Every day, those of us who are on social media get contacted by someone who wants to connect with us. Occasionally it’s us reaching out to someone else because we want to connect with them; kind of makes sense, right?
Most of the time I think the majority of people on some social media platforms add everyone who they know adds them. I think that because I see some of the numbers, and every once in a while look at some of the people that people I’m following are following; I hope you kept up with that. lol Often I see them connected to some folks who I’d consider either kind of shady or someone who’s never going to talk to them.
Yet, I know that there are some folks who I’ll check out “just because”, even if I don’t end up adding them to any of my lists. Why? Well, let’s look at this topic in general; we’ll get to it.
I’m going to start with LinkedIn because it’s the easiest one to talk about. I can’t remember the last time I reached out to someone I didn’t already know on LinkedIn; actually that’s not quite true because I do remember. It was probably 10 years ago when I was trolling for potential business contacts before I got a long term contract. I looked for people in my industry, looked at what they did, and if they were someone I figured could use my services or might know someone who could, I reached out to them.
What I didn’t do, and still refuse to do, is immediately reach out to someone to ask them the question. I hate that kind of thing when it comes my way; actually, people reach out to me to sell to me, which I hate even more. Truthfully, I haven’t reached out first to anyone in about 3 or 4 years unless we had some kind of conversation… which doesn’t happen on LinkedIn as much anymore, but I did reach out to 3 people last year; I knew them from Twitter, but since I’m no longer on there I hooked up with them on LinkedIn; they all accepted… whew! 🙂
What about people who reach out to me on LinkedIn? First, if there’s no picture and I don’t know them, it’s an immediate rejection. Second, if they leave an immediate message saying they’d like to talk to me about their service, that’s also an immediate rejection. If it’s someone in my industry and wants to talk about my potentially working with them, I’ll carry on a conversation first (though that rarely happens… sniff! lol); LinkedIn allows you to do that. If I know them fairly well and they’re local, those folks I’m more liable to connect with.
Overall it’s a simple process; it became one a few years ago when I removed almost 700 people or so from my connections. People I’d never talked to, people who weren’t active on the site, people who I realized I had nothing in common with (local or not)… they had to go. I’ve never been a person who connected with as many people as possible “just because”. It’s possible I’m doing it wrong; I can live with it, since it’s not the only social media platform I do it on.
On Facebook it’s rare that people want to connect with me; well, it’s the most rare out of the main social media platforms I’m on. In that case the criteria begins with who we’re both connected with; I like to try to have some idea of how people might have found me (I’m unsearchable on both LinkedIn and Facebook; I can only be found if they’ve seen my link on someone else’s post or someone else’s comment on something I’ve shared).
Instagram is the only other social media site I’m on; I love looking at pictures. I’ve rarely connected with someone I don’t know, but it’s been known to happen. It’s a weird site, and if you’re not paying attention you can get dragged into something. One day there might be someone who’s liked 9 or 10 of my pictures and has started following me; often those are older pictures, and I can’t see me being fascinating enough for someone to look through over 5,000 images of mine to find pictures to like if they don’t already know me (heck, people who know me aren’t doing that lol), then following me. I know that trick; it’s a scam to build up followers, and I’m not falling for it.
I’m also not falling for the pretty women who connect to me without saying anything. I have to check out their profile because that’s the only way you can block them; Instagram is sneaky! If someone on Instagram has less than 5 pictures, you don’t already know them, and they’re following 500 people… run, and run away fast!
Because I’ve been on social media sites for almost 20 years (ouch!), I have processes that feel smart to follow. Overall I look at social media like this; I want to be recognized, and I may want to be more influential, noticed, seen as an expert, etc. But the act of just connecting with people who connect with me for no other reason except to raise their numbers or market to me makes little sense for me to play along. I can’t keep up with all the people I’m connected with already because that’s how social media works, and those are folks that intrigue me. Everyone should have a standard, and a reason for connecting with lots of people; I ain’t got that kind of time.
That’s how I do things on social media; what about you? Do you think my criteria is too high, too low, or just about right? What do or would you do differently?