Why Won’t You Accept My Network Connection Request?
I recently read an article by Meg Guiseppi entitled, “14 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter”, and I found that I shared many of her views on what constitutes a good network connection on Twitter.
In my case, however, I am a member of multiple social networks, and I don’t use them all in the same manner, so the guidelines that I follow are dependent on the class of social network involved. I broadly classify my social networking activity as follows:
- Business / Professional Networking
- Social / Personal Networking
Business / Professional Networking
I classify the vast majority of my networks, including LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Naymz as professional networking sites. Since I consider myself to be an open networker, I am happy to connect to those individuals who also value open networking and understand the value of diverse networks. Closed networks are fine, but for business purposes, I find open networks more useful.
If I receive a connection request from someone on one of my business networks to connect to me on another business network, I have no problems accepting those. In fact, I will accept almost any connection request, so long as it doesn’t trigger my spidey-sense or violate the guidelines listed later in this post.
If you want to get connected to me for short-term business opportunities, or with the hope that we can work together sometime in the future, then be sure to send me an invite via one of the aforementioned professional networks where I do the bulk of my business networking. Or just check out my XeeSM.
Social / Personal Networking
Twitter, for me, is a hybrid social network. I send a lot of business traffic over it, and I am willing to follow a variety of contributors, but I also send personal tweets over this channel.
OTOH, I put Facebook squarely in the personal / social networking camp. And, I primarily connect to people I know or who are related to me. Occasionally, after we’ve done some business together, I will invite or accept an invitation from a business contact on Facebook, but this is generally the exception rather than the rule. If you really want to become an FB friend, be sure to meet me a couple of times, otherwise, be happy with our interaction on other networks until a stronger relationship develops.
That makes Facebook a closed network for me, and not my focus for business activities. As I see it, Business = LinkedIn…
Connection Request Acceptance Guidelines
The following guidelines apply more to LinkedIn than any other network, primarily because I use LinkedIn more than any of my other networks. Some items, like the “values” guideline, are more focused on Twitter. While it hasn’t happened all that often, I have been known to check through my connections and remove those that violated the guidelines at a later time. Over zealous salespersons fall into this category the most.
- Be a real person
Have a real profile, with a few existing connections. I rarely connect to someone with less than 20 connections on any network, unless I already know them. Photos are a plus.
- Don’t claim to be my “Friend”
Unless you are, in which case I would know who you are. If you are an open networker, or you’re responding to a question or discussion post that I’ve made, or we share the same LinkedIn groups, or you liked my blog posting, then that is great. But I already know who my friends are, and I don’t like those who claim to be without merit. Stick with facts.
- Don’t try to sell me anything right away
I know how to find people who are selling the things I want or need. If I am not sure who you are, but need something you have, you can be sure that I’ll ask in the appropriate forum that will generate the appropriate answers. THAT is when you can try to sell me something.
- Say what you’re about
I am willing to connect (especially on LinkedIn) for all sorts of reasons. Make it easier on yourself by saying what your reason is. If you happen to have a really intriguing profile, I might figure that out for myself, but why take chances that you don’t have to?
- Have at least some overlap in values and/or goals
This applies to Twitter more than the other networks, but the goal of my networks is broad diversity, not extreme contrast. Ultimately, we are a reflection of our connections, so it behooves us to ensure that they are a fit.
- Pay attention to my connection guidelines
Particularly on LinkedIn, one can specific how one would like to be contacted. You’d be surprised at how many times people ignore that specific information when reaching out to others. It would probably be a good idea to pay attention to detail in this regard, if you wish to convey the idea that you can add value to a relationship.
And that sums up how I handle connection requests for the various networks that I am a member of… What’s your connection strategy?