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LinkedIn Connection Policy

by Randall Craig on May 27, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Social Media

Tagged as: , , ,

Do you accept every LinkedIn connection request that comes your way?  Or are you somewhat selective? More importantly, is there an overall approach that can help you make this decision in a somewhat more strategic manner?
The case for an exclusive black book strategy:
  • Relationships are all about depth, not breadth:  Accepting only your strongest connections means that you can focus your attention only on those you have a strong real-world relationship with.
  • Why add names of people who you don’t know, and who seek the relationship only to “spam” you with sales pitches and other irrelevant updates?
  • There is a risk that your connections will reach out to each other, and imply that their common link from you is an endorsement: in other words, you don’t want reputation used without your knowledge.
  • You don’t want your status updates littered with updates from people you don’t know or care about.
  • People will pester you asking for introductions.  Beyond the time commitment required, you may not feel comfortable giving the recommendation.  Or you may feel uncomfortable explicitly saying no.
  • Your details are private… and should stay that way.
  • Your connections are very senior, and you don’t want to share them with recruiters or salespeople.
The case for an anyone-in strategy:
  • If someone wants to be part of your community, why not?  It is their first step in building a real relationship: the least you can do is reciprocate.
  • As email spam filters become even more restrictive, communicating via LinkedIn’s status updates and the LinkedIn messaging system will become even more important.
  • The more connections you have, the bigger your network.  A large network means you are only one (or two) hops away from an introduction.
  • Why bother trying to keep your contact list up-to-date, when LinkedIn (or rather each individual) can do it for you?
  • If you are a recruiter or a salesperson, a large network opens the door to even more candidates or prospects.
Which approach to use?  It really depends upon your goals for using the system:  if you are building a business, or rely on your network to grow, it may be that anyone-in makes most sense.  If not, perhaps there is merit using an exclusive black-book approach. For most people, the sweet spot is somewhere in between.
This week’s action plan:  If you haven’t looked at your connection policy recently, perhaps now is the time to do so.
Marketing Insight:  For me, my policy has evolved.  I accept all connections from people who I have a real-world relationship with.  I accept all from members of my professional association.  And I also accept all connections from people who I think I may want to have a real-world relationship with.  I typically refuse connections from people whose motivation appears not to be a relationship, but a quick sale.

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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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