Do You Accept LinkedIn Connections From People You Don’t Personally Know?


Connect with LinkedInNot long ago, most people’s advice was to ignore invitations from those you don’t know. However, recently I have been receiving a significant number of that type of invitation, which makes me want to revisit the following questions:

If you don’t, are you concerned that you may miss out on job or other opportunities?

If you do, has there ever been a downside?

This is a good question for us all to consider, especially as LinkedIn makes it easier to invite connections. (It’s also pretty clear that LinkedIn likes larger networks.)

It’s ok to accept a LinkedIn connection from someone you don’t know

It’s ok to accept a LinkedIn connection from someone you don’t knowI make a value judgement based on the contact if I don’t know them personally:

  • Who do they know in my network, 1 person, a bunch of people? Is that person or persons a recent contact or one I know well?
  • What is their profile like – fully filled out with lots of recommendations or something quick and slapped together?
  • What do they do – if they’re someone looking to farm contacts and spam me with sales messages I’m less likely to link them.
  • Did they look at my profile first – I can decide if people bothered to look at my profile before I link back to them.
  • Are they a potential customer or valuable networking contact?
  • How many other contacts do THEY have?
  • Are they active at blogging or posting or does everything in their feed look like an advertisement?
  • If they are active, do they engage?
  • Are they inside or outside the US?
  • Are they in the local area or someplace else in the US?
  • Are they in a competitive company to mine or one that might complement it?

In other words, their profile is key even if no contacts in common.

I also look at behavior:

  • Custom invite message vs canned one (not as good a predictor as some of the mobile invite workflows don’t allow you to customize the invite)
  • If they spam me right away – I block them right away.
  • Do they send me a thank you for the accept or just ignore me?

A strong LinkedIn network is built with strong connections

My main use of LinkedIn is to see who I know that knows someone I want to meetOriginally, I LinkedIn only with people I knew and could vouch for. But my main use of LinkedIn is to see who I know that knows someone I want to meet. So for that purpose, having a larger network is better.

I have met some really interesting people who initiated a friend request with me, and based on their background and LinkedIn profile, I decided it would be helpful to get to know them.

So to meet new and interesting people, and to have a big network that can help me to get a warm introduction to people I want to meet, I now accept some requests from people I don’t know. I especially accept them if they are interesting to me, or if we have several or many mutual connections consisting of people I know and respect.

The biggest downside for me is that every week I get connection requests from people who want to sell me something. If they abuse me with sales messages, most of the time I go back and remove those connections.

What’s your thoughts?

Good Selling!
Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

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