Why Reach Out To Someone Outside of LinkedIn?

December 23rd, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

Last week I wrote Think Like a Recruiter while on LinkedIn, and Bill Kerschbaum asked:

So what are the advantages to contacting someone outside of LinkedIn, in your opinion?

Well, thanks for asking Bill :p

I remember seeing things in LinkedIn where they suggest that sending messages THROUGH LinkedIn will get you better results.  Check this image out (found somewhere in the account comparison pages):


I personally don’t buy that… 30x more likely?  I don’t know… if that’s true then why do people even try with cold calls?  And, I’ve had LinkedIn messages go into my spam filters… spam filters suck, and are quite unintelligent, and I think that claim is not something they can ensure.

Back to the question… why do I recommend contacting people OUTSIDE of LinkedIn?

For one simple reason: People are used to this little thing we call “email.”

It’s natural, it’s common, it’s acceptable.

Many people don’t know what LinkedIn is, even if they have an account there.

Many people associate LinkedIn with Facebook and MySpace (I hear it all the time as I speak across the country).

LinkedIn messaging does not have the same clout at a regular email.

Maybe, to some, it has MORE.  But I’ll venture, I’ll assume, to most, it might be one of those “what’s that?? Is it spam?  IS it something I should pay attention to?”

So that’s my bias.

I use Introductions, and I use InMail… but if I can, I use regular email.

I’m not saying this is the only right answer, but it is part of my strategy.  What do you think?

  1. 2 Responses to “Why Reach Out To Someone Outside of LinkedIn?”

  2. By Don Stewart on Dec 28, 2009 | Reply

    I cannot agree with Jason enough. Even though it is hard to believe, there are many people out there who either don’t know what LinkedIn is or even worse, have no clue why they have an account and what they should be using it for.

    I have been successful in contacting people outside of LinkedIn using the same strategies that I would for contacting someone withing LinkedIn….
    1) Find someone who’s name you can use OR who is willing to make an introduction for you.
    2) Make sure you know “Why” your contact is willing to make that introduction or allowing you to use their name. That is….in speaking with Jason, he may say, “Sure Don you can use my name to contact XXX.” My comment would be “Thanks Jason, can I say that you gave me XXX’s name because…….” or ” Thanks Jason. In addition to my asking you to make that connection, are there any other reasons why you think I should connect with XXX?” Now when you make the connection, you can state that “XXXX, in a recent conversation with Jason, he suggested I reach out to you because…..” Adds LOTS of creditability.
    3) Use the communication tool you feel most comfortable with….email to their direct email account, phone and even standard first class mail.

    Although LinkedIn is a GREAT tool, not everyone is using it like you are. Use the communications tools you KNOW they are using…email, phone and snail mail!

    Best of luck to all.


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