It’s not an unusual occurrence to receive a friend request on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn from people you don’t know and may not even have any mutual friends of yours. It can be a little confusing sometimes – who are they, how did they find you and why are they trying to connect with you? So what do you do? Do you accept this person? Here’s a couple of points to consider when a random request comes your way to help you decide if you accept or decline.
What do you use your social media for?
Of course, the use of LinkedIn is pretty obvious – a networking site for professionals. But Facebook can be used for a number of purposes. Some treat it as a professional tool, but for others, it’s simply to keep them connected with friends and family. So you should think about what it is you’re doing online. It could be another person who will see your brand that could potentially boost your business. But if you have a more personal profile, consider if you want this person to see your photos from the weekend or all the posts from the festival you went to last summer. They might even be able to see your current location if you tag yourself in the places you go to.
Fake profiles are everywhere. We often think of dating sites when we consider online catfishes, but they could affect your other forms of social media too! Use the information you can see from the profile requesting you to see if they are genuine. You can reverse search their profile image to see if it’s used elsewhere or you could check if that name can be found elsewhere. Remember, just because you might have common connections doesn’t guarantee they are the real deal.
Sometimes it’s best to just think about yourself. When looking at social media requests, you should ask yourself if this connection will benefit you. Will it help you professionally or personally? Do you want to see this person’s posts on your news feed? There’s no point connecting if you have no interest in the person or what they post about. But if you feel this person could bring something valuable to you then maybe you should.
When you’re dealing with a request on LinkedIn, look at the information you can see on their profile. If they don’t have any company information on their profile or their field of work is wildly different to your own. They are probably not a useful connection for you to have.
The other side
So what if you are sending the friend request? How do you make sure people accept you so you can begin the mutual connection? Leaving a note can be extremely helpful. Let them know if a friend or colleague referred you or if you just noticed you both have a similar interest or line of work. This way people know you made a purposeful decision, and it isn’t only a random request. Also, consider that is sometimes better to simply follow a person’s content rather than sending a full friend request.
These are just a few things to consider when it comes to random requests, both sending and receiving. Hopefully, it helps you expand your circle in the right way. Whatever happens, make sure you stay safe and never give out too much information to strangers.