Making Valuable LinkedIn Connections

By Michael Cohn | Small Business

Making Valuable LinkedIn Connections image linkedin 11Making Valuable LinkedIn ConnectionsIt is pretty common knowledge that LinkedIn is an extremely effective social media channel for professional connections and interactions. The question is not about LinkedIn itself. The question is about which people who have invited you to connect with them are the right people for you.

How to figure it out

As usual, it will come down to quality versus quantity. If 500 people online invite you to connect with them, you need to ask yourself if it is worth sacrificing quality for quantity. If you think that “collecting” as many LinkedIn connections as you possibly can will allow you to have a stronger position in LinkedIn and that your web presence will be stronger because of it, you are probably incorrect. The only way that those 500 connections are all worth having on LinkedIn is if you truly have a solid, mutually beneficial relationship with each and every one of them and the likelihood of that being the case is extremely slim.

Stick with your strategy

Your strategy acts as your roadmap. Initially, you spent a great deal of time, thought, and effort making your online social media strategy into what it needs to be to help you and your business to succeed. Why would you abandon that strategy after putting so much effort into it? The answer is that you should not abandon it. It is a valuable tool that will help you to get your business to where you want it to be. Part of what you will be doing in that situation is building credibility, boosting your business’s reputation, and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. They are all worthy exercises and they will pay off in the end. There are several ways that you can build your credibility, such as:

  • Positioning yourself and your business properly online.
  • Using the strongest, most effective keywords to support what you represent and to highlight your expertise.
  • Identifying your target audience and taking solid steps to interact with them.
  • Figuring out how much time and effort you should be devoting to your activity on LinkedIn. It is important to be consistent, persistent, and committed to your LinkedIn activities.

Deciding on whom to accept and whom to reject on LinkedIn

Undoubtedly, the more you share your content online, the greater number of people who will reach out to you and try to connect with you. As flattering as that may seem, that doesn’t mean that it is appropriate to say yes to every one of those people. You should proceed cautiously. There are several criteria that you can use when deciding which people to accept and which people to reject on LinkedIn. You should accept the person if

  • You know the person on a personal basis. That means that some level of trust exists between you and you would like to take the relationship to the next level.

  • You have never actually interacted with the person but you feel that you and the other person would benefit from having a relationship through LinkedIn. You will be able to get a fairly good sense of the person by reviewing his or her profile carefully.

  • You have a feeling that the person is worth networking (online and in person) on an ongoing basis. You should get some sense of mutual benefit before you move forward with any kind of relationship with that person.

On the other hand, there are many people who will invite you to connect with them on LinkedIn and you should think long and hard about whether you should accept them. In many cases, the answer will be “no.” Some of those reasons are:

  • You are acquainted with the person but you remember a negative experience that you had with him or her and you don’t trust that person. If you allow the person to connect with you on LinkedIn, you are giving him or her access to all of your other connections.

  • You don’t see anything that you and the other person have in common. You will not be able to share a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • You feel that the only reason that the person is trying to connect with you is for your other connections.

  • The person didn’t bother to complete his or her LinkedIn profile. There is no photo, no real details, etc. This may mean that the person is not genuinely interested in connecting with you. They may be spamming you.


LinkedIn is an extremely valuable, professionally sound social media channel and it behooves you to make it as effective and as brilliant as you possibly can so that it helps you to get to the next level professionally. You must make sure to protect your LinkedIn connections and think long and hard before you accept invitations to connect with other people online. As important as all of that is, it is also important to remember to treat people who have invited you to connect with them with respect and courtesy whether you accept or reject their invitation. It is not always as simple as knowing or not knowing the person before you agree to accept his or her invitation. However, before you do connect, make sure that you have good reasons for doing so.

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