I run a group on Linked In with almost 500 global members united to discuss Campus Recruiting, social media & attracting/retaining millennials. As a very active LinkedIn member and discussion lead in my group, I often have people from my group & other groups I belong to ask to connect on LinkedIn. These are people that know my voice through the group but I don’t know theirs. It creates a conundrum. Do I accept? How many LinkedIn Connections are too many? How valuable is connecting with everyone? How guarded should you be of your connections?
I have spoken before about how important it is to sit down and write a personal social media policy to determine your voice & use of social media sites. I wrote mine approximately 8 months ago and visit it approximately once a quarter as the sites change so often that my usage must also adapt.
Looking back, this is how I had set out to use LinkedIn:
- This is my 100% professional network
- I will maintain my 100% completed profile
- I will seek recommendations based on new opportunities like speaking engagements etc that will further my reputation/work in the field
- I will not automatically recommend those that recommend me. I will limit my recommendations to only those that I truly want to highlight their skills and abilities to maintain my credibility
- I will update my profile often with updated information and experiences
- I will always write a personal connection note when connecting with someone new
- I will only create introductions between connections I feel will benefit both parties. I will respect and guard my connection’s privacy.
- I will accept only those connections I have emailed with personally, met at conferences or spoken with. I value these connections as people I can truly do business with.
My Group: Campus Recruiting & Social Media: Finding the Best Millennials:
- I will create a new discussion topic once a week if one is not created
- I will send each person requesting to be part of my Group a personal note based on their profile to outline the purpose of the group and how they can gain insights/participate
- I will encourage my colleagues and new business connections to participate
- I will promote my group via other sites & encourage new networks to participate but only through relevant engagements versus spamming
- I will seek out relevant information to create cutting edge discussion topics and facilitate experts speaking in this forum
Note the last bolded bullet under my profile. I currently have over 25 connection requests sitting in my inbox that I haven’t responded to – am I being rude or indecisive in responding? Should I ask for more information on why we should connect or do I immediately decline without responding? I’m torn as some are members of a group I run. Most of these requests don’t send me a personalized message and they don’t try to build a relationship. I sat down today & decided to deal with these invites by sending the below message:
“Thank you for the invitation. Unfortunately I have to decline at this time as I have a personal LinkedIn Social Media policy that I only connect with individuals I know in order to protect my connections and build my network. I look forward to building up a relationship through contributions in our shared LinkedIn Group."
Geeky? Worthwhile? Does it help separate the valuable connections from the duds? If I’m not worth a response or a personalized invite (which none really had), then I have an answer right there. Only a few people have responded and started building a relationship creating value for me to connect. I don’t want to have 1,000 connections as then my connections lose value & I’m not respecting those people who have trusted me to connect.
How do you manage your LinkedIn requests & connections?