Welcome to the new website for the Your Digital Marketing Coach podcast!
June 30, 2015

114: Why It's Time to Prune Your LinkedIn Connections

114: Why It's Time to Prune Your LinkedIn Connections

When Neal first started speaking and blogging about social media, he focused on LinkedIn. But the platform has changed so much since the beginning, and of course the interactions and recommended use of it have evolved too. Today, Neal is talking about editing your LinkedIn connections. Not only is it important to comb through your current connections to edit out people who may not be relevant for you, but it’s also good to have some guidelines for accepting new requests. You want your LinkedIn to be curated so it’s productive, fun, and adds value to your life and business.

Transcript

speaker 0:   0:00
welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now the host of Maximize Your Social, Social Media Author, speaker, consultant, founder of Maximize Social Business, The Social Media Centre of Excellence and the Social Tool Summit. Neil Shaper. Everybody does Neil Schaefer. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Social. I sort of promised you last week that I was gonna be recording this next one from Japan. But as it turns out, I'm not leaving until tomorrow, and I have a lot to say. So this one's coming from my home office next week. I'll definitely be in Japan, and we'll see if I could get some interesting interviews in as well while I'm there so hope you're enjoying your summer vacation. I know if you're working, you might not be having much for summer vacation, but it is hot in a little bit humid every day. Here in Orange County, California don't know what the weather is like wherever you are in the world, but it's definitely making me drink a lot of water and controlling my appetite, which is pretty healthy actually. So I'm looking forward to a happy and healthy summer, and I'm wishing you the best as well. Let's get on to the topic of today. Haven't talked about thing did a lot recently, and I wanna bring up something that's both very personal and yet very practical and applicable to your linked in presence as well. As you know, I started blogging in writing and speaking exclusively, talking about linked in. And as many of you know, I also never wanted to become the Lincoln guy. Never wanted to be seen as just having one scope of expertise. The reason being is that my clients need social media for business help, and that's not always linked in being the number one strategic social network for them. So not to say, I don't think I'm one of the foremost experts on linked in, but that's my position in the market. But anyway, as you know, Lincoln is my first social media love. I'll be coming out with a free e book. Arlington called Maximizing linked in for Business. I hope that's the name of it. Hold on one second. Yes, indeed, that's the name of it. So be on the lookout for that. That's going to be in conjunction with the launch of my new Social Media Centre of Excellence, which I am truly truly excited about. So well, what I want to talk about linked in whenever I speak on social media are linked in. There's a number of questions that I always get asked. One is on Neil. I get these random connection requests. What should I D'oh Now? I call this and I talked about it, you know, written two books on Link in my first book, Windmill Networking. Understanding that Regina maximizing linked in was more of a online personal and business networking book that there's value to be had a meeting with people in engaging with people that you've never met before in the physical world, and I think that is now accepted. It wasn't accepted back in 2009 and the only people that were sort of doing that were what we call in linked in terms lions or linked in open networkers, Twitter instagram. These networks have become open networks in themselves because you can connect with anyone and comment and send messages to anyone you like. Wellington, as as we know, is not that way, and it's still not that way for a reason. I'll get to that later, but at that time my view waas You never know where a virtual connection on linked in through what I called it the time windmill networking will lead you. And that led me to create a network that has a lot of connections. And the way I respond to the question now is you don't need to have 30,000 connections like I have, right? So But before I get to you, no further clarifying that I want to point out that in 2011 when I wrote maximizing linked in for sales and social media marketing, I talked about the linking connection policy. And this is, you know, I understand the business people. Everyone has a different perspective on how open they want. They're linking connections to be. And at that time I gave very, very tactical advice. That said, You know, you don't need to be an open networker, But if there's a few people in your target industry in your target geography, whatever it might be that you can connect with that can really help gain you visibility and potentially connect ability for lack of a better word into your target market or target company. Very tactical advice. So we've come fast forward to 2015 between When I published that second book and now I also wrote a block post about why I'm no longer linked in Lyon. And what's happened is the Internet marketers and the people that say their social media marketers. But the really Internet marketers have invaded, linked in as well as any other social network. They have invaded the groups. They're dropping links. They're sending spam messages to you. They're connecting with you and then getting your email address and then something that to someone and then un connecting with you. There's a lot of stuff going on. And they're doing this because by saying that they are a lion, they were being trusted by other lions. Okay, so that's why I stopped publicly saying that I'm a lying because I think it just encourages the wrong behavior. I think you know, if you're on linked in and you see someone with 500 plus connections and you actually go to their profound readers summary where they say I'm open to connecting or hey, send me a message before connecting or whatever. It might be right. I don't think you have to have the lion designation in order to feel safe and connecting with someone you've never met. If you want to engage with them, do what I recommend. You know, social selling, best practices Engage with their updates, right? Follow them, engage other updates. Go to the groups that