I’ve found LinkedIn to be a powerful Social Media tool for building and maintaining business relationships. Over the years, I’ve connected with several hundred people, all of whom I know. I’m no Mr. Manners, but I wouldn’t dream of sending an invitation to someone I hadn't met before.
However, I have noticed that some people’s Social Media “Compass” is quite different from mine. Has this happened to you?
Phase 1: The Innocuous Email
It all starts out innocent enough; I receive the following email….
John Doe has indicated you are a Friend
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. - John Doe
View invitation from John Doe
I rack my brain… for the life of me, I cannot recall ever knowing a John Doe. Did we meet at a recent networking event, work together, go to school together? Is he another executive recruiter, trying to “source” me for job candidates?
So, curiosity getting the best of me, I click “View invitation from John Doe” and I almost always find the following:
- John and I have never met.
- John and I have “Friends” in common.
Phase 2: The Search for Intent
John Doe, a person I have never met, wants to be my “Friend”, but unfortunately, he hasn’t shared why. Does he like one of my blogs; does he have a business proposition to discuss; is he looking for work? Depending on John’s intent, I might be very interested in connecting with him, but for some reason, he’s decided it’s okay to keep me guessing. This drives me nuts!
Phase 3: Offering an Olive Branch
Since I only connect with people I know, I do not automatically accept the invitation; instead I respond as follows:
Thank you for your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Please forgive me, but have we met? I would be more than happy to connect with you, but as a rule, I do not accept LinkedIn invitations from people I do know know. If you are interested in connecting, please let me know why and provide some times when you could be available to meet face-to-face or speak via phone.
Phase 4: Resolution
Most of the time I hear back from John Doe, and he provides a rationale for connecting. We have a conference call, and if the call is productive, I often accept the Invitation to share my network and more.
Does this happen to you? When it does, what do you do?