How can you build your network without having to physically network?
I just read a LinkedIn post from William Arruda advocating that you accept every invitation that comes your way on LinkedIn. Read it here While I totally agree in principle with what he says, I do understand people’s reticence to actually doing accepting anyone and everyone.
For an experiment, I went to my invitation box. It had 328 invitations in it. Almost every single one of them was not personalized. That means that either the person just clicked the connect button too quickly, they thought I would know who they were, or they were just inviting someone from the people I might know section. I did find a few people that had personalized their invitation that I may have overlooked during a busy time period, but for the most part they were generic invitations.
To follow through on the advice from Mr. Arruda, I decided that I was going to connect with almost all of the people whose invitations were awaiting my response. I added about 170 or so people to my network in about 20 minutes. I received a response from 2 of them relatively promptly, so I could begin to build a relationship with them right away.
One of the reasons that I didn’t automatically connect with the people is because I like to tag my connections for future reference. Read more here. With this in mind, I tagged all of them with a tag that let me know they were “on-line only” connections.
Another reason I like to keep at least some of these generic invitations in my in-box is that when I teach LinkedIn classes, I like to show people how to “reply don’t accept yet. Read more here.
My mantra when I teach is – It’s not about who you know, but who they know. The broader your network is, the more likely you will be able to connect with a potential employee, employee, or new business connection.
Whatever you choose to do with your LinkedIn connections, it is the best way to build your network without actually having to network!
I invite you to share your thoughts.