they're a member of, see if they've posted anything. Get an introduction from a friend if you really want to connect with them. So you know, it's now time. And really, the subject of this podcast is it's time to seriously prune Arlington connections. Now, I'm gonna tell you how I do it now. It might also not be relevant for you, but if you've been accepting invites from people and now it's like, you know, maybe I shouldn't have accepted so many invites. And I think a lot of us have have had that feeling. Or if you're wondering, you know which of these new invite should you accept or not? I think the advice is gonna be equally applicable. So now okay. And the answer I give when I speak is hey, if you get an invite from someone you've never met. But they live where you live, and they have a lot of common connections or they work at the same cos you and they have a lot of common connections. Or they work at one of your partners and have a lot of connections. Or they work in your industry that used to work at the same company you know, went to the same university. If there's anything that can connect them to you, number one in a rational way. Number two, If there is a, you know, a decent number of mutual connections, and this is gonna be important as I keep talking, if they're in your circles and you should be connected, you should have some mutual connections, right? If not, it sort of raises questions as to Is this person really or what have you? And the 3rd 1 is, Is there any our ally from your perspective? Here's the thing. If you connect with someone, then you both become first re connections. You both have access to message each other directly on LinkedIn. You both can view each other's email addresses, but most importantly is, and I call this the You know, the biggest power of LinkedIn is in the discovery ability of hidden connections. When you have a need. Now this is very much a business focused podcast. What I do is for business, but it's equally relevant for job searching or just for networking. When you do in advance, people search and you have a need to you find a second degree connection pop up, and the person that's gonna connect you is one of these people that you've never met. Okay, you need to feel confident that if you reached out to them and you gave them an introduction request and you did it in best practices that are recommended in my books, my block posts giving them a reason, right? And if you do that and if they do not carry the ball forward for you and make the request that they don't even respond, then that connection has absolutely zero value. The Wilmington True, it gets you a little bit more visibility into increasing your secondary connections and vice versa. So there is a little bit of tangible value in there, but the real tangible value is if you are too request introduction from them. Are they going to step up to the plate for you? That's the key thing, right? That's that's it. So what this comes down to, then, is if you're not sure if you should connect with them if you don't have a lot of mutual friends or you just don't see the connection reply without accepting and say, Hey, just wondering. We don't have a lot of mutual connections and just wondered why you wanted to connect with me. If they respond in a rational way, great. If they don't, then they're not gonna respond to an introduction request either. And you just forget about him. But this is a really easy to use rule of thumb, so this gets sort of into what I believe, our best practices and connecting on thinkin from very strategic and tactical approach. I want to get back to this notion of pruning your linking connections, and really we can use when we receive new length in connection requests as a way to prune are present linking connections. And let me explain this to you. So I get I don't know, anywhere from between 10 and 30 linking connection requests a day. I'm sort of out there. I do not have lion on my profile. At least I don't think I do anywhere. But, you know, I've written Block Post. I'm being a lion and, you know, for whatever reason, I get a lot of requests. So number one if I get a request from a non English speaking nation, Okay, I used to say, You never know where a connection requests can lead you, but after doing this for seven years, I can safely say that most of the foreign connections have had. If they're in a Western, European, English speaking nation, it may be one thing, Or if they're in Australia, are you from my perspective? Australia, New Zealand, Japan? It's one thing, but for all the requests I get from certain countries and I won't name them, they really have zero value to me, especially if and before I decide to accept a decline, I will hover over and see if they have a personalized message if they have a personalized message on my consider accepting. But if there's no message which 90% of connection requests I get these days have I immediately just decline no brainer, right? Once again determine your geography for some of you. You know, for instance, if you're listening to this, the United States and you don't do anything internationally. In fact, you don't even do anything nationally. You just stay local. You know, if they're coming from sort of how to state or what have you. This is another consideration. So, you know, Number one? Is there any personalized message? That's the key. Distinguish her right there. Assuming there's not number two, we can start to filter by geography. But before I decline, I went a little bit fast there before I declined that request. I want to see if we have any mutual connections. Okay? There's something called guilty by association in the legal world, which is, you know, hopefully I don't have to explain this concept to you, but, you know, if your best friend did something bad and you happen to be together with your best friend and saw them do something bad and you didn't stop them from doing it, you're sort of guilty by association because you aided them indirectly in doing something they shouldn't have done. Guilty by Association of Lincoln is when you get these random connection requests. I want you to take a look and see who your mutual connections are right. When you get a Lincoln Connection request from someone that seems you're relevant and there's no message and you have no mutual connections, you can almost go ahead and and delete it right away, right? But when you have mutual connections, I want you to see who those people are. There are still a lot of surprisingly large number of professionals, I