Networking on social media is a little different from networking in person. Typically in person someone introduces you to the connection, which gives you some credibility. On social media it’s not uncommon to connect with complete strangers. There is nothing really wrong with that, but make sure that you give a lot of thought and consideration to your goals as you connect with people.
Quality over Quantity
Don’t just connect willy-nilly with everyone who asks. Check out their profile; determine what the potential benefits are to you before agreeing to connect with them. Even on LinkedIn there will be people who just want to connect with you for scamming purposes. Read as much as you can about the person, check out their connections, and agree only if you can see some good benefit to it. Turning down people is an important part of building quality connections.
Connect with People You Know
The first people to connect with are those that you know, like and trust. These are the people who can help introduce you to people that you need to connect to. If you’ve worked with them before, or truly know their ethics – all the better. These are the people that you can align yourself with to ensure that people know that you are also trustworthy and knowledgeable. You are often known in real life and online by the people you associate yourself with.
Connect with People You Respect Online
After you have followed someone on other social media, purchased their products, or enjoyed their blog, and have assessed whether or not it would be beneficial to make the connection, it’s time to move forward. Once you know who they are then it’s perfectly safe to connect with them – even if you have not met them in person.
Connect with People You Admire in Groups
LinkedIn has groups that you can join. Joining the groups and having discussion with members is a great way to find people to connect with. If someone says something you find important and interesting, and you check out their profile and they seem like someone that you want to get to know, it’s perfectly okay to connect with them.
Connect with People Who Ask to Connect to You
But, only connect when it’s the right connection for you and they’ve taken the time to send you a personalized connection request that explains why they think it is beneficial. Read their profile, check the groups they are in see how they participate, and if you are impressed go ahead and connect with them. If you ever make a mistake and connect to the wrong person, you can always end the connection.
Connect with People Who Have Been Introduced by Trusted Connections
One really awesome thing about LinkedIn is that you can introduce people to each other using the system. It’s a great way to make connections. For example, if you want to connect with someone you notice is connected to someone you know, then ask for an introduction. Ensure that you can explain why you want the introduction. If an introduction comes blind from a connection you trust, accept it.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn is a great way to increase your connections, but you don’t want to connect with anyone without thought. LinkedIn is a very professional networking website and should be used as such.