Gini Dietrich

Accepting Standard LinkedIn Invites

By: Gini Dietrich | April 13, 2011 | 
178

Many months ago, Arik Hanson and I were having a Twitter conversation about LinkedIn. His question?

How do you feel about getting “I’d like to add you to my professional network” requests without any mention of how the person knows you?

That drives me nuts. I do a ton of speaking and I “meet” a lot of people through that, as well as online. If you don’t tell me how you know me, or how we’ve recently met, you’re making me do an awful lot of work to figure it out on my own.

At the time, Ari Herzog jumped into the conversation and said the whole point of social networking is just that: To be social and network.  His point is that you should just accept people into your network.

I disagreed a little bit, at the time. But I disagree even more today.

Why?

I’ll bet I get at least five spam “I’d like to add you to my professional network” requests a day. You can tell they’re spam because the name is usually  something like “Money King,” but sometimes they’re not that obvious. If I went with Ari’s notion, I’d have a good few hundred people in my account, spamming my real network.

Would that piss you off if you were in my network?

Because I have this innate need to want to be liked by everyone, I used to take time to click on the invite, go in to the person’s account, figure out who we know in common, and decide whether or not they’re a good fit for my network.

But that takes a lot of time.

A lot of time that can easily be solved with a, “Hey Gini! We met when you spoke in Omaha last week and I would love to connect with you here.”  Or a “Gini, we follow one another on Twitter. My handle is @imcourteous.”

So. Much. Better.

If someone takes the time to do that, even if I don’t really know them, I will take Ari’s advice and accept them into my network. I’ll also make a note on how we know one another so that when I get an introduction request, I can be courteous back and say, “Hey Paul. We met when I spoke in Omaha last April. A girlfriend of mine is interested in working at your company. May I make an introduction?”

You see, without that point of reference, I can’t be helpful. And THAT is the point of LinkedIn.

What is your policy?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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178 Comments on "Accepting Standard LinkedIn Invites"

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KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago
Well, I was waiting for someone else to comment so I wasn’t always the first one. I come somewhere in between on this. On Facebook I have a very open friend acceptance policy. It doesn’t mean I accept everyone, but I only reject a select few. As for LinkedIn, I find that most of the requests I get from people that I don’t know are those who are in LinkedIn groups of which I’m a member. I accept some and reject others, and I’m not sure I can clearly articulate how I choose. I’m starting to pull back a little,… Read more »
russ_dean
russ_dean
5 years 1 month ago

I hate the zombie LinkedIn request! It feels very impersonal, like the requester is just someone looking to gnaw on your network…like a zombie (and hence the name). It is called social networking because it is social, but social is a two-way street: be nice in your request and I’ll be nice in my acceptance. Great post Gini as always, and just in case anyone is interested I did write a blog post myself on this a few months ago. http://www.socialmediabrat.com/?p=36 Thanks!

kamkansas
kamkansas
5 years 1 month ago

Gini, thanks for covering this topic. My current policy is not to accept LinkedIn requests from anyone I don’t know in real life. (Not someone I just met, either.) I heard that can be risky. But you (and Arik) make some good points, so I may rethink my policy on this. Thanks!

mikecollado
mikecollado
5 years 1 month ago
Great post, Gini, as I have a bunch of these “invitations” staring at me. I Agree on both counts… If it is important to connect, then at least take a few seconds to personalize the invitation (pet peeve). I am protective of my LI professional contacts, so I don’t generally accept invitations from unknown contacts – especially ones that claim we’ve done business together when we haven’t. The way I see it, the professionals I am connected to have trusted me with their contacts; I want to be a good steward. I’m more open to using other platforms and some… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago
@KenMueller You’re always the first one! Funny about Facebook…I don’t accept anyone there unless they really are friends. I’m too, nutty (as you well know) on there to let the whole world see it. But with LinkedIn, I have to have some point of reference. Just yesterday someone asked me to make an introduction to someone in my network and I panicked because I didn’t recognize the name. Turned out I was one away from a connection to the person so that was an easy save. But what if that person were in my network and I didn’t really know… Read more »
beastoftraal
beastoftraal
5 years 1 month ago

Contrarian view: I see what value I could gain from the connection and not what that person could gain from me.

Considering I blogged about this last year, let me indulge in the cardinal social media sin of plugging my very contextually relevant post,

Here’s why the lack of a personalized LinkedIn Invite message should NOT bother you! http://bit.ly/cTjsPx

barryrsilver
5 years 1 month ago

I’m with you Gini. If I don’t have a group in common with the inviter I am reluctant to accept an invite to Link, especially if all I receive is the generic LinkedIn message. If the idea is to make a professional connection I would expect the invite to show some level of professionalism.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@beastoftraal I like the contrarian view, for sure. I guess it’s all about personal preferences. This morning I had a request from a student at National College. Standard invite. No context. Sorry, kid. You’re not getting in.

