[01.09.12]
50 great comments!

Do You Accept All Invites On LinkedIn?

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I see it a lot on LinkedIn. Less often today thankfully.  But there must be some old handbook for LinkedIn lying around that says “go get as many as you can.” Within my LinkedIn group sometimes it pops up and in other groups across the platform.  What am I seeing?

“I accept all invites!”

Please don’t do this and if you do I don’t want to hear about it.  Because I manage my LinkedIn group pretty tightly, there aren’t any random “connect with me now” posts.  But every once in a while, someone will share this sentiment in their introduction.

I don’t accept all invites.

If you accept all invites, my goal here is not to embarrass or belittle your network building strategy.  But rather to tell you why I think it is a really bad methodology for building a network on LinkedIn.

It is the ultimate in laziness on a business network where social credibility really matters. So don’t be lazy on LinkedIn.  And don’t treat your connections (and potential connections) like they are a dime a dozen.

Treat them like family.

At least like a distant Uncle.  Please take a few minutes each time you consider accepting a connection request or think about requesting one.  If you don’t what are the odds that the connection will go further?

Why? Here’s my belief:

That 95% of connections on LinkedIn never get consummated.  Pollination never occurs.  And the larger social ecosystem on LinkedIn is left in the lurch.

A little dramatic I suppose.  All the great friendships envisioned are now left shuddering on the social networking floor.

Imagine a huge apple orchard full of fresh blossoms, lots of bees.  This time the bees land and leave without doing their business.

The result? No apples.

My advice? Do your business.

Start pollinating.

If you don’t start a connection with (at minimum) a personal introduction on LinkedIn, you will kick-off each connection (relationship) with such a small amount of commitment that you might as well avoid connecting altogether.

And then I hear people say “I’m building my network for when I need it”.  Which I agree with, by the way.  But you are doing it wrong.  Connecting with a few hundred people without even a small interaction leaves you with nothing.  Because “being connected” means nothing if your first attempt to use the connection leads to a dead-end.

If connecting with as many people as possible is truly of value, we should just go ahead and ask LinkedIn to save us the time and connect us all automatically.  That way we can all say we have over 100 million connections on LinkedIn. And then start from scratch on another platform.

But I don’t think they’ll go for that.  Will you?

Thanks LadyDragonflyCC for the great photo via Flickr

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.



Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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  • Queen Schmooze

    Love the post Tim. Why would I accept any invite that didn’t come with a reason or an idea of what’s in it for them or me?

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Thanks Michelle!  Yep, that’s right.  :-)

  • Kansas Barbie

    Great article Tim. I agree wholeheartedly!

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Thanks Kansas – glad to have you on board.  :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Tim, great post, I am amazed by the number of request I
    receive from people I have met at a networking or industry event that have no
    reason why we should connect, just the generic “ __________ indicates you are a
    friend.” Please take the time to say where we met and why we should connect. While
    I have people in my network I have not met in person, they are few.  However, I have had extended conversation with
    these individuals. Like you I want my network to have value and the better I
    know my contacts the greater the value of my network. If you want to connect
    with me expect to at a minimum sit down for coffee, if you are out of area,
    expect to see an email from me with some questions so I know a little about
    you.

     

    Thanks for the great post and all that you do
    for all of us in the job search.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Hey Glen – Yes, you clearly share my belief here. All I am asking for is a small effort.  It indicates to me a minimum upfront commitment that suggests that each of us can give more down the road when one of us needs it.

  • Tom Furlong

    I sometimes question the value of a contact who brags about their “xK” number of connections- and if there are looking to monetize their LinkedIn network. However, as a job seeker and interested networker, I do reach out to people I have never met so that I can keep abreast of their thoughts and insights. It has to go both ways- when I reach out to a “stranger” I personalize the reasons why I am asking for the invite and what I might offer to them.

    I also agree with this thought- when I receive a non-personalized request from someone I don’t know I have to treat it as spam and disregard.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Thanks Tom – Yes, it’s OK and recommended to reach out to “strangers” as long as your communication is personal and relevant.  It takes just a few minutes to do this and it really matters.

  • Guest

    If you’re goal is to get hired via LinkedIn, you need to appear in searches and to be at the top of searches. You need many connections for this. I suggest a liberal approach to accepting invites.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Thanks for offering a different view – really appreciate that . . . I guess it depends on how you define “many connections”.  I certainly agree that having more connections is a good thing. It allows you to reach more people, may improve your search results (especially if it gets you above single digits) and allow people to view you as a lower connection risk.  But more generic connections is not the answer.

      Instead of having a liberal approach to accepting invites, I encourage job seekers to purposefully and personally request smart connections in their industry or geography. Add connections that way and you’ve optimized your connections and use of the platform.

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  • http://twitter.com/GregAboveTheRim Greg Johnson

    Tim,

    Great post as usual! I like the comment, “Do not be lazy on linkedIn” One of my biggest frustrations is someone who I have never met before indicates they are a friend and sends the standard request to join their professional network. Please take the time to personalize invitations, and give the person you are inviting to connect a good reason to want to accept.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Yes, agree, and thanks Greg.  Such a simple thing but so few people do it.

  • http://www.creativeconflicts.com Nora Femenia

    No way!
    First, I ignore incomplete profiles; second, I reject people indicating I have worked with them at entities in places I have never been, (like Africa, India, etc). Third, I look for the personal connection piece: have they read my profile? selected shared interests? (I’m asking for this piece in my profile). 
    Even the number of contacts I have now is too big to be managed in a personal way…thanks for asking! 

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Glad to hear you are picky, Nora. While you hate to “ignore” people (especially good people who aren’t familiar with LinkedIn), it is too hard to keep track without a system of some kind. Thanks for sharing your method.

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