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BLOGLinkedIn Connection Policy

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Social MediaTagged as: , , ,

Do you accept every LinkedIn connection request that comes your way?  Or are you selective? And is there an overall approach that can help you make this decision in a somewhat more strategic manner?  Consider the pro’s and con’s of two opposing approaches:

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 introduction to people who may be important to you.
  • 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.

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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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