Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests to connect online. I have been noticing this particularly on LinkedIn, but it’s been happening on all of the networks, and I love it. In the cases where I need to approve whether or not the person starts having access to my information, I always go and have a quick look to try to figure out who they are and what they do and whether or not it makes sense for us to be connected. In the ones where I don’t, I’ll often go and have a look to see if I should follow back.
As I’ve been doing that I’ve noticed a few things that always make me think someone probably isn’t worth connecting with. There are a few things I notice generally make me hesitate or decide not to connect.
1) Who are you?
When I connect with someone I want to see who they are. If they have a photo that isn’t of themselves or a blurry (I don’t like to connect with flowers or clouds) or really candid shot as their avatar (this is particularly true on a professional network like LinkedIn) I hesitate.
For example, which says “professional I’d like to hire” more to you?
I’ve used the first one as my Facebook profile photo and I still would now, I might use it on Twitter too. But I would always use something more professional on LinkedIn or anywhere I am primarily trying to connect for business purposes.
I generally do connect with people who have casual photos unless there are other reasons not to connect as well, but I almost never bother with a generic image and never with someone who didn’t upload a photo at all.
2) Where are you from?
I think that people have a tendency to believe that they don’t want to pin themselves down to a geographical location (this is especially true if you’re hoping to sell online) so they don’t put a location in their profiles or they say “everywhere” or “the whole world.”
When I read that I feel like the chances you’re a spammy person are much higher. I want to know where you’re from. That helps me make a decisions on whether or not to connect with you. In fact, there are a few cities where I will almost always connect with you based on just that!
When you’re precise about who you are, you come off as more trustworthy and authentic.
3) What have you got to say?
If you aren’t saying anything at all, I don’t really have a reason to follow you. Take a few minutes, at least once in awhile, to share some updates on your channels, to have conversations with others and to say hi to the people you’re trying to connect with. It makes you seem more human and gives people a reason to want to get to know you more.