Careful Saying Congrats!

Ever notice that there is a lot of social pressure to say congratulations to your network on LinkedIn lately? If you have not, log in and check your profile. There are many ways to stay in touch and with LinkedIn playing the role of your micro-managing coach, you have many avenues for saying congratulations to your colleagues who are celebrating work anniversaries. This is great, right? It can be, but be careful. Last week when one of my Board commitments hit an anniversary I received a barrage of emails that were all exactly the same-- "Congrats on the anniversary! Hope you're doing well." Now if I received one that would be nice, but seeing the same generic message from multiple people, made it less authentic. The key to connecting with people online is to make these relationships real. This might mean just a little more work for you, but it will pay off!

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Tips to sending an authentic congratulations on LinkedIn:

  1. Personalize the message. Still respond to the LinkedIn prompt, but make it appropriate to that person. Ask them how they are doing, admit you didn't know they were in that position to begin with or ask them how their kids are doing.

  • Double check your dates. Because of this automatic feature pressuring us to say congrats to everyone, many of these dates are off or your contact might not be in their job anymore. Check to make sure they would appreciate your response before sending.
  • Just like their anniversary. If you don't have time to write a quick personalized sentence then just "like" their anniversary, this still shows that you care.
  • Shoot them an email. Taking it a step further, this is a great way to engage the business relationship and genuinely show you care. Hitting an anniversary is a great reason to celebrate. If you are feeling really bold, just call.
  • The idea behind any social media outreach, whether business or personal, is to make it personal. With LinkedIn's newest features to broadcast your professional news to your entire network, your birthday or work anniversaries and when you get a new job - this does make things seem personal, but can be deceptive. Think before you click on "say congrats" and make your connections notice that you place a bit more value on them when you send them a personal email or actually pick up the phone!

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