What’s the etiquette when someone you don’t know invites you to connect on LinkedIn?

by Kirsten Hodgson

You receive an invite from someone you don’t know.

What should you do?

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to connect with those you don’t know.

This will largely depend on your objectives for being on LinkedIn as well as any governing professional association’s (such as your Law Society or Bar Association) guidelines.

If it is permissible in your jurisdiction, there may be very good reasons why you would connect with people you have never met, such as influential journalists, prospects, prospective influencers and referrers, and those with whom you’ve had discussions within LinkedIn groups.

Secondly, take a look at the invitation. Have they made it clear why they want to connect with you or have they used the standard LinkedIn text?

While I advise against this, don’t hold it against people as LinkedIn doesn’t give you the option to tailor your invites if you try to connect through certain features – such as ‘People you may know’.

Next, take a look at the person’s profile. Are they someone with whom you want to connect?

You’ll need to use your judgement here – For example, I’m happy to connect with those in my industry sector, as well as people who share valuable content or who’ve been involved in the same group discussions.

If you’re unsure, you might want to send the person a message asking why they want to connect with you. If they respond to this you’ll know they genuinely do have a reason, if not, it could be that they’re just growing their connections.

To reply click on the small arrow next to the ‘Accept’ button.

If you think someone does want to connect just to grow their number of connections or if you don’t want to connect to someone for another reason, select ‘ignore’ and you’ll no longer see the invite. Save the ‘report spam’ button for true spammers.

 Will people know you’ve ignored their invite?

No they won’t. If they go into their ‘Sent’ box within the LinkedIn email system (when in invitations) they will only see that you haven’t responded. However, they won’t know that you’ve selected ‘ignore’. They may well try to connect with you again in future.

What other tips or advice would you share?

 

Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant