5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn

I posted this video as one of the last Linked Intuition posts.  Unfortunately the URL was corrupted and left out the .com in the URL.  So Here we go again.  This is an interview in which I talk about the 5 Steps to Thrive on LinkedIn.


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The Fallacy of Protecting Your Network

There are two sides to every story, and in LinkedIn’s case three.  There’s the Lion, the Turtle and the Hound Dog.  In Jeff Foxworthy’s linguistics:

~You might be a Lion if you check your LinkedIn inbox every 5 minutes to see who has accepted your invitation.

~You might be a Turtle if you can name every person in your network on the spot.

~You might be a Hound Dog if you’re just happy to be here.

The LION is what you call an open networker.  The Turtle and the Hound Dog to some extent limit their connections.

The most common reason people give when they explain why they are not an open networker is that they want to protect the value of their network.  This used to make sense to me, but not any longer.  Once I actually stopped to think about networks and value a question popped into my head – “How do I know whether or not someone in my network could benefit from a connection that I do not personally know”.

It’s amazing that it took me so long to get it because the event that caused me to realize that LinkedIn could generate opportunity was a connection invitation from someone I did not know.  This person contacted me to help some of her client’s with their health insurance needs.  This was an opportunity that came from someone I did not know and was not connected to.

I had been on Linked for a year and a half at this point but only had 19 connections and maybe looked at the site once a month.  As I started learning more I simply adopted the view I saw others write about “if you want a valuable network you have to protect it by only connecting to those you know”.

I held onto the “protecting my network” belief for another year.  I now think about all of the opportunity that I missed out on – to help myself and help others.

Calculating Your Network’s Value
Let’s talk about network value.  Suppose my network is made up of only 100 people that I know fairly well.  If I assign a value of 10 to each connection that I know, my network’s value would be 1,000.

Let’s also assign a value of 1 to any connection that I do not know.  If I were to add 900 connections to my network that I do not know the value of these new 900 at 1 point each would be 900.   My expanded network would have a value of 1,900.  Almost twice as valuable as before.

Notice that the value of the original 100 hasn’t changed.  They haven’t been devalued because I surrounded them with the unknown 900.  I simply now have 100 people that I know well and 900 that I don’t know well.  The only change is that the value of my network has nearly doubled, and I’ve increased the chance that I will encounter unexpected opportunities.

The phallacy of the “protecting my network” argument is that for each unknown person you connect to, your known connections become less valuable.  The reality is that these 100 well known connections have not changed simply because they are surrounded by the 900 unknown connections.  You still have the same relationship.

Think about this.  Does the value of your local Chamber of Commerce increase or decrease as new members that you do not know join?  It goes up because each new member is an increased opportunity to interact with someone you do not know.  The value increases not just for you but for every other Chamber member.  Your LinkedIn network is simply your personal Chamber of Commerce.

Exposing Your Network to Unknowns
I’ve also heard the thought expressed that if you connect to others you don’t know, they will be able to see your connections and potentially wreck havoc.  It’s true that the unknown person can now see your connections (if you allow your connections to view your direct network).  Sort of like when you have coffee with someone you know at Starbucks and everyone else can see that you know the person you’re meeting with.  Red alert!  Red alert!

When you add someone to your network your direct connections become their 2nd degree connections.  What ways do they have to cause harm?  They can ask you for an introduction.  They can contact the person directly by finding the phone number on a website.  Am I missing anything else significant?

So how is not connecting to a person you don’t know protecting them?  How do you know they want to be “protected”?  Have you polled your network?

To Each Their Own
There are a lot of people who get angry when discussing “Open Networkers” and I don’t get it.   Who cares if someone else on LinkedIn chooses to connect to anyone?  It doesn’t directly impact you when others choose to expand there network.

If you want to connect with every other LinkedIn member do it.  If you only want to connect to 100 people do it. Nobody should care, because the choice you make should be based on your LinkedIn strategy.  They should have their own.

That’s what I think.  You might have a different opinion.  My only suggestion is that you think it through before deciding.  For a long time I used someone else’s strategy because I didn’t take the time to develop my own. Since taking ownership of my strategy I’ve found more opportunity in the last six months than the previous 2 1/2 years.

Whether you agree or disagree everyone will benefit from you sharing your opinion.  Join the conversation.

