinkedIn to do due diligence on a job seeker by reviewing her LinkedIn profile before an interview. If you are not on LinkedIn, an employer may see this as a red flag and it could affect your chances of getting the job.

  • A basic LinkedIn account is free, and joining LinkedIn is easy. There are a lot of misconceptions that users have to pay a monthly fee or spend a lot of time updating their LinkedIn profiles. Simply remind people that joining is free, and after they set up their profiles, LinkedIn is designed to take up very little of their time to keep an active profile.

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