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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10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to Read

10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to ReadFind insight and benefit from the thought-provoking blogs of these product marketing experts.  Each tackles the problems and issues that we all face as product marketers from their unique perspectives.  My top 10 list, in no particular order, includes:

  1. Shardul Mehta – Street Smart Product Manager
  2. Jeff Lash – How To Be A Good Product Manager
  3. Marlon Davis – Connecting.Some.Dots
  4. Ben Rees – Focus Product Marketing
  5. Cindy Alvarez – The Experience is the Product
  6. Stewart Rogers – Strategic Product Manager
  7. Chris Cummings – Product Management Meets Pop Culture
  8. Nils Davis – Wait, I Know This One
  9. Teresa Torres – Product Talk
  10. Rob Berman – Rob Berman’s Blog

There is a brief profile on each blog along with a link to their site.  In addition to a screen shot of the site, I’ve provided few words usually edited right from their own About section.  In most cases, I’ve also included their Twitter address.

A note on why these 10 blogs.  I tried to focus on blogs that were written by individuals and not blogs from groups or companies.  There are some great blogs that fall into this latter category, including:

Shardul Mehta…Street Smart Product Manager − The down-to-earth realities of what it takes to be a product ninja every day

Street Smart Product ManagerShardul Mehta is a simple product guy whose passion for great products is only exceeded by his love for chicken curry.

Here’s what you can expect to find on his blog:

  1. Tangible, actionable advice that you can execute on immediately. This is based on things I’ve seen work and not work. Writing about this actually sounds easier than it is.
  2. Thought provokers. Posts that push the envelope in thinking about how to conceive, validate, build and launch products. Hopefully, they will elicit discussion, debate, which can only help strengthen our field.

Find him on Twitter at @shardulmehta

Jeff Lash…How To Be A Good Product Manager

How to be a Good Product ManagerThis is a blog that provides resources and tips on good product management practices. While it focuses more on managing technical and online products, most of the concepts are appropriate for broader product management purposes.

In most cases, Jeff came up with ideas for the postings based on a “good” product management experience, and then I tried to think of the exact opposite approach that would be a “bad” thing to do. Other times they are based on examples, case studies, or others’ experiences. “Bad” examples should not be interpreted to be based on product managers I have worked with in the past or with whom I am currently working. (Hopefully, though, they are not representative of product managers I will work with in the future!)

Find him on Twitter at @jefflash.

Marlon Davis…Connecting.Some.Dots

Connecting Some DotsA blog on Product Management and Marketing Experiences, Connecting.Some.Dots was created to share Marlon’s experiences with other product managers who are working with technology and its application in order to introduce new and innovative products into the market and to sustain their success.

Visit Marlon’s LinkedIn profile to comment on his blog posts.

Ben Rees…Focus Product Marketing – A blog about product marketing, mostly for software companies

Focus Product MarketingBen Rees comes from a Product Management background but then moved over to the dark side of Product Marketing – which is the subject of this blog.

Find him on Twitter at @benjrees.

Cindy Alvarez…The Experience is the Product

The Experience is the ProductCindy Alvarez is a product manager who turns understanding the customer into competitive advantage.

Her philosophy is it’s all about the experience. She’s excited by companies who “get it” – that consumers don’t separate user experience from features and benefits of a product when they decide whether or not to use and recommend it.

But “the experience” isn’t just about consumers – it’s a dedication to ongoing improvement in how you work together and communicate and empower your teams. Everyone has to know where we’re going in order to get there.

That requires effective communication and a shared vision across multiple teams who often don’t “speak the same language”. She evangelize a product experience-driven development process.

Find her on Twitter at @cindyalvarez.

Stewart Rogers…Strategic Product Manager

Strategic Product ManagerStewart is a promoter, evangelist and recognized thought leader of product management best practices. He is an experienced product management professional with over 10 years in online and technology product management.

Find him on Twitter @stewartrogers.

Chris Cummings…Product Management Meets Pop Culture

Product Management Meets Pop CultureProduct Management Meets Pop Culture is Chris’ attempt to give something back to the community that helped shape him as a product management professional.  Why the pop culture?

Because most people “get” pop culture, and most people don’t really understand the role of “Product Manager” … but a good PM can mean the difference between a product achieving its goals or missing the mark.

Chris developed this site — using movies, comics, and other pop culture ephemera — to illustrate product management ideas that anyone can start using immediately, and to encourage discussion of best practices that we can all benefit from.

Follow him on Twitter @chriscummings01.

Nils Davis…Wait, I Know This One

Wait, I Know This OneOn his blog Nils hopes to share some insights and experience he’s gained over 20 years of practicing and studying software product management. He has both a less sanguine view of product management plus a more extravagant view of its meaning. He’s most interested in the specific challenges that arise because product management is a complex domain and discipline.

Product management is not like other disciplines – management, sales, marketing, development, etc. And he doesn’t put much store in techniques that are meant to address those merely complicated domains (e.g., project management), because they don’t work well in the face of the complexity of product management. In short, he doesn’t think a machine is going to take over our job any time soon! In the product management world we constantly struggle to understand how products are successful, and why some are not successful despite the best efforts of our colleagues, while others succeed despite “doing everything wrong.”

You can also follow him on Twitter @nilsie.

Teresa Torres…Product Talk

Product TalkTeresa is a product consultant and coach who works with early-stage companies helping them translate their big ideas into great products. Her focus is on helping product managers be better at what they do by sharing knowledge, building know-how, and refining practice. You can read more about the goal of her blog in her first post, Turning Big Ideas Into Great Products.

