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Why Are you on LinkedIn?

Posted by trinda On May - 7 - 2015

Why Are you on Linked?

I believe it is time we think a little bit differently. Don’t ignore a stranger.

Imagine you are standing in the room at a networking event and a professional approaches you extending their hand to introduce themselves. Instead of shaking hands you quickly turn your back on them and walk away. Sounds crazy right, yet millions of LinkedIn users do this when they ignore invitation requests from people they don’t know on LinkedIn. 

“Why would I want to accept an invitation from a stranger?” This was the response I got when I talked about this the other day. On LinkedIn you have connections, not friends, and that should be your first clue. LinkedIn is not Facebook the purpose to LinkedIn in to connect with other professionals, share information and find common business needs and interests. By right out saying no I don’t want to connect will you ever grow beyond the network you already have?

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point he references sociologist Mark Granovetter’s classic study about connectors. “Granovetter’s research showed it was your acquaintances, not your close friends, who introduce you to new ideas and opportunities.” If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Your friends travel in the same social circles as you and are therefore exposed to the same information. New friends, associates and invitations are what  introduce us to worlds in which we do not currently belong.

Granovetter’s study makes the case for accepting invitations from people you don’t know on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social network, not a private country club—be inclusive, not exclusive. The more connections you have, the more relationships you will forge. There’s a ripple effect that takes place. Each LinkedIn member is one, or two, degrees of separation away from someone who could potentially be a future client. If you say no to that one person, you’re simultaneously turning away their entire network of second and third degree connections.

Does this mean you should accept every invitation from people you don’t know? No, you should evaluate and ensure they are legitimate and reputable. I look at a few key things.

Their profile. Simply going to the person’s profile can provide insight as to why you received an invitation. If you share a connection, college or group then you might show up as a suggestion from LinkedIn’s “People You May Know.” The keywords in your profile serve as a prompt for all these suggestions from LinkedIn.

In my case many people that are looking to start a business find my profile and are looking to connect to learn more about our franchise opportunity or starting there own business.

There’s power and influence in a large network. If the member has his settings open, you have access to those connections. And you get a SEO boost from being part of their network.

Ask why the person sent you an invite. I live my life by the assumption that  “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Maybe they heard you speak at a conference, or were referred by a mutual connection, or read your blog and decided to reach out. Don’t assume if you are still not sure ask.

No photo? Don’t accept the invite. If someone doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile photo it says two things. It might be a fake profile or the person is not savvy enough to understand social media is about transparency and authenticity.

“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”  OK, you receive a request from a competitor. What do you do? My response make friends. Don’t forget you have access to their profile, too. You are also more likely to show up at the top of their profile page under “People Similar To…” when someone is viewing it.

Look at it as an opportunity to partner with your competition. You might actually be able to learn something.

If you still have doubts about accepting invites from potential spammers, remember you can always “disconnect.” If you choose they are not the right person or you don’t like the information they are sharing.

I hope to receive invites from you in my Inbox, too

In the end ask yourself why are you on LinkedIn?

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