This morning I received another invitation to connect on LinkedIn with the default ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network’ message. When I receive these default invitations I’m left thinking, why does this person want to connect? Are they just trying to increase the number of their connections? Are they a competitor and do they just want access to my connections?
Normally I just ignore these messages because I choose not to connect with people I don’t know, haven’t met and who don’t bother to personalise their invitation and let me know why they would like to connect with me. However on one recent occasion after persistently receiving repeated default invitations from the same person, (who should have known better as her headline says that she is a social media consultant), I finally, and reluctantly hit the I Don’t Know option. When you click on the Ignore button underneath the invitation you are given further options:
More options: I Don’t Know (person’s name) or Report as Spam.
So what happens when you click I Don’t Know (IDK) on someone’s invitation to connect? LinkedIn tracks those and may restrict the user’s account. The LinkedIn User Agreement states that they:
“ have the right to restrict, suspend or close your account if warranted.” The most common reason for a restriction is sending too many invitations to people you don’t know. A restriction is automatically triggered if too many invitations are:
Declined with the I don’t know response.
Flagged as Spam.
If you take a few moments to personalise a message telling the person why you’d like to connect there’s less chance that they will IDK you, even if you haven’t met. Incidentally, LinkedIn’s User Agreement in their Do’s and Don’ts section specifically tells you:
Don’t undertake the following: Invite people you do not know to join your network;
Imagine you’re at a business networking event and someone comes up to you, hands you their business card and walks away without saying anything. What would you think? It’s rude and there’s no effort being made towards establishing any kind of relationship. Sending the default invitation on LinkedIn can have the same effect.
Finally, a word of caution, if you’ve downloaded the LinkedIn app to your smartphone don’t send invitations from there as you do not get the opportunity to personalise it.