think, then, that are still merely accepting anyone and everyone's invited. What this does is it gives credibility to the fake profiles to the Internet, slash social media marketers and sort of the rotten eggs of linked in that you probably don't want to be associated with unless you want to sell those people. But it gives them credibility because it looks like you have a lot of mutual connections. So I want you to see when you get a random request from a foreign country, someone that doesn't have a photo that doesn't have ah profile headline, and yet you have, like, five mutual connections. Who are these people that are connecting with them? And I'm gonna recommend when you prune your lengthen connections. These the people you want a prune. You want to prove those people that stay connected with the fake profiles because they're giving you a false sense of social proof off all the other fake Lincoln profiles out there. So what you're gonna find is you're gonna find other lions if you've ever connected with the lion, starting to disconnect with them. In fact, if I see Lion in a profile headline, I'm almost immediately declining that invitation. But once again, before you decline an invitation, look at those mutual connections. You know, if they're sort of a thought leader in my industry, someone that I know him respect, I might not disconnect from them. But if they're a marginal presence where we've never been in touch and I'm not sure how much value they out or if they'd respond to an introduction request, I will start to disconnect with them and delete their Lincoln connection from the Lincoln database. And what this is doing overtime is it's showing me very clear to either. I have a lot of mutual connections, in which case I feel a little bit safer or I have zero or one or two or three or four for my general rule. If there's someone when I look at their profile and it's really questionable as to whether I should connect with them and I'm gonna decline if I have 10 or fewer mutual connections, I will go into each one of those 10 profiles. I will look and see if they have added any value to me over the last seven years on linked in or if they have any potential future value. And if they don't or even if that potential future value is just very slider marginal, I will disconnect with them. And it makes me feel good knowing that I am well for lack of better words, getting rid of people that are sort of just connecting with everybody and propagating something that we really shouldn't be. Propagating Arlington. Hoping this makes sense. And if you do this day in, day out, what's gonna happen is even if you only get five Lincoln Connection requests a day, probably you're gonna end up through your connections in a very, very smart and tactical way and be able to use that number of mutual connections as true social proof just like you would on Facebook. When you see number of mutual friends and you give 100% trust of that, we need to be able to do that on Lincoln as well. And the only way to do that is to follow my advice here. It can't hurt out fewer connections. You know, when you're in the contact screen, it just allows you more easily engage with the present connections that you have and give more value to them, right? So that's really my message for today. If there's no personalized invite, they're not in your geography. You don't see where the potential are Y is. Look at those mutual connections before declining and prune your linking connections. Let's not be guilty by association. I'm probably guilty by association myself because of my open networking background with a lot of connections, and I am working hard on reducing those connections. But it's sort of similar to someone in contacting the other day, and I use a variety of Twitter tools, some automated, some semi automated, some manual. But I was following sort of questionable profiles on Twitter by accident, and one of my Lincoln connections actually reached ultimate and Neil, have you seen who you follow recently? If someone's managing your account, you need to You need to tell them. And he was right, and I thanked him. I was guilty by association because I was following the wrong people. You don't want to be connected with the wrong people are linked in. So if you've never been an open networker or you've never sort of, you know, gone above and beyond the people that you've never met, you're not gonna have this problem. But hopefully even that advice on if I don't know someone, should I connect with them or not that, you know, don't accept send them a reply and seeing if they engage back with you, That's really the Terminator. And I hope that you'll do that as a best practice. But for others don't waste your time. If there's absolutely no common thread and no mutual connections decline and be done with it. And don't waste any more time on it. If you've had a little bit more open connections than this will be more relevant to you. If you've been a lie in this, I think will be the most relevant to you. So That's my advice on your Lincoln Connection policy. Who should you accept invites from, and why and how you should carefully prune your Lincoln Network and let's put more trust into that mutual Connections number As we go forward. I hope you enjoy this advice. Hey, you want me to podcast more about LinkedIn? You want me to podcast more about whatever topic feel free, reach out to me. Appreciate all those iTunes five star ratings and comments. I know when I move my podcast over, I lost a lot of them. So if you're one of them, I hope you'll re engage and help spread the word about the podcast. And I'm signing out to you today from Orange County, California excited to be going to Japan soon, and like I said, hopefully next time we'll be talking to you from Japan, where I will be rooting on our new desk. Oh, Japan Woman's World Cup soccer team in Japan. I'm really excited about that sort of a bum around enough to watch us, Germany and Japan as well, but that's okay. I'll get together with my other American friends for that match. So anyway, wherever you're on the world, as I always say, Make it a great social day, Everybody, Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neil Shaper at Neil at Maximize Your social dot com. Please also make sure to check out Neil's New Community Social Media Centre of Excellence at Social Media. C o e dot com as well as meals. First Social Media event. The Social Tool Summit, which will be in Boston on May 12 and in the Bay Area this fall. Thanks again and make it a social day.