I hear a lot of gripes about LinkedIn. Heck, I’ve shared a few myself [see An Open Letter to LinkedIn].
One of the most common ones I hear from my audiences – and occasionally from clients – is this:
“I’m so tired of getting LinkedIn requests.”
It’s not unusual for them to worry about whether to accept some LinkedIn requests, or to ponder someone’s reason for requesting the connection.
I think there’s a number of reasons for this:
- For some LinkedIn users, LinkedIn is their only social network. They may tend to focus on ‘why is this person requesting a connection?’ and ‘who is this person?’ more than people who are using other networks like Twitter, Facebook and GooglePlus.
- Those same ‘social media lite’ users may not have adjusted their LinkedIn email settings, which means they receive emails every time there’s a LinkedIn request. This can be annoying for them, making LinkedIn more intrusive than it has to be.
So I’m here to say: Don’t fret over your LinkedIn requests.
It’s good to have boundaries and standards and plans for your social networking. But please don’t over-think things. There are a number of ways for people to come across you on LinkedIn. As with most social networks, LinkedIn does encourage users to find and connect with others. LinkedIn will serve up connection suggestions and there are many ways in which other people may come across your name, prompting them to send a request.
Let’s go back a step, and recall what you might use LinkedIn for:
- To network with people you could potentially work with
- To fill a job, or to look for a job
- To promote yourself online, using LinkedIn as your shareable CV
- To participate in Groups, learn and keep ahead of changes in your industry
Therefore a larger LinkedIn network can be valuable and beneficial to your work. Why would you want to be too precious, and accept few requests?
Facebook is different. Sure, keep your Facebook experience quieter and only accept requests from people you’ve met and want to keep in touch with. I keep my Facebook friends to a few hundred people that I interact with outside Facebook: when it becomes unwieldy or feels less private, I cull friends. It’s a place where I talk about my family and my personal life, so I don’t have thousands of connections there.
For me, there is no need to be quite so particular with LinkedIn.
My recommendations for LinkedIn:
- Look at your settings (located under your account name, top right of the LinkedIn screen). If you’re getting too many LinkedIn notifications as emails, switch some off.
Did you know you can limit who can send you a LinkedIn connection request?
- Define what type of LinkedIn requests you’ll accept: do you need to have met that person? Or will you accept a request from someone who works in your industry / in your town and so on? Once you settle on your criteria, it makes it easier to swiftly work through your requests.
- Remember that LinkedIn is a public space that focuses on industry networking, so maintain a high level of professionalism in your posts. When you can be confident in what you’re sharing, you can be more relaxed about having a large number of LinkedIn connections.
There’s a lot more you can do with LinkedIn. Today I’ve simply focused on how not to fall into the trap of over-thinking connection requests. Adjust your settings to suit your needs, and leverage LinkedIn for what it can offer.
How do you use LinkedIn?