Who should I connect to on LinkedIn?

Good morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Who should I connect to is a question I get asked A LOT.  If you are using LinkedIn you will see that there are some people with around 200 connections and others with over 500, and then there are the LIONs…. LIONs are LinkedIn Open Networkers, basically this means that they will connect with anyone.  Often they have LION after their name so that you know.

When you are deciding on your LinkedIn strategy (yes you need a strategy), this is when you decide how you want to use it,

  • You may want to expand your network in just Australia (or the country you live in)
  • You may just want to connect with people you have worked with previously
  • You may be trying to build your reputation & credibility
  • You may be looking for new sales leads
  • You may be looking for peers in your industry to discuss ideas with

Whatever you decide is the reason to use LinkedIn that will then decide on who you connect with.  Some people are very wary of those who collect connections like stamps, and others think that is a good strategy as you never know when you can help them or vice versa.  Whatever you decide to go with remember that this is SUPPOSED to be a social network, which guess what?  means the idea is to build relationships with these people, not just collect them to say hey look everyone I have 532 (I really do) connections nah nah nah nah….

OK, so you now know why you are using LinkedIn so when people send you requests to connect you know whether to accept or decline, plus you know who you want to search for and add and who you won’t bother looking up.  WARNING: LinkedIn can suck your time!

Below is a screen shot from my LinkedIn from two people that asked to connect with me.  The first one Katherine I know, as in have met and have worked with, so I am happy to connect to her – my strategy for LinkedIn is to build my reputation and credibility in the social media space, but also to connect with people I actually know offline.  The second invitation came from Andrew, he included the standard LinkedIn message “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”, now I don’t know Andrew from a bar of soap, I have looked at his profile and can see that he is an author, but I don’t understand why he wants to connect with me… apart from the fact that I am fabulous :)

My policy on randoms sending me LinkedIn invites is either decline them, or email them back asking why they want to connect (usually a bit more flowery than that).  My point to this ramble is that when you are sending invitations to people you haven’t met and haven’t interacted with then you need to say more than I want to connect.  You can say I’ve seen your comments in the group and would love to know more about what you do, or I’ve noticed you are in x area and I’d love to understand more about it or even say I’ve read your book and am a huge fan – get the picture?

You are trying to build a relationship with these people, think of it like this:  Would you go up to someone on the street who you don’t know and ask if you can be their friend? NO?  So why does it make it ok to do it on LinkedIn?  It’s not.

Who you connect with on LinkedIn is a reflection on you as a person, don’t feel you have to accept everyone, you choose who you want to connect with.  If you want to connect with me (Lara Solomon) on LinkedIn then I am happy to accept any connections that tell me how fabulous I am :)

Anyone got any LinkedIn connection horror stories?  I love a good story… tell me in the comments

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