Do you know who you’re LinkedIn with?

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.

Facebook friends

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.

I already have a Twitter and LinkedIn presence (not to mention some Irish business networks) which is where, I believe, relevant conversations and connections happen – well at least for my business.

What works for you?

Developing a habit – blogging regularly

Blogging is something that many people have a mental block about actually doing.

Still, they invest heavily in the concept. They invest time in talking and blogging about starting one; they are kept awake into the wee hours thinking about topics they could write about, if only they had the time; and they spend valuable man hours tweeting on Twitter about how they’ve been too busy to sit down a get one done. They’ve great ideas, they claim, or no ideas, or no way with words; they’ve great excuses.

Plenty of us are guilty of that. But what can we actually do about transforming inaction to action? How do can you go about writing a regular blog that develops a following, helps people find your website, and gets people talking about, if not buying your product or service?

If you want to start blogging, do your market research. Sure, find out who your audience is and who your competitors are, but what’s most important is that you find out what a blog actually is.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Online know-it-all Wikipedia explains that “Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.”
  • Blogger.com describes blogging as a “way to share your thoughts — about current events, what’s going on in your life, or anything else you’d care to discuss”.
  • The benefit of a blog to a reader, in the words of Blog.com is to “observe the world, from the smallest details to life-changing events”.
  • WordPress.com takes the assumption that most of its users are familiar with blogging and give no explanation as to what blogging is, apart from the very succinct message: “Express yourself. Start a blog.”

I think that’s enough. If you’re still not sure, think about what Posterous, one of the newest blog kids on the block says to do: “post everything“.