Wednesday Comic 09: Expanding Your Network

09_linkedin_connectionsConnecting is a contact sport.  If you want to build your network you need to be active on LinkedIn, seek out others to connect, and utilize offline networking to meet others.

The North Fulton Chamber of Commerce has been my best source to find connections.  LinkedIn in return has helped me build deeper relationships in the chamber.

Offline and Online networking are a great compliment to each other.  It doesn’t matter if you are a LION, a Turtle, or a Hound Dog, if you want to be exposed to more opportunities you need to expand your network.

Expand connections…contract wasteline.  Well, batting 500 in baseball would make me a superstar.

How about you?  What has been your best source for finding new connections?

Ed Jones Had Me at Hello!

I received the following invitation this week from Ed Jones of Atlanta:

“Sean, good perspectives on LinkedIn! I am in Atlanta but we work world wide assessing ROI on events. My business manager will call you regarding our health insurance search. 

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn for several reasons. We have several common contacts. Take a look at my profile and associated websites and blogs, then add me if you find common interests. http://constellationcc.com”

I write a lot about personalizing invitations when you wish to connect.  It’s even more critical if you’re trying to connect to someone you don’t know.  I didn’t know Ed before receiving his invitation.  But after reading it was there any doubt that I would connect?

In the movie Jerry McGuire, Rene Zellweger’s character says “You had me at hello”.  Well Ed had me at “My business manager will call you regarding our health insurance search. ”  Right off the bat he hit me with value.  

Now it’s unrealistic to expect that everyone can offer the possibility of being a client with every invitation.  But everyone has value to offer.  You just need to determine your value and then offer it in your invitation.  

Ed didn’t stop with the value offer.  He complimented me on my blog.  That shows he’s taken the time to look at who I am and I know he’s not just trying to pad his connection stats.  He also stated that we had several common connections.  37 is a bit more than a few.

Before accepting I took a look at his profile and it was well detailed, allowing me to get a feel for the type of business person he is.  30 years of experience in sales & marketing and 20 years in Event Measurement, ROI, Strategy and Effective Communications is a wealth of experience.  What a great resource to have in one’s network.  Take away the offer to help him with his benefits and I would have still connected.  

How you personalize your invitations and how your profile represents you will go a long way in improving your invitation acceptance success.

I can’t help thinking about a couple of what if’s:

A)  What if I wasn’t open to connecting to other’s that I don’t know; and
B)  What if Ed had decided to wait until I connected to mention anything about their health plan 

I would have missed out on a great “Unexpected opportunity”.  On LinkedIn there are two types of opportunity:  “Expected” and “Unexpected”.

Expected opportunities arise from the direct connections that you’ve known or had a relationship with outside of LinkedIn.  These opportunities likely would have presented themselves without LinkedIn.

Unexpected opportunities are those that arise because you connected to those you don’t know.  They’re unexpected because outside of your LinkedIn connection there would be no relationship and you likely would not have crossed paths.

In the last week I have had 7 unexpected opportunities present themselves.  Four were people seeking my help in Georgia with health insurance needs, one was a blogging opportunity, and two were folks in San Francisco asking for health insurance assistance.  I couldn’t help the two people in California find a health plan but I was able to point them in the right direction.

And that’s the point about opportunity on LinkedIn.  It isn’t just limited to your opportunities to directly benefit, it’s also the opportunity to help others.  I believe that a network with 100 people that you know and 900 that you are simply connected to will present more opportunity than a network of only 100 people that you know.

Ed gets it.  And I think as other start to realize the unexpected opportunities they are missing out on you’ll see a little more connecting taking place.

Are you missing out on those unexpected opportunities?

***In the next post I’ll be discussing the Fallacy of Protecting Your Network.

LinkedIn Part 10: Providing Value to Your Network

In the original article in this series the last three ways I noted to use LinkedIn were to share knowledge and expertise, introduce connections, and recommend worthy individuals.  Each of these is a way to provide value to your network, so I thought I would cover them together.

While you might argue whether it’s better to give than receive, the two are equally important.  In a perfect networking world you would receive equal to what you have given.  In real life you often have to do a lot of giving to get the “receiving pump” primed.

Share Knowledge and Experience
The average LinkedIn member is 41 years old and has a household income of $109,703.  80.1% are a college grad or post grad (37%).  Clearly there is a wealth of knowledge and experience available among its users. (Stats provided by Nathan Kieveman, of Linked Secrets).

