It may sound crazy to be talking about something as stuffy as etiquette around social media, but each platform has its own rules of conduct that you must follow to be accepted in the community. Except on LinkedIn where good social conduct remains a bit undefined. Perhaps it’s because for the first few years LinkedIn focused on connections, not necessarily social conversations, that LinkedIn etiquette was never truly established.
Not sure what I mean? Let’s think about the basic function of LinkedIn, building connections. I have heard all of the following approaches to connecting on LinkedIn:
“LinkedIn is broadcast medium for me so I accept every request I get.”
“I delete any requests I don’t know.”
“I don’t know what to do with the requests I get, so I don’t do anything with them.”
While I’ve certainly heard more strategic approaches to connecting on LinkedIn, the blanket acceptance or rejection isn’t building value for anyone. Those that are accepting every connection blindly aren’t building a network; they are simply increasing the number of people they can push content to. Those who reject everyone may be missing out on some great business opportunities.
My personal approach is somewhere in the middle. I’m happy to make new connections through LinkedIn, but I want those people to actually be a part of my network, not a nameless number. When someone sends me LinkedIn’s generic invitation, I reply to that person thanking them for connecting and asking how we can bring each other value. If they respond and we begin a conversation then I’m more than happy to add that person to my network. What stuns me is that 90% of people never respond. How does it help either one of us to be connected if there’s no conversation?
My personal struggle with LinkedIn etiquette is the reason most people state for denying a connection request. I would LOVE it if LinkedIn would do away with its generic message (I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn) and force people to write their own messages. In lieu of that please, please, PLEASE modify these invitations.
If you’re asking yourself why does it matter? Take the look at the two examples below and ask yourself who you’d be more inclined to connect with?
Nicole Krug’s business, Social Light is a digital marketing agency that specializes brand and marketing strategy. Nicole helps clients hone their digital marketing strategies to bring more exposure to their brand and boost their bottom line.
Prior to Social Light, Nicole spent 10 years in enterprise marketing and business development for brands as diverse as The North Face and BB&T Bank.
You can view her profile HERE.