PhilipNowak
5 years 1 month ago
I’m all over the place on this one, Gini. For the most part, I accept LinkedIn invites if I know the person, met the person, have chatted with the person on some social network or if the person is looking to network within the same industry (social, tech, marketing, etc). Every once in a while, I receive an invite from someone who would like to network as a fellow entrepreneur or business owner, in which case I usually accept after scoping out their profile. I always ignore/decline the request if it is a spammer, recruiter for a position/company that is… Read more »
maringerov
maringerov
5 years 1 month ago
Hi Gini, First time I am leaving a comment on your blog, but not the first time I’m enjoying your writing 🙂 Great work! My personal policy when dealing with those anonymous invites is to usually ignore them, especially if the name of the person does not ring a bell. In the beginning I might have been more open to accepting such initations in order to expand my network, but not anymore. I have the same approach for twitter followers, btw. I tend to ignore the”eggs” without a bio or at leas a link to a website where you can… Read more »
KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Well, on Facebook I have to have a point of reference as well. A lot goes back to my previous job before I went out on my own. But I always check to see who we have as friends in common. If we have NO friends in common, and I don’t recognize them from Twitter, I won’t accept that. And you’re not THAT nutty.

Hope you and Mr. D. had a wonderful day yesterday. I’d ask if you did anything fun, but….I’m afraid of what your answer might be.

KEXINO
KEXINO
5 years 1 month ago
The spammers seemed to have upped their game recently and now look very plausible. However I rarely if ever connect with people on Linkedin until I know them fairly well. To me (and this is only with LinkedIn, by the way) having a network of people that you don’t really know somehow reduces the value of your network. I have two rules in the “Contact Settings” section of my LinkedIn profile: 1) If you don’t know me, please let me know why you want to add me to your network. 2) If you’re not sharing your own contacts list, don’t… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@KenMueller LOL! We just had a nice dinner out. Thank you!

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Excellent. My wife and I are celebrating our 26th anniversary in a few months. Still trying to decide between McDonalds and Burger King…

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@russ_dean I wished I’d titled this the Zombie Request!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@KenMueller McDonald’s. Better fries.

beastoftraal
beastoftraal
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich I understand your perspective. There are times I have accepted such kids’ requests but only after assessing their potential based on some criteria – the blog links they have on the profile…their tweets…their other connections and so on. Have hired some such kids later and have also shared their names with other friends who were looking at entry level folks!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@kamkansas That was my policy early on, too. I think it’s all about your personal boundaries and what makes sense for you. My feeling on it is that I have to know you well enough to be able to make a connection and introduce you to someone should they ask.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@beastoftraal Yeah, I suppose the difference is this one had none of that and not even a photo. It’s hard to tell if that’s spam or someone genuinely wanting to connect with me in the hopes of building a relationship in order to get a job. But because I’m so active on Twitter and Facebook, I’d rather students connect with me there.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@mikecollado Amen!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@barryrsilver Barry! I’ve missed you! I love the “If the idea is to make a professional connection, I would expect the invite to show some level of professionalism.” Amen.

mikecollado
mikecollado
5 years 1 month ago

@KEXINO I agree on the sharing of contacts… My contact settings reads: “

I believe in keeping an open contact list and am therefore only interested in connecting with those who will reciprocate. If you are uncomfortable with your contact list being open to me, then I’ll pass. Thanks.” But that often doesn’t register.

Good point!

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Holy Cow! First toilet paper over the top, and now McD’s fries. THIS is why I love social media. If neither of us were married I’d be on the next plane to Chicago!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@PhilipNowak That doesn’t sound like all over the place to me! It’s pretty much the same policy I have. I will accept your standard invite request if I’m in a good mood and don’t mind taking the time to dig into who the heck you are. But it sure would be a lot easier if people did as @barryrsilver says and be professional.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@maringerov Marin, hi! Welcome! I’m with you both on Twitter and LinkedIn. We’re all busy. Just give me some context.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@mikecollado @KEXINO You know, both of you raise an interesting point. I’m going to add some “rules” to my contact settings. I like it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@KenMueller And I’d make you some fresh Auntie Anne’s pretzels!

beastoftraal
beastoftraal
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich Aha! No photo is an instant delete from my side 🙂

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich did you try them? did you like them??

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 1 month ago

@KenMueller They are DELICIOUS!

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich glad you like them. I’ve never tried the bake your own kits myself.

maringerov
maringerov
5 years 1 month ago

@ginidietrich @maringerov context? sorry, I don’t get your reply 🙂

NancyD68
NancyD68
5 years 1 month ago
My LinkedIn profile is the one that needs the most work. I do tend to accept any invites I get. I do not get spammers because my network is so small that they would be spotted right away. My boss has about 300 in his network, so with my 25, I look like a small fry. I actually need more connections there, but feel awkward about connecting with those I don’t know. I do sometimes send invites to members of various groups I am in. The odd thing about LinkedIn is that we want to know the people in our… Read more »
MaureenB2B
MaureenB2B
5 years 1 month ago

Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a spam LI request. But I am super-bugged by the generic requests. Yes, gimme some context please.

On the up side – if a generic requester sends me an LI request, I send back a note asking for context. Of course I only do this when the requester looks to have a legit profile.