One of the most important ways that you can provide value to your network and fellow members is by sharing your knowledge and experience.  LinkedIn provides several ways to do this:

LinkedIn Answers is a great place to answer questions posted by other members.  The most important part is to answer questions where you provide value.  It’s not about answering as many questions as you can to try and obtain expert status.  Well thought out answers add to your credibility, flippant or silly answers subtract from it.

Since online credibility doesn’t exist in a vacuum, a well thought out answer could provide value (from those who agree) and subtract value (from those who disagree with your point).  My perspective is that if your answer is sincere, the positives will far outweigh the negatives.

Within groups there is a tremendous amount of information shared through discussions.  Groups have the advantage of being somewhat more targeted, since membership is based around a common factor.

Finally, you can share information through applications.  The statistics above were shared by Nathan using the Slideshare application.  Incorporating your blog into your profile is another great way to share information.  The Amazon application allows you to share what you are reading.  Take a look at the available applications to see how you can share information with your fellow members.

Introducing Connections
Each of our networks is made up of people that are from different backgrounds, industries, experience levels, etc.  Each network is unique and you are at the center of your network.  You likely have people in your network that you know very well, people that you know of, and possibly people you don’t know very well.

For those you know well you probably have an idea of the people they are trying to network with.  You can be of service by introducing them to those in your network that they are seeking out.

For those that you don’t know well you may be able to introduce them to people you would expect them to want to get to know.  Real estate agents and Mortgage brokers are two types of people that would benefit from being introduced.  Financial planners love introductions to CPA’s.

For those you don’t know you can still provide value by paying attention to what they ask for.  It might be that in their profile they state who they are seeking.  It might be a status update that states that they are “looking to connect with small business owner, or maybe attorneys.

LinkedIn makes it simple by including a “Forward this Profile” text link on each profile page.  Clicking on it allows you to choose a recipient (actually up to 200 recipients) and to create your message to the recipient (like invitations avoid the sample text and create a personalized message).

Providing Recommendations
The ability to give and receive recommendations is one of the most powerful features of LinkedIn.  Most people are uncomfortable with tooting their own horn.  In most businesses, though, what set them apart are the people doing the work.  You can have the best system in place, but if it’s not backed by quality people its success will be limited.

As you look through your connections try to find those in your direct network who have provided a product or service.  If the value received was great don’t keep them a secret.  If someone has gone out of their way to help you, let others know.

A good rule of thumb is that if someone asked you about a particular person would you say they’re a “Good Person” or a “Great Person”.  If the answer is “Great”, there’s likely a recommendation waiting to happen.

There will be times when another person asks you for a recommendation and you do not feel comfortable providing one.  The service may not have been that great.  You may not know the person well enough.  In these cases a good rule of thumb is to respond with a quick message detailing why you’re not comfortable providing one at this point.

Receiving a recommendation is something that should be earned.

Wrap Up

As you go about providing value to your network you will begin to receive value in return.  It may simply be a link back to your profile (such as when asking / answering a question or providing a recommendation), it may result in a visit to your profile (added exposure), and it may be returned in the form of a new client or connection.

Most people share value because they simply want to help others.  Any value received is simply gravy.
________________________

This is the last part in this 10 part series.  Next week I’ll post a link to all 10 parts.  Since things change fairly quick around LinkedIn I will review each article to make updates.

On LinkedIn Mean People Suck

With that title I probably violated several things that I recommend doing (act professional, be careful of what you say and how you say it, etc.).  

I stumbled on a blog that was titled “The Stupid Things People Do on LinkedIn”.  The poster then proceeded to lash in to people that violated his perception of what LinkedIn should be and how people should behave on it.  My first thought was relax it’s not your site.  You’re just  another member.  The second was that did this person realize that their post was part of their online brand.

So there are two points to discuss.  The first is about your online brand.  The second is about unwritten protocols on LinkedIn that many people may not be aware of.

Your Online Brand
Remember this:  Everything you do on LinkedIn (and within the Social Web) either “adds to” or “subtracts from” your online brand.   This isn’t some college football board where you can denigrate and abuse fellow posters if you don’t like their view or comment.  There are no cute user names to hide behind.  On LinkedIn your comments are easily associated with the person behind them, YOU.

