I was having a conversation on Twitter recently with Marieke Hensel. Her Twitter handle is @hensel, and she posted a message about being a LinkedIn LION. I use LinkedIn on a regular basis, yet didn’t know what a LION was. So I asked her. She quickly responded with, “LION = Linked In Open Networker, basically you want to connect with everyone on LinkedIn.” The discussion carried on for a few Tweets, and I decided to write a blog post on the conversation. Actually, it was when I said, “Oh, yeah… don’t agree with that. At all. Facebook, 50/50… Twitter, yes, 100%. LinkedIn… no, not at all.” Let me explain what was going through my head. (And still is.)
Connecting on Facebook
For a long time I only connected with people I knew on Facebook. They are called friends, and I took that literal. The more I got into blogging, the more I started to realize that to increase website traffic I needed to get anyone and everyone on my site. So I started accepting friend requests from people that I didn’t personally know.
Then I eventually started a business page, and started collecting (I hate calling it that, but that’s what I am doing) “likes” based on the things that I write on. When I write on a new topic, I want to tag it and share that not only with my readers, but also my connections on Facebook.
(Update: I have recently hit 5,000 total connections on Facebook. That means that I have a total of 5,000 friends and business page likes total. I am still allowed to connect with more accounts; I just can’t tag anything new moving forward.)
So let’s get back to the numbers… this one is fickle. On the one hand, if you are using Facebook to just connect with friends, then leave it at that… connect with your friends and people you know personally. If you are trying to increase blog (or site) traffic, or to spread the word about an event or a cause, then add anyone and everyone you can. Well, at least until you reach 5,000 total connections.
Moving on to Twitter.
Connecting on Twitter
I have never understood the point of a private account. My girlfriend has a private account, where she can connect with friends and family. That becomes a text message, really. I don’t get it, but I won’t argue with her. So she would fall into the “only connect with friends” category.
Most of the people that use Twitter are trying to connect with other persons of interest. I could go on all day long about that, but let’s stay focused on the point of this post. If you are running a personal, or professional campaign on Twitter, and your profile is not private, then connect with ANYONE and EVERYONE that you can. It just makes sense to spread your message across more people. Of course, be smart about what you are sharing, but why I connect with anyone and everyone on Facebook is the same reason I connect with anyone and everyone on Twitter.
I will admit, I don’t follow everyone that follows me. The user has to provide value for me to follow them. But if the account is talking about things of interest, or are able to hold an intelligent conversation in 140 characters, then I am all for it. Let’s connect!
Long story short, don’t put a limit on the people you connect with on Twitter.
Connecting on LinkedIn
Now, let’s move on to the service that sparked this entire discussion and blog post response; LinkedIn. For those of you who do not use the service, LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows you to connect with people. It’s no different, on the surface, than any other social media solution. But let’s focus on the word “professional”.
This is one I am very strict on. If you don’t know the person (and by know the person, I mean personally and are on good terms with the individual) or have worked with them in a successful manner, don’t connect. It is WAY too easy to get hooked on this friend-collecting concept. It’s not always about how many people you are connected to, but the relationships you have with the people you are connected to.
I have actually had several discussions with people on this very network… some saying it’s a good place for leads, others saying that it’s a place to only connect with potential clients. I disagree. It’s a place to share your professional side and focus on the business that you work in… the industry you have expertise in.
Regardless of what social network you are using, just be smart about who you connect with. My goals are to increase blog traffic. Because of that, I connect with pretty much anyone, especially on Facebook and Twitter. I have fewer than 500 connections on LinkedIn, but I know each and every one of them. Those blog readers are genuine and will share my content with his or her networks.
Hopefully this makes sense… it was something that I just had to get off my chest! So how do you choose who to connect with on all these social sites?