Oh and Happy Anniversary!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber
5 years 1 month ago

@kamkansas Kathy, that’s my policy for facebook. On LInkedIn, I’m much more open to connections that are new and relevant, but whom I may not have met in person. A simple note explaining to @ginidietrich ‘s post helps me understand how or why we should be connected.

Facebook is a closer network, in my opinion.

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 1 month ago
To me, this argument can be had over any online social network, and it always depends on the users personal way of using each network. For me, LinkedIn is a public network used to meet new professionals and expose new folks to my work. There’s zero downside to me accepting all invitations, as they’re all potential new customers/viewers. If it’s as obvious as “Monkey King” or whatever and I’m 99% sure it’s spam, then it’s just as easy to click decline. Facebook is a very personal network for me (minus my professional business page), so I am very picky about… Read more »
T60Productions
5 years 1 month ago

Hi Gini… I’m with you. If I know them, and they know I know them, then I don’t mind the generic request. On the other hand, I rarely accept random requests unless they jog my memory first… or offer me a really good bribe! 🙂

–Tony Gnau

T60Productions
5 years 1 month ago

Hi Gini… I’m with you. If I know them, and they know I know them, then I don’t mind the generic request. On the other hand, I rarely accept random requests unless they jog my memory first… or offer me a really good bribe! 🙂

–Tony Gnau

PhilipNowak
5 years 1 month ago

Ha, yea I guess my method isn’t that all over the place. Not like some of those wild and crazy “all or nothing” networkers out there. 🙂

PhilipNowak
5 years 1 month ago

Ha, yea I guess my method isn’t that all over the place. Not like some of those wild and crazy “all or nothing” networkers out there. 🙂

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 1 month ago
It’s a personal branding issue for me. I’m on a big “the least one can do” in social networking kick this week, and to me the automated messages are a form of rudeness. Using a few words of personal greeting or introduction is just basic courtesy. Would you send a birthday card and not at least write “best wishes” and sign your name? When I receive an invitation with a non-form message I actually WANT to follow back because it demonstrates that the person will likely have a higher level of engagement and activity than “collectors.” Also, from a classic… Read more »
bradmarley
bradmarley
5 years 1 month ago

My policy is that I had to have some sort of interaction with that person.

For instance, I add reporters to my LinkedIn account, but only if I have worked on a story with them. I won’t send just to send.

If it’s non-media, same goes: I have to have some type of interaction, be it an email correspondence on a project, met at a meeting, etc.

That’s how I manage LinkedIn.

SoloBizCoach
SoloBizCoach
5 years 1 month ago

While I would prefer people to provide a better introduction with their linkedin request, a lot of people just don’t think about the etiquette of sending these requests. Therefore, I generally accept anyone who isn’t obviously a spammer.

dannyiny
dannyiny
5 years 1 month ago

I’m with you, Gini. A social network has no value if the connections aren’t real. If I don’t know them – as in if they email me asking for a favor I have a reason to do it and vice versa – then I generally don’t add them.

And yeah, I’m with you on those annoying spam invites, too. It’s always someone random that you’ve never heard of, and you click through to see that they’re a financial advisor selling insurance…

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 1 month ago

I agree completely Gini – it is just a nice touch to save someone the time of trying to figure out how you know them. There are too many spam/hackers out there to just blindly accept every request.

Marcus_Sheridan
5 years 1 month ago

Personally, the longer I’m in this thing called ‘social media’ Gini, the more interested I am in just that– being social. I could give a rip these days about numbers that mean nothing. All they do is clog up my ability to see other people that I could develop a great relationship with.

So if you send me a generic LI request, I’m probably going to nuke your invite until you’ve gotten to the point where you know how to say, “Hey Marcus, I like Lions too, can we connect???” 😉

Marcus

Marcus_Sheridan
5 years 1 month ago

Personally, the longer I’m in this thing called ‘social media’ Gini, the more interested I am in just that– being social. I could give a rip these days about numbers that mean nothing. All they do is clog up my ability to see other people that I could develop a great relationship with.

So if you send me a generic LI request, I’m probably going to nuke your invite until you’ve gotten to the point where you know how to say, “Hey Marcus, I like Lions too, can we connect???” 😉

Marcus

DannyBrown
5 years 1 month ago

If I don’t know you, haven’t worked with you, never heard of you, and you can’t be assed to tell me why we should connect, you’re deleted.

LinkedIn (to me) is the professional big brother of the social networks – use it as such.

DannyBrown
5 years 1 month ago

If I don’t know you, haven’t worked with you, never heard of you, and you can’t be assed to tell me why we should connect, you’re deleted.

LinkedIn (to me) is the professional big brother of the social networks – use it as such.

nateriggs
nateriggs
5 years 1 month ago
I’m an open networker, per say, but I agree with you. Just like everything else online, LinkedIn can be hacked by spammers and crappy pushy business folks who don’t care about actually forming a relationship. One of the things I do is to reply back to each person who invites me with the default message and ask how they found me. No reply means I don’t add them. Most of the time, people will come back with a pretty honest response and that often leads to good conversation. I recently;y got to know someone from the Netherlands this way. For… Read more »
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