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Ever wonder who you should connect with on LinkedIn? We all get random requests from people we don’t know.

While building your connections on LinkedIn is important, like so many things in life, it’s not quantity that matters,  it’s quality. Because LinkedIn is about networking and information-sharing among professionals who have similar interests.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with people you don’t know.  You just need to give it more careful consideration. Remember, it’s not a popularity contest.

First thing to do is to check out their profile. If you don’t want them to know you’re looking at it, go to your settings and select what others see when you view their profile.

Accept or Reject?

Here’s 4 things to consider:

  1. Does the person have a business-like headshot? A reasonably complete profile? If not, it means he/she isn’t all that serious about using LinkedIn.
  2. Does the person work for a company or organization that’s in the healthcare design industry or related to an area of your interest? A company or organization that you’ve heard of?
  3. Is the person connected to anyone else you know? This will appear in the right column on their profile page.
  4. Did the person send you a personal note to connect, or just the standard, “I’d like to add you to my connections on LinkedIn?” I often accept connection requests from people I don’t know who say they read my blog or are a member of one of my LinkedIn groups.

Once you do connect with someone, the first thing you should do is to tag them. Why? Because LinkedIn allows you to send personal messages to up to 50 of your connections at a time. Tagging them allows you to segment those messages.

How to Tag Someone

  1. Go to the “Connections” tab under “My Network” in the top navigation bar
  2. Scroll down to “Sort by Recent Conversation” and select “New”
  3. Your latest connection should appear at the top; hover over that person’s name and the “Tag” feature will appear; you can add/delete tags as needed here

Some tags I have for my connections are “healthcare architect,” “healthcare interior designer,” “hospital executive,” “design firm principal,” “manufacturer-vendor,” “personal,” etc. You can give people multiple tags if they fall into more than one category.

Once you connect with someone, send him/her a “glad we connected” message with some sort of call to action — like read my blog, join my LinkedIn group, or check out my company’s website.

And of course, the tips above are also good rules of thumb when you’re trying to connect with someone on LinkedIn.

Have a complete profile with a decent headshot. Send a personal request to connect that explains where you met or what common interests you have. Follow up with a “glad we connected” message.

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Sara_Marberry_Sq

Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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