By far the most frequent question I get asked during my LinkedIn Masterclasses is; Should I accept connection requests from strangers?
The answer is a big resounding YES!
Now let me explain why?
I'm not saying every single stranger, you have to be strategic about it and instead of clicking ignore and run, ask yourself the following key questions.
1. How many connections does this person have?
It's a numbers game. Your are on LinkedIn for a reason. Either you are making yourself available to be headhunted, looking for a job or want to improve business for yourself or the company you work for.
To significantly enhance your success in all these areas you need a large network.
Remember that on average LinkedIn members have at least 150 connections. That means your network will be at least 22,500. These are your first and second level connections.
Second level are your immediate network’s connections.
With continually building your network, it means your area of influence, ability to find and connect to the right person, grows exponentially.
2. Are they in your industry or aligned to it or outside of it?
If they're in your industry or aligned to it, then this is another good reason to connect. They may well be able to introduce you to your next career move, right?
If they are outside of your industry, they may well be a prospect for you. So check if they are in your industry prospect list. You may have one or not. Maybe time to write one!
3. Have they got a decent profile photo?
If not, then don’t connect. Click ignore and click I don't know this person. If they continue being the ’invisible’ man, LinkedIn will eventually warn them or remove them. And I say ’man’ on purpose because I've noticed that it's only men who send invites without a photo. Women who don't have a photo do so because they wish to remain hidden in some way for fear of receiving too many ’male’ invites!
Women who do send invites have overcome this fear and always have a profile photo. Interesting right?
Whenever I challenge men that don't have a profile photo, you should hear the ’bull’ they come out with.
4. A greater opportunity to be found on search.
Every member on LinkedIn receives suggestions for people they may know. On almost every page you will see a few people recommended and indeed allowing you to click on the link to see even more. The list of cards can be hundreds and even thousands.
The algorithm looks at your first level connections and decides that their second level connections may be known to you. The chances of this is potentially true and that's why they do it.
Equally you are a second level connection to all those stranger’s connections and they will receive you served up as a ’people you may know’ suspect.
More eyeballs on your profile, means more opportunity for you to be found, the higher you will appear on search and the better your chances of achieving your reason for being on LinkedIn.
Because I was strategic early on when growing my network, it means I now have a network, that I can easily connect to if I wish, of over 4 million people, globally and in excess of 800,000 people in the UK.
On average each day approximately 30,000 people are added to my network and that's because everyone keeps growing their network.
Wishing you massive success always!