Update: LinkedIn has since changed the way users send bulk messages. You can read more about it here.
Get more out of LinkedIn
You can take the passive approach to LinkedIn, where you update your profile, debate and accept a few invitations and hope for the best. Or you can take a proactive approach that allows you to communicate with your LinkedIn Connections according to what is relevant between yourselves.
One way to do this is to send a Message within LinkedIn, to a set of people that you have Tagged according to your priorities.
Why you would want to Tag LinkedIn Connections
You can Tag your LinkedIn Connections and Contacts according to your own sorting criteria. For example, you may want to tag them according to whether they are clients or prospects, colleagues, members of a particular professional body, class mates, friends vs professional acquaintances, or competitors.
Tagging connections means that you can call up a set of people and either message them, or look through your set to find the most appropriate person.
For example, you may want to look at your clients on LinkedIn, and have them tagged according to region. If you are going to be in that town or region, you will be able to contact anyone, or everyone, in that set and try and set up a face to face meeting.
You may have written a blog post that would be of particular interest to your colleagues, or your old class mates, and then you can send them a message with a link to the blog.
How to Tag LinkedIn Connections
Tagging is easy. Go to the contact’s profile, and just beneath their headline area are two tabs: Relationship and Contact Info.
Under Relationship will be the Tag option. Click on that, choose an existing tag or scroll to the bottom where you can enter your own tag.
If you need to edit tags at any stage you can do that from the Manage Tags option. There you can correct spelling, change or delete tags.
Your tags are not visible to anyone else. No one will know that you have tagged them. Still, be cautious about using any sensitive type wording
if there is any possibility that anyone else will see your LinkedIn information.
Sets of 50
Don’t put more than 50 people in a set. LinkedIn allows you to send to 50 people at a time, but not more. They wouldn’t want you using their tool as a free mass mailer, and then people would connect indiscriminately to grow their database.
So make sets of 50. If you have more than 50 of a particular type, then name them Client01, Client02 etc.
We are referring to these people as ‘sets’ as opposed to ‘groups’ because of the Group functionality on LinkedIn. Groups are useful but serve a different purpose. You can post to Groups and have conversations there, but it is not the same as sending a direct message.
How to Send Messages to Tagged Sets on LinkedIn
Select the Tag you want to send a message to, then Select all at the top left hand side of the page. NB: Scroll down to ensure that all the people in the set have been selected. There is a great deal of information that is coming up on your screen and if you don’t scroll down then you will not have the connections at the bottom of the tab selected for your mail.
Once they are all selected, then click on Message at the top.
The message email comes up allowing to you add one or two names, or delete some if necessary. Enter your Subject and Message. You can’t personalize this, so use a more generic greeting line, if any.
Very important! At the bottom of the screen is an option to “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.” Please turn this OFF. It annoys people when their contact details are shared with 49 other people, some of whom are sure to add those addresses to their database.
There you go! You can now send to multiple people at the same time. If you do need to send the same message to a number of sets of 50, then have it in a text file and copy and paste it into your message block. It is still a little time consuming, but certainly a worthwhile exercise to get the right message to the correct set of people.
And if you start tagging early and tag each new connection as they invite you or you invite them, then it will be easier to have all your contacts tagged appropriately and make your LinkedIn profile more useful.