Somebody posed the question on Twitter today, what do you do if someone you do not know/have never met adds you as a contact on LinkedIn?
My honest answer was, yes, I have done it in the past. But I don’t accept such invites anymore.
Creating a network of trust
LinkedIn is about “trust” you see. If we all only add people we trust, well then it’s a more secure network for contacts of mine to do business with contacts of one of my other contacts.
If a contact I trust and trusts me back goes to do business with someone I don’t know at all and it backfires, well then the circle of trust is broken.
Enough of the preaching, but honestly that’s the thinking behind LinkedIn. So, 10 minutes later I deleted about 7 contacts in my LinkedIn network that I had never had any contact with, or former colleagues who added their LinkedIn profile a few years ago and forgot about it. They’ve all moved on from the roles and companies they’re listed as working in.
Maintaining your profile
They should really just delete their profiles or maintain them – and by maintaining them I mean using them, updating them, interacting with others through LinkedIn.
By being there still as my contacts, they’re really just numbers. They can add me as a contact when they resurrect their LinkedIn profiles.
If you don’t know somebody on that network and they add you as a contact, there could be the chance they are interested in doing business with you. If you have a website or your contact details are available through a straightforward enough Google search, or directory enquiries, and LinkedIn is their first point of contact… Well, maybe they’re just not that tech savvy, or they’re just looking to add loads of contacts for the numbers as opposed to anything else.
It’s good to talk
You don’t have to say no, though. You can always just chance it, make contact and see what happens, it could be the business deal of the year. You could always ask why someone wants to connect with you. Or you could suggest connecting elsewhere if you don’t think LinkedIn is the place. There’s loads of other social networks.
Sometimes getting an invite to be someone’s friend on Facebook is just as puzzling. Facebook to me is about friendship. It’s not a place I want to connect with clients, customers or competitors unless we can really both say we are good friends. If I felt it was appropriate, naturally I could set up a Facebook page for my business, but at the moment I don’t feel that would serve any useful purpose.
What works for you?