I don’t know the person behind the “stupid LinkedIn” post, but I already have an opinion of him.  Want to guess whether it’s positive or negative?  If this were a person that I was considering connecting to, partnering with, or engaging in their service, I would walk away.  There is enough negativity in the world without having to knowingly engage in it or with it.

This may not matter to him.  But it should to the average LI user.  When you ask or answer a question, post a discussion or news article in a group, add a blog to your profile, and how you respond to those who attempt to connect all contribute to your brand.  

Consider this.  You receive a connection invitation from John who works for an advertising agency.  You don’t know John so you mark the Invitation “I don’t know this user” (when you could have simply Archived It).  A couple of weeks later you connect to Bill who runs a graphics firm that you want to develop as a client.  You get an appointment and everything looks good.  Later John, who happens to engage Bill’s firm for his advertising agency notices that you are connected to Bill.  In their next conversation, John mentions that he saw that you and Bill were connected and mentions that you recently refused his connection invitation.  And rather than Archive it you marked it “I don’t know this user”.  Now his account has been restricted.  Bill thinks “that wasn’t a nice thing to do to John” and calls you to say they’ve decided to go in a different direction.

Is this an extreme story?  Yes.  Is it a possibility? Yes.  Your actions carry implications…some positive and some potentially negative.  Act in good faith and in a neighborly fashion and your brand will benefit.

The Unwritten Protocals
Over time acceptable practices evolve as do unacceptable ones.  As a member of LinkedIn you should adhere to the acceptable norms.  There aren’t to0 many and most are common sense, that often gets overlooked due to lack of time, imagination, or knowledge.  Here are some and I’m sure there are others that I have not thought of or encountered (violated) yet.

1.  Never send a canned invitation.  Always personalize the invitation.

2.  Don’t send out mass invitations.  It makes it difficult to personalize the email

3.  Don’t send out Mass Canned invitations…see #1 and #2

4.  When participating in answers or group discussions do not blatently sell.  How you phrase a sales pitch can be seen as spam or an interesting question or post.  Which of the two following statements is likely to be viewed as spam?

A.  Mortgage rates dropped to 4.5%, call me if you are looking to refinance; or
B.  With mortgage rates dropping to 4.5%, how do you determine if it’s a good idea to refinance your loan?

5.  Respond to all messages in your inbox.  If you don’t want to connect send a brief explanation as to why (see my post:  http://linkedintuition.com/blog/no-thanks-the-right-way ) .  Don’t feel comfortable providing a recommendation or passing on an introduction reply with why.

6.  Don’t ask for recommendations from people who don’t know you very well.  Recommendations should be appropriate and sincere.  It’s rude to ask when there’s no basis for one.

7.  Don’t expect everone to have the same approach that you do on LinkedIn.  Some are open networkers and some are closed networkers.  Each person decides what works best for them.  No one has a monopoly on the right way.

8.  If you do not want to connect, “Archive” the invitation.  Don’t select “I don’t know this user”.  Doing so gains you nothing and it can negatively impact another member.  Is it such an evil thing to want to connect to another that you do not know.  Isn’t that what networking is about.

Not everyone will agree with every point that I made.  Each person interacts with LinkedIn based on their expectations and beliefs and that’s a good thing.  What we should be able to agree on is that acting in a friendly and respectful manner will always do more good than harm.

What do you think?

The LinkedIn Light Bulb is Flickering

 

It could be argued that much of your LinkedIn experience derives from your LinkedIn strategy.  Do seek to connect with pretty much anyone, like a Lion?  Do you only connect with those that you know very well, like a Turtle?  Or do you connect with those you know and those you would like to know, like a Hound Dog?

If you read this blog on a regular basis you’ve noticed that I keep coming back to these three strategies.  There’s a reason for that.  I find my self changing strategies after almost three years on LinkedIn.

Here is what I used to believe.  I believed that protecting the value of your network required that you know or have plans to get to know those that you were connected to.  I believed that it only made sense to add new connections as I met people within my chamber or other offline networking events.  Since my prospects are in Georgia I believed that there was limited value in connecting to others outside of the state.

Here is what I believe now.  I believe that opportunities are not constrained by boundaries.  I believe that those in my network can benefit from connections that I do not know or have never met with or spoken to.  I believe that there are opportunities out there among people that I do not know.  And finally, I believe that 99% of the time a larger network will provide more value than a smaller network.

It wasn’t one particular thing that changed my perspective.  It was a combination of things and the change occurred fairly quick.

