LinkedIn allows group members to send messages to other group members. It does not matter if the other group member is a “2nd” or a “3rd” or even outside their network altogether. And it is free. Why don’t more people know about this? Why aren’t more people using it?
How it works
In any group you belong to, go to the “members”. A list of group members will come up, with first level then second, then thirds. Under each persons name is their title and address, and beneath that a line that includes “follow”, “see activity”, “connect” (if they are not a current connection) and “send message”. Clicking on “send message” brings a up a message box. When a message is sent the recipient will see it in their LinkedIn inbox.
This is no mass mailing methodology. LinkedIn wants people to network, not inundate each other with spam and sales pitches. It is a means to send a message to a fellow group member.
What this means
If there is someone you want to meet and you share a LinkedIn group, you can send them a message. Free. No ten dollars for an InMail. No trying to get an introduction through a connection. Direct. From you to the person you want to reach. You just have to be in the same group. So join lots of groups where people you would like to meet will be members. Or join a group that the specific person you want to meet belongs to.
And the challenge
There is always a catch, a caveat, a “yeah, but…”. And here it is: just because you can send someone a message does not mean that they will respond. They can ignore you, or they could even report you to LinkedIn as a spammer. Getting people to respond to a direct message through a shared Linked group is not easy but it is not rocket science either. Just make it clear to them what’s in it for them.
I conducted some large scale experiments with using the in-group messaging system (seriously large scale: in one I sent seven hundred messages, one at a time) and found that when I offered something to the people I sent messages to, I got a thirty per cent response rate.
Okay, let’s summarize: a feature that allows me to send messages to any one of tens of millions of LinkedIn users. The messages are direct, and cost nothing. And the response rate to a well written message is much, much higher than using email. Now that sounds like a great feature; one that people should know about and should be using.