How To Handle New LinkedIn Connections Requests
Good things have been happening with LinkedIn recently.
Social media has changed drastically in the last 5-7 years. Since the introduction of smartphones, social media has changed from something that you would check once in awhile to something you’re enticed to check nearly all the time.
That’s how it is with the most popular networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
LinkedIn has always been a little different. The focus has always been on professional connections. There is an underlying culture that makes people think about work when they’re on the network. And that has been a benefit for users.
Recently, LinkedIn seems to have put a focus on making it more valuable for people to use the network. One benefit is seeing content that comes in the form of posts, videos and articles. Another benefit is finding job opportunities. Another is finding partner, vendor and other business opportunities.
And there is also the benefit of connecting with people for work reasons. These can lead to new opportunities, but there can also be hassles.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to handling LinkedIn connection requests…
#1. What Do You Want From LinkedIn?
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself in life is:
What do I want…
It pertains to your personal life. Your work life. And also the little things you do such as engaging in LinkedIn.
In that sense, it’s important to know what you want from the network.
For some, it will be to look for new job opportunities. Both learning about what is available and what might be a fit for you.
For others, it will be about connecting with possible customers. A more sales-focused reason.
Some may use the service for recruiting. Others may use it simply to connect with people with similar professional interests without any specific ideas of what the relationship may bring in the future.
Think about the reason you want to engage on LinkedIn. Knowing this will help you determine how you handle your connections.
#2. Avoid Pushy Sales Connections
One of the issues with LinkedIn right now, probably because the network is becoming more useful and used, is push sales connections, messages and spam.
You’ll see a new connection request and it will immediately be followed by one or multiple sales messages.
I’m not a fan of these.
If you’re busy, and most people are, there just isn’t time for these. There may be one good one out of a hundred, but even then it’s not worth the effort. If you need something you’ll seek it out on your own.
You can look for these messages when a new connection request comes along. Glance over the message. If they’re selling something just deny the request and move on.
However, they may be sending a friendly message that isn’t salesy.
I typically accept just about any connection that doesn’t come with a sales pitch attached. But if that bond is ever broken with a sales pitch that gets too invasive, then I remove the connection.
More on that later.
#3. Seeking Out Connections (And How To Handle The Introduction)
On the flip side is you reaching out to connect with others. I recommend doing this.
One way I do it is to look at some of my best connections in the business world and looking at 2nd degree connections. Folks that are similar to them that might lead to mutually positive relationships in the future.
To be clear, I’m not thinking about connecting and sending sales messages with anyone. I’m looking to connect, possibly learn more about them and see where it goes from there.
Let’s say you have a wonderful vendor. You look at their connections. You see someone that looks like successful and that may share the same values as you. Ask to connect. Create a specific message that mentions how you found them and that you’d like to connect.
Then leave it be. If they followup you can continue the conversation, but mostly follow them to see if they change jobs in the future. See if they share content. Just get to know them.
The more you do this the more you’ll see little opportunities to connect with appropriate messages.
For example, someone may change jobs and post a message talking about a new initiative they’re going to run and that they need help. You could be the person that helps them.
#4. Unfollowing & Removing Connections
Finally, it is good to audit your connections on LinkedIn from time to time. Let’s call it every 6 or 12 months. Take an hour to go through your connections and messages.
See who has been spamming you. See who has been flooding your feed with content that you don’t really care to see.
You can unfollow updates while remaining connected. And you can also remove the connection.
LinkedIn has become a great professional tool. The main keys are to know why you use the network and to have a long-term approach to what you want. The more you think short-term the more you’re likely to abuse relationships. And that’s obviously not good for anyone.
But use it appropriately and you’re likely to get some really good value.