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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.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Most leaders are not aware of the range of risks that lurk behind the shiny pull of many Social Media sites and activities.  Many can be mitigated if identified in the planning stages, through training, policy, or through changes of internal process. Monitoring can catch others; early detection can lessen their impact. Finally, some risks are just too high, and should be avoided completely.

The list below identifies some of the risks we’ve encountered over the years.


  • Legislative Risks (CASL, Accessibility)
  • Identity Theft and Brand Hijacking
  • Auto-generated Profiles
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Disengaging key audiences
  • Social Media consolidation
  • Poor (or no) community management
  • Ghost Town
  • Embarrassing posts
  • Social Engineering
  • Competitive Trouble-making
  • Crisis management
  • Keyword matching
  • Profile counter-messaging (using PPC ads)
  • Stakeholder expectation mismatch
  • Comment spam
  • Listening without hearing
  • Contest fraud


  • No Policy or Guidelines
  • No training
  • No monitoring or measurement
  • Employee productivity
  • Risky employee use
  • Improper use of Social Media for candidate sourcing or reference checks
  • Bad hires
  • Departmental Social Media “expert” or intern becomes a lone cowboy
  • No integrated Contact Center capability (Click to Chat, Twitter, etc.)
  • Unempowered Contact Center or Social Media group staff
  • Non Social Media-savvy people as official spokespersons
  • Underestimating the influence (and speed) of Social Media
  • Senior leadership misuses it (or doesn’t use it at all)
  • Website/Blog attacks
  • Ownership of Followers, especially when an employee leaves
  • Not using it to engage stakeholders…

This week’s action plan:  How many of these risks do you recognize?  This week, identify the top 2-3, and take steps to mitigate them.

PS:  Are there more risks to add to the list?  Let us know and we’ll update the post…

PPS:  We have developed social media risk mitigation policies for many organizations.  Interested in a short conversation on the topic?  Please reach out at, or 416-256-7773 x101

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Can you ever have too many friends? (yes)

by Randall Craig March 29, 2012

Do you play the milestone game with your Social Media accounts? When you first sign up, you aim for ten connections.  Then 50, 100, 250, and finally the coveted 500 – you’ve arrived.  And then you aim for 1000.  How many is too many? As I look at my own LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, it […]

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Social Media Fatigue

by Randall Craig July 19, 2011

If you’re like most people, you get three types of email: the kind you want, the kind you don’t want (spam), and invitations to “connect” on the latest social media website. It’s this third category that poses  a problem: responding yes is time consuming (and sometimes inappropriate), but responding no might be taken as insulting. […]

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