1.  I actually started prospecting using the LinkedIn Companies search to prospect.  My target was simple; companies in Atlanta with 11 to 50 employees, in creative or technology industries.  In my search I identified about 150 companies that fit my profile and realized that I was connected to less than 50% of these opportunities.  Clearly with more of the right connections I would have a higher percentage with employees in my network.

2.  LinkedIn made significant changes to Groups.  Adding the ability to have discussions and post news articles immediately expanded my reach based on the number of members in the groups I belong to.  Each group represents a collection of individuals with a common interest.  In essence they are a specific target.

The next logical step was to identify the groups that my target market belong to and join these groups.  I can now participate in discussions and post news articles to introduce myself.  And I can contact these individual and extend connection invitations without having to use InMail (which is only available on paid accounts and the number available is minimal)

Today I connected with three individuals in my target market.  One was the President of one of my target companies and the other two are simply connected in the target industries.  The first will allow me to have a warm approach to attempt to secure a meeting.  The other two help me connect further into my targetted industries.

In my invitation to all three I simply let them know that I was looking to build my network within the creative community in Atlanta.  I included the names of some common connections.  And I mentioned that I wrote a LinkedIn related blog and that if I could ever help them with LinkedIn to let me know.

The worst thing that can happen is that my connection invitation is ignored.  While I know that I will not have success with every connection invitation, there are a couple of things that are working in my favor.

First people want to help where possible.  Second, people are looking to build their own networks.  Third, the use of common connections established a baseline of credibility.  Fourth, by writing a LinkedIn blog and offering to help them I’m providing value.

About a year ago I started a group based around the county that I do most of my networking.  Over time this group has grown to about 300 local business professionals.  This week I sent an invitation to connect to each member of the group that was not in my direct network.

In this invitation I introduced myself as a fellow member and manager of the group.  I simply stated that I started the group to help people connect and in that spirit I was extending an invitation to connect.  Then I added the value.  I let them know that I was organizing an offline networking meeting for the group and would appreciate any suggestions for a location.

In two days I’ve added over 100 new connections, had several ask me to help them with their health insurance, and received numerous thanks for reaching out to connect.  Each of these connections is in Atlanta.

Little by little I’m building a strong local network.

I had lunch with a new connection that I met in another group (I’ll post the story next week) who is an active open networker.  He doesn’t post his email in his profile, but he uses groups to actively connect to folks all over.  Last week he launched a blog and posted a link to it in each of his groups.  He had over 300 unique visitors in the first day and his blog has grown to over 800 visitors a day.

His content is good and that keeps people coming back.  But it was the membership and participation in groups that allowed him to gain exposure and the initial visits.

I used to believe that there was no right or wrong strategy on LinkedIn.  Now I believe that if you’re not actively growing your network you’re missing the point.  The point is that opportunities are out there and the more connections you have the more likely you are to find them.  Or have them find you.

Detail your profile, join groups, and expand your connections.  A simple strategy to make LinkedIn more effective.

Wednesday Comic 06: Duplicate LinkedIn Accounts

06_linkedin_duplicate

Ever feel like you’ve connected to someone previously?  Deja Vu?  No, they probably just have two LinkedIn accounts.  If you are one of the duplicate accounts folks you’ll have to contact LinkedIn to have one of the accounts removed.  Click on the Help button at the top of the LinkedIn page and under the FAQ’s you’ll find the steps to follow.  Make sure that before you cancel an account that you copy the names and emails for your connections on the account you will be closing.  You will need to re-connect with these people under the remaining account.

The Average LinkedIn Network

Numbers are always interesting to consider.  Take for instance the 40+ million users on LinkedIn (not an official number but an educated guess).  That’s a pretty impressive number.  But, more important is the number of people that are active.  The value of one member in your network is not equal to the value of another.

But how do you place a value on each member?  A person in your network with 50 connections could be more valuable then one with 500 connections.  That being said, the likelyhood is that the person with 500 connections is more active and thus will provide more value.

This thought got me to thinking about my network so I decided to take a look to see how active it was in terms of connections.  My network has grown over time primarily through networking, so I think it’s breakdown is representative of the average member network.