You can follow her in Twitter @ttorres

Rob Berman…Rob Berman’s Blog − Propelling Marketing Ideas

Rob Berman's BlogRob helps companies grow their revenue and profits.  He created this blog to share his experiences and to engage in conversation.  In particular, he leverages his experiences as a marketer, product developer and product manager who consistently brings new products to market, manages existing lines of business, drives communications and achieves financial targets.

Follow him on Twitter at @rcberman.

10 Marketing Thought Leaders You Need to Follow

10 marketing thought leaders you need to followLook no further than these 10 marketing thought leaders for inspiration and insight.  Each one has a unique perspective that is worth your attention.   My top 10 list, in no particular order, includes:

  1. Steve Farnsworth
  2. Mark Mitchell
  3. Heidi Cohen
  4. Graham Robertson
  5. Michael Gass
  6. Timothy Carter
  7. Kim Garst
  8. Peg Fitzpatrick
  9. Mike Brown
  10. Jeff Bullas 

Below is a brief profile of each, with a link to their site, along with a screenshot and a few words usually edited right from their own About section.  I’ve also included their Twitter address.

Steve Farnsworth…The @Steveology Blog – The Forum For Marketing Geeks@Steveology

Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid to large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix.

Find him on Twitter at @Steveology.

Mark Mitchell…Whizard Strategy

Whizard StrategyMark Mitchell is an expert in helping building product manufacturers be more successful with builders, architects, contractors, dealers, distributors and big boxes. He develops simple solutions to big problems using strategy.

The distinct value of Mark is that he always attaches a unique vantage point or insight to what others settle to “know” or accept as reality, this is “wizardly smart.” The most crucial way this benefits your business is in having a visionary on your side that helps you realize how much you (and your competitors) are not seeing. Perhaps what’s most impressive, is how quickly Mark catches up to speed, begins thinking alongside of you and then shakes the foundation of what you view as possible.

Find him on Twitter at @Whizardly.

Heidi Cohen…Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Expert

Heidi Cohen.comHeidi Cohen’s blog provides marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. Served with a creative twist, Heidi includes practical tips based on her extensive experience that readers can apply to their marketing.

Heidi Cohen simplifies the complex concepts behind today’s evolving digital marketing challenges into an easy-to-understand format that facilitates readers’ grasp of new topics. Heidi’s articles provide valuable insights and tactics that readers can readily apply to their current marketing plans to better engage prospects, customers and the public.

Find her on Twitter at @heidicohen.

Graham Robertson…Beloved Brands blog

Beloved BrandsThe reason why Graham Robertson started Beloved Brands Inc. was to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand. He only does two things: 1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.

He has a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth. And he loves to make Brand Leaders better by sharing his knowledge. He’s a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.

Find him on Twitter at @GrayRobertson1.

Michael Gass…FUEL LINES Fueling Ad Agency New Business Through Social Media

Fuel LinesMichael Gass is an international new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. Since 2007, he has led in the use of social media and content marketing strategies to make agency new business EASIER.  He is the founder of Fuel Lines, which has been rated among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world, according to Ad Age’s Power 150.

Find him on Twitter at @michaelgass.

Timothy Carter…Timothy Carter – Thoughts on Search Marketing, SEO, Social Media and Brand Building for Business

Timothy Carter siteTimothy Carter is a social media marketing consultant, speaker and trainer of individuals and companies to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand.

This blog is an outlet for him to write about all things to do with Social Media and Online Marketing which includes Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube or whatever he thinks about or what catches his interest in the digital marketing world, from search engine optimization, to social media marketing ideas.

Find him on Twitter at @TimothyCarter.

Kim Garst Boom! Social boomsocial.net Better Solutions, BIGGER Results!

Boom SocialKim Garst is the CEO of Boom! Social. She is the author of The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest and she speaks and trains business owners worldwide.

Times have changed and marketing online has hit a revolution era. Marketing is no longer about one-sided conversation where you push your sales message at your target market. Rather, successful marketing is dependent upon your ability to build relationships and have conversations with your consumers using social media.

She helps companies identify and build their personal brand online; incorporating the social media aspects and obtaining REAL results for your business in a social world.

Find her on Twitter at @kimgarst.

Peg Fitzpatrick…Positively Peggy  Social media sparkle, marketing pro and positive vibe producer

Positively PeggyRockin’ a positive attitude • passionate about social media • writer • and so much more!

Peg loves sharing her inspirational thoughts and helping others learn social media through her blog. Covering all the major social media platforms, she frequently hears “you’re everywhere!” She’s passionate about life, social media, and inspiring others to be their best.

Find her on Twitter at @PegFitzpatrick.

Mike Brown…Brainzooming Catalyzing innovative business success

BrainzoomingMike Brown is the founder of the The Brainzooming™ Group.  He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results.

Mike Brown is the author of the e-book, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation,” a guide to breaking through personal challenges to living a more creative and innovation-oriented life. Additionally, he authors the daily Brainzooming blog on strategy, creativity, and innovation.

Find him on Twitter at @Brainzooming.

Jeff Bullas…jeffbullas.com

JeffBullas.comJeff Bullas is a consultant, coach, mentor and speaker and work with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand with digital marketing and social media through the use of social media channels and other web and mobile technologies.

This blog is about all things to do with Social Media and Online Marketing, including Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and inbound and content marketing.

This blog is also about using the internet to help business and individuals to market themselves efficiently not in an intrusive way through interruption marketing but engaging other people and companies in conversations that build trust and relationships.

Find him on Twitter at @jeffbullas.

Be sure to  also read the Channel Instincts blog  “10 Product Marketing Blogs You Need to Read” for more top marketing bloggers.