Last year I wrote an ebook on social media for business. In it I outlined what I thought the rules should be for connecting to people on LinkedIn. These are that they should be people who
– You do business with
– You would have a drink with after a meeting
– You would recommend to a trusted client
A lot of people see social media as a numbers game – and in the book I argued that I had not definitely made up my mind, but I was of the view that for most businesses it will be about quality and really rating your connections.
Yesterday I wondered if I have this all wrong. Apparently I have offended someone because I said (I thought very nicely) that I didn’t know him in business – but hoped one day I would.
There was no slur on him as an individual or his credibility – I’m just following the rules created for my LinkedIn account.
But is this still right? Have things moved on so far that now we are expected to accept anyone, regardless of whether we know them enough to recommend them?
At the moment I have about 50 invitations pending – and most of them I have no idea what to do with. I’ve got rid of the spam, these are people where I know the networks they are in, they might belong to the same group as me or we are connected to a number of mutual contacts.
I have already been frumpy in saying that I only want to accept invitations where someone has bothered to do a personal note to me. And only two or three of my pending invitations have anything remotely personalised about the message.
What are you doing? And should I accept all invitations where I sort of know who they are?
Interesting …. wonder if our behaviour is shifting, perhaps as a result of Twitter?
For me, this goes back to the classic question for any communications – what are your objectives? what are you trying to achieve? why are you using LinkedIn? for what purpose?
So if you are looking for new business leads, in a different sector or if you are not concerned about where they come from, you take a more liberal approach. In this way, you may pick up interest from distant, unanticipated connections. However, if you want to develop an exclusive or defined set of connections, you would be inclined to stick to the criteria you set out.
I tend to opt for people who I think I might do business with or with whom I have some degree of familiarity. I am deeply antipathetic to those who don’t personalise, often being slow to reply and then (usually) with a personal note! I have to confess that if I am sure I don’t wish to connect, for whatever reason, I take the easy option and ignore the invitation. It’s highly unlikely to be from someone who had made the effort to contact ME.
As for offence being taken, I doubt it – probably more ” I wonder why not???” Especially as I suspect your courteous approach is unusual. People are probably much more likely to ignore an invitation, as I do.
Maybe we need to be more mindful of the impact of not connecting, however we do it – after all, it’s still sending a message. We need to consider whether it is the one we want.
I agree with you Victoria. I only accept people on Linkedin that I have met, spoken to or corresponded with and I am pretty sure that I want to meet or do business with again. I’ve reached that age in life when frankly I can start being rather choosy about whom I want to connect with and I don’t want to connect with any tom, dick or harry and their female equivalents. Usually, I just send them an email asking if we have we ever met, or spoken, and if not, why do you want to connect with me. If their answer is half decent I might say yes.