Here’s a breakdown of my network based on the range of connections each person has:

  • 0 – 99:  54.4%
  • 100 -199:  23.2%
  • 200 – 299:  9.3%
  • 300 – 399:  4.2%
  • 400 – 499:  1.8%
  • 500+:  7.1%

77.6% of my network has less than 200 connections and more than half have less than 100 connections.  I would argue that with the number of people on LinkedIn and the ease of connecting, if you have less than 200 connections you’re not that active of a user.  If I take these percentages and apply them to the 40 million LinkedIn user base, I can assume that LI only has about 9 million active users (members with more than 200 connections).

Some people will argue that basing value on the number of connections is missing the point.  They would say that the value is based on how connected you are to your network.  I used to agree with this perspective.  Now I don’t.

Over time I’ve come to realize that opportunities are not determined strictly by those you know.  Opportunity also exists with those you don’t know.  You just might not have discovered the opportunity yet.

I started becoming active on LinkedIn when a member that I did not know contacted me based on my profile to help some client’s of hers.  And that’s the point.  You never know when opportunity will knock, but I can tell you that the more active you are, the more connections you have, and the larger your network, the more probability of success you will have.

If LinkedIn is a way to get your message and brand out to others, then it’s really a marketing vehicle.  I sell insurance and if I only worked with those I know, I wouldn’t be very successful.  Granted it’s an easier sell to those I know.  But it doesn’t benefit me to restrict my message.

Each new connection is a new set of eyeballs available to review my profile to determine if I can help them.  It’s a new set of eyballs when I answer a question, post a recommendation, add an application and when I update my “What are you doing now” micro-post.  They are also potential opportunities to my network.

Even better, as these folks hopefully become more active and add connections, my network and reach grows with them.

Too many people are waiting around for someone else to tell them how to use LinkedIn.  You can definitely learn from others, but in the end you have to take what you learn and apply it to your unique situation.

Have you started using LinkedIn productively?  Have you figured out how to take it from a nice social networking tool and convert it to a money making opportunity?

On the Path to Lionhood

In my last post I described the three types of networkers, or networking strategies on LinkedIn:  LION, Turtle and Hound Dog.  For the last 18 months I’ve pretty much considered myself a Hound Dog.  I connect to those I know and those I would like to know.

My job is helping people find the best option for their health insurance needs.  Specifically in the state of Georgia.  While connections outside of the state might help my network in terms of size, it really wasn’t that relevant to business.  Plus I figured that the more connected I was to my network the more valuable it would be to my connections.

I’m beginning to think that while the thought was well intentioned, it was also flawed.

Here’s why.  “How do I know that my network would only benefit from those that I know?”  From an introduction perspective it would definitely be more valuable if I knew the person I was being asked to pass an introduction request to.  But isn’t there some value in simply being connected to someone and being able to pass on an introduction request.

I’m going to assume that in the history of LinkedIn there have been introduction requests accepted even though the person passing the request on did not know the end recipient.  Therefore there is value in connecting to those you don’t know.

Let me make it simple.  I connect to Tom Jones who I don’t know and who lives in another state.  Bill James, who I do know and is a connection, searches his network for someone with Tom’s skills.  Tom comes up in the search and I am Bill’s only connection to Tom.  Bill asks for an introduction to Tom.  I pass the introduction on to Tom and this leads to Tom finding a new client and Bill solving an issue he had.

The end result is that from a connection I did not personally know I will have helped two people.

I have not gone on a connection binge.  And I have no plans to post my email address in my profile or with my name.  But I have become more receptive to connecting with people I have not met.  A new connection in Los Angeles will likely never need my help with an insurance plan, but they might need the assistance of a one of my connections.  And they might have another connection in Atlanta who sees my profile and needs help with insurance.

LinkedIn’s philosophy is that you connect with those you know.  I can appreciate the thought behind their position.  But where I’m beginning to find new value in LinkedIn is in finding or stumbling upon the hidden opportunities that would never have been available had I not connected beyond my natural network.

I admit I’m still getting used to the idea of going from a dog to a cat (LION) in terms of my connection strategy.  One thing that might make me more comfortable with the idea is the connections tagging function now being beta tested.  This would allow me to classify my connections as a friend, a client, a business partner, and who knows what else.  I am not part of the test users so I don’t know what any of the tags are.

Let’s hope that when it’s released that it allows your connections to see how you classify the relationships of each of your connections.  That way, they’ll know beforehand whether or not you know the person they’re asking you to help introduce them to.

How about you, what’s your connection strategy?  Do you find that it’s changing over time?