One of the main features of LinkedIn is that it’s difficult to contact people that you don’t know. This is partially a privacy issue: After all, we put important personal information on our profiles. However, this privacy also leads to another feature: As LinkedIn’s roots are that of a professional network, making introductions, or being able to be introduced to others, is a key value of networking and business in general. With an introduction, you can connect to people outside of your network.
Here’s a case in point about the power of leveraging LinkedIn connections for introductions: Global estimates are that LinkedIn has helped 122 million users get job interviews, and 35 million to be hired due to connections made there. Of course, these numbers also represent hiring managers and recruiters that found the perfect person on LinkedIn.
Clearly, LinkedIn introductions, and networking in general on LinkedIn, are an excellent way to get hired or find talent. But what are the best practices for doing this on LinkedIn? Let’s look at the common scenarios where LinkedIn introductions are beneficial.
What is a LinkedIn Introduction?
Once upon a time, you couldn’t message or connect with anyone who wasn’t a 1st degree connection. To facilitate network expansion, there used to be a distinct functionality allowing you to request an Introduction to a 2nd degree connection from a mutually connected 1st degree connection. This is somewhat similar to being introduced to someone at a networking event.
Nowadays, the functionality has been somewhat replaced by the “Share profile in a message” option that you have for any professional LinkedIn profile.
Here, you can send connections a link to profiles of people that you know. The idea here is that the recipient will benefit from knowing that person. You can find instructions on how to do this on the LinkedIn help site.
Regardless of the way LinkedIn introductions are made, as a professional networking site, it is the most appropriate place to ask for an introduction on social media. This is especially true for business connections, whether you want to connect with recruiters, sales-related decision makers, or just an industry thought leader.
What to Do When Someone Asks You to Make an Introduction on LinkedIn?
Of course, you shouldn’t introduce your connections to everyone under the sun. Remember that you have a reputation and personal branding to protect with both parties, so first ask yourself (or the person requesting the introduction) a few questions to ensure the LinkedIn introductions are appropriate.
First, how well do you know that person asking for the introduction as well as the person they are asking to be introduced to?
If you just barely know someone, then making an introduction is somewhat risky. You might not know that a potential introduction is irrelevant to the recipient, for instance. Or, the introduction target might have concerns about professionals from certain companies or schools. In these situations, it might look bad if you make that introduction.
Second, what is the reason they are asking for an introduction?
Would it have perceived value for your connection? Let’s look at this in concrete terms. If the person who is asking for LinkedIn introductions is looking for a job and wants to meet a recruiter in the right industry, this is likely a good introduction. On the other hand, executives of companies that are government contractors won’t want to hear from somebody that’s selling courses to become government contractors.
Third, how do you think your connection would respond?
Some people don’t like getting LinkedIn introductions, especially if they’re frequent targets of irrelevant sales calls. Or, they might be impatient because they’re getting too many low-value introductions. On the positive side, though, if it’s hard to find talent for their company then they might really want those LinkedIn introductions to candidates.
The answer to each of these questions has a major impact on whether or not you should introduce two people. Proceed forward with the introduction only if you feel comfortable and positive about it, especially since the introductions you make reflect heavily on your personal brand.
How to Introduce Your Network Contacts to Each Other on LinkedIn?
First, ask for a paragraph from the person asking for the introduction to help better introduce them.
In turn, the introduction that you give will help the recipient decide if they want to connect. While in-person introductions necessitate at least some small talk, LinkedIn introductions can be ignored. This means that your delivery is even more important.
Since you are connected on LinkedIn you have access to both people’s email addresses, you could get them from their contact info if you know both of them well. Then, you could send a regular email with the requester’s LinkedIn profile link and make the introduction. After that, your recipient would have to send a connection request.
However, if you don’t know either of them well enough – or if your contact likes to keep their email address private – use the “Share a LinkedIn profile” and send the two people a message on LinkedIn making the introduction. This keeps the introduction on the network and preserves recipient privacy. Your reputation is everything-don’t risk it too much.
How to Request an Introduction on LinkedIn?
Depending on your professional development, there might be times when you would like an introduction to a 2nd degree connection. While you could try sending them an InMail or a connection request, getting LinkedIn introductions from a trusted connection or two is the best way to get more connections.
If that’s you, reverse engineer my advice above: reach out to your mutual connection letting them know why you are looking to get in touch with their contact and what value it has for them. LinkedIn introductions are something personal, so you should “sell” them on the idea. It’s especially important to do this if you want to get a job. After all, you want the connection to introduce your personal brand, not just you personally.
Next, consider that the better you make your mutual connection look the higher the chances they will invest their time in making the introduction right away. Practically speaking, this means giving them a good reason why you need the LinkedIn introductions. You should also show your connection how making an introduction can be beneficial to them. For instance, if you want a job at your connection’s company, there might be a referral bonus.
Finally, remember to also let them know that you are there for them, and ask them if there is any way in which you can help them. This might be through making LinkedIn introductions to some of your own contacts. Or, it could be helping out in another way at a later time. You never know what fellow professionals are going through.
Sample LinkedIn Introduction Template to Use to Introduce Two Contacts to Each Other
Hey [contact’s first name]
Hope you’ve been well since we last chatted.
I’m reaching out to you today on behalf of [the connection requesting the introduction], someone who [explain your relationship with them to add credibility to them]. [the connection requesting the introduction] wanted to be introduced because [explain their reason in your own words and how/why it adds value to your connection]. Here’s a little bit of additional background info:
[Add the paragraph received from you connection here]
I’ll let the two of you take it from here!
See how easy this is? By using your requestor’s introduction paragraph, you get the opportunity to introduce their personal brand. This lets your mutual connection come to life in a way that personal memory never could. Plus, especially with a job candidate you’re saving this person a more awkward “nice to meet you.” Confidence is everything! Likewise, if they have other goals then it’s great if your LinkedIn introductions help set the tone upfront.
How to Ask for a LinkedIn Introduction from Your LinkedIn Connection Sample Template
Hey [contact’s first name]
Hope you’ve been well since we last chatted.
I’m reaching out to you today to request an introduction to your connection [the person you want to be connected to].
[Explain reason why you want to be connected and what value it offers to the person you want to be connected to].
Feel free to use this paragraph describing me and my request in further detail when making the request:
[Insert paragraph adding more depth that might be copy and pasted]
Do let me know if you feel comfortable making the introduction or if there is any additional information regarding my request that you might need from me.
I really do appreciate your help, so do let me know if I can ever be of any help to you!
There are a couple of things to note here. First, you’re showing some reciprocity: the request for LinkedIn connections isn’t all about you. Rather, you are trying to make a connection that will benefit everyone involved. Even if it’s just a “thanks” from the target to your connection for introducing the next great employee. Second, you’re helping that person make the introduction. As with in-person introductions, it’s often hard to know what to say in the moment. Not only that, but it’s less effort on their part.
Over the course of your career, you may be in a position to give or receive several LinkedIn introductions. Since LinkedIn is such a valuable professional networking tool, this isn’t surprising. Many people get jobs or find important decisionmakers through the platform. And depending on your field, having a large network can be very beneficial.
With that said, you should always be careful about requesting and giving LinkedIn introductions. Every request you make, and every introduction, reflect on you as a professional. This means that it’s critical that you not spam people to get new connections. It also means that due diligence is important, so that you don’t give bad actors access to your network. However, done right these introductions are beneficial for multiple parties.
Hero photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash