“I don’t kiss on the first date,” one LinkedIn employee said to my friend G, when he asked to connect with her on LinkedIn.G’s mouth just hung open. “I didn’t ask you to. I just wanted to add you to my LinkedIn network.”
“Right. It’s like kissing on the first date. I don’t even know you. I just met you at this conference, and you want access to all my hard-won connections on LinkedIn,” she explained.
G had never thought about it like that before, he told me when relaying this story.
And most people don’t.
Many are going for LION or one million connections. Maybe it works for them. Typically, it doesn’t.
Think about LinkedIn invitations like this:
1. Is this person someone you know personally or would like to know personally? If it’s someone you’d like to know, schedule a time to talk with him or her to get to know the person better. Find out how you can help each other. After you do, ask yourself, would this person be an asset to your network? If so, ask them to join (or accept his or her invitation). If not…
2. Is this a person you already know, like, and trust enough to refer to all your other connections on LinkedIn? He is? Ask them to join your network.
3. Does this person have a strong LinkedIn profile, which includes a professional picture, solid recommendations, and a decent-sized network that adds value? She does? Accept her invitation (after you’ve talked of course).
4. Does this person provide value to his or her network already? You can check this out from reading the updates.
5. Does this person have a blog? Facebook? Twitter? She does? Great – check it out. Heck, people do background checks before dates, why not before accepting LinkedIn invitations?
6. Google him or her. What else comes up – besides his or her LinkedIn profile? Has he got digital dirt?
7. Know that LinkedIn is a professional network. Are the people you’re asking and who are asking you professional? Are they on brand for you and your business or career goals?
8. Check out your own LinkedIn profile with fresh eyes. Does your profile convey your personality? Do you have a professional head-shot? And NO, wedding pictures do not count here. Did you complete the entire LinkedIn profile? Are you providing more details about your employment background or only listing names and titles? Do you have recommendations from those in your network? Do you already add value to your network?
9. If you’ve answered NO to any of the above, beef up your profile. Answer questions from those in your network. Join groups. Provide recommendations to others in your network – that’s the easiest way to get them for yourself too.
10. Need more help? Check out Rock Your Network.
If you’ve more tips you’d like to add to this list, please share your thoughts!
© 2010 Wendy Terwelp