Don’t Connect With Strangers! (Part 1) - LinkedIn

From Jobsighter - Social Media for Every Day Business: Especially L...

You’ve just received a request to connect on LinkedIn from a name you don’t recognize. A stranger! What do you do?

There are two basic connecting philosophies. Call them orientations—quality and quantity. If you automatically ignore the request, you have a quality orientation. If you automatically accept the request, you have a quantity orientation.

Quality connectors emphasize long-term relationships. They believe a small circle of trusted associates is more valuable than a larger group of weak connections. Quality connectors fish with a lure.

Quantity connectors are at the opposite end. They broadcast. They send their message to any who’ll listen. They measure number of connections. And they fish with a net.

Which is the better? Neither. Both. It depends.

Most of us are between the opposite ends of the quality vs. quantity spectrum. After discovering where you lie, the question you should ask is this: does my orientation produce results?

Focus on Results

Maybe you have 20,000 connections, but are still awaiting your first lead. Think about it—are you collecting trophies instead of creating value? Or maybe you have a list of 11 trusted contacts on LinkedIn. Is this tiny group worth the trouble of maintaining an account? You catch-up with these people in person at weekly coffee meetings.

What’s the best orientation for you? How do you find it?

Try this process: make a guess, evaluate it, and make adjustments.

Making a guess means choosing a place on the spectrum. Making adjustments involves moving to the right or left.

Evaluation most important. You evaluate your effectiveness by choosing metrics that correlate to your success. You already know them. If you’re in business development, how many leads have you earned using LinkedIn? If you’re a recruiter, how many candidates have you interviewed? If you’re a job seeker, how many hiring managers have you spoken with?

In Part 2 (in two days) I’ll share my experience on the spectrum and answer the question: “do you connect with strangers?”

Where do you lie on the spectrum?

Until then, tell me about you. Where do you lie on the spectrum? How do you measure your effectiveness?


Here's the official recommendation from LinkedIn about accepting connections. Is it helpful?

Views: 61

Comment by Nicole Burnham on January 12, 2009 at 2:14pm
I do a little of both! I try to connect with as many people in my industry that may be relevant to current or future searches that I am working on. If I don't see the relevance and do not know them then I simply archive. I have found mnay candidates this way and it has eliminated the amount of cold calling that I have had to do! Linked in is great! Thanks for taking the time to write this!
Comment by Irina Shamaeva on January 12, 2009 at 7:07pm
It's everybody's personal choice and there's no right or wrong, I think. However, when you evaluate your effectiveness, it's good to notice that you can only search for people within your network and you can only be found by people from your network. If you are connected only with people you know well, your network is small and you may start paying LinkedIn to be able to search effectively. It also means that other people who do not pay will not find you by keyword searches within LinkedIn.

If you feel you must keep your network small and be selective, one way to grow your search reach and ability for others to find you is to join the most popular (and relevant) groups. Another way to search is to X-ray LinkedIn on Google - but you will only see limited profiles for people who are not from your network.

I have chosen to be an "open networker" and this works well for me. I search for candidates and we also get new resumes and new business from people who find me by keyword searches. (Speaking of effectiveness,) I forward and respond to other's requests and invitations, it doesn't take a whole lot of my time and (I think) helps some people.



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