A Requiem to Bad LinkedIn Solicitations

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Practicing good social media etiquette is critical in the digital economy.

Raise your hand if you like getting solicited from random strangers. Strange, I don’t see anyone’s hand raised.

The pandemic has nearly doubled the number of requests I’ve been getting on LinkedIn from people I have zero connections to. While many of them seem innocuous enough, the majority aren’t. These “harmless” requests may seem like an ideal way to expand my network, but far too many times they end in disappointment. If you’re fed up like me, the rest of this article will put a smile on your face. If, however, you fear you may be an offender, then please read on for some tips on how you can improve.

Let’s start by asking the question, “What should LinkedIn be for?”

It’s about developing your network and elevating your brand. The best marketing experts will all tell you that to succeed in today’s economy, it is no longer about mass appeal, but about niche targeting. You don’t need your message to be heard by everybody to generate enough leads; you need it to be heard by a narrowly defined audience that has the highest likelihood of becoming a client or partner. Since I know my brand and value proposition extremely well and have a clearly defined target audience, I’ve always tried to be strategic with the connections I both pursue and the ones I accept.

This is my first tip: To optimize LinkedIn for yourself, do not use a buckshot approach spraying connections requests everywhere based on “suggestions” or people from your network you don’t want to do business with.

Admittedly, with many people reaching out to me, every once in a while, I do decide to give someone the benefit of the doubt and let my guard down. Nine times out of 10 it is a bad idea. My second tip is: Go with your gut because it’s normally right (that’s true for food and LinkedIn).