When it comes to connecting through LinkedIn you will encounter different perspectives on connecting.
1. LIONs: These are folks that believe in having as many connections as possible, regardless of how well they know those in their network. They will typically accept an invitation from anyone. You can recognize them by their number of connections which will show 500+ connections.
LinkedIn has a limit of 3,000 connections, although if you find yourself reaching this number you can request that LinkedIn allow you to add more connections.
The value a LION presents is that they help expand your network. Your active network is made up of people that are 2nd or 3rd degree connections. Connecting to a LION immediately expands your network significantly.
The downside is that they may not personally know those in their network , so asking for a introduction to one of their connections might not prove successful.
2. The opposite of the LION is a Closed Networker. This is a person that will only connect to someone they personally know or have had business dealings with. They can still help expand your network, but not in the way a LION can. Their value is in the quality of their connections. If you ask for an introduction it is likely to be successful
3. A third type is where I fit in. I’m not as open about connecting as a LION, but not as restrictive as a Closed Networker. My philosophy is that if we have a connection, such as the Greater North Fulton Chamber, I will connect with you even though I don’t personally know you. Once connected though, I will try to at least have a one on one or at least meet you in person.
If I had to put a name to this third type it would be Networker. This is someone using LinkedIn to enhance current connections and to develop new connections.
Options after invitation
When you send out an invitation, the response will depend on what type of perspective the person has about connecting and whether or not you know them or have something in common.
When you receive an invitation you have three options to handle it.
1. You can accept it
2. You can ignore it
3. You can respond that you don’t know the person. If you do this it will mark the response as spam. Get five “I don’t know you’s” and you could find your account suspended.
Whenever I get an invitation and I don’t know the person, I first try to find out if there is some connection. Maybe they remember me but I don’t remember them. Can you imagine meeting someone and not remembering them, then clicking the “I don’t know them” response? You’ve just labled them a spammer when they had a valid reason for trying to connect to you. If I can’t place the person I just archive the invitation.
What you say in your invitation request can have an impact on the response your invitee chooses. Remember my first mistake…sending out the canned LinkedIn invitation request.
On every invitation you send you should personalize the invitation. For folks I meet at the chamber I usually say, “Our paths have crossed at the chamber. I am using LinkedIn to enhance my chamber networking and I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Then I make sure to add my last name to the invitation. You could also add your phone number, giving the person a chance to call you before making a response selection.
That’s it for now. Next time I plan on addressing the search function. I’m now up to 113 connections with about 65 outstanding invitations. That’s about 93 connections over the last four weeks. It’s been interesting at the Chamber meeting folks that I’ve connected to but had not met, or at least talked to in depth.