Not talking to strangers is a very useful piece of advice given when growing up, but when it comes to LinkedIn there are many potential advantages to connecting with strangers. Not everyone is convinced that connecting with unknowns is beneficial however, and so this article is here to explain the reasons why it is a good idea, with information on how to make friends with strangers on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site aimed at job-seeking and recruiting, which allows people who know each other (such as professional acquaintances, friends, business colleagues and industry experts) to get connected and build up professional contact circles, and also to search for companies, jobs, and look at network statistics.
Having said this, it is still possible to get connected with people that you do not know on LinkedIn, with many people sending and receiving connection requests to and from total strangers. So why should this be advantageous, and when is this advantageous?
Why connect with strangers?
As a general rule, you are always increasing the potential for new professional prospects when you increase and expand your connections. After all, meeting strangers is a very important part of life, and to reap the benefits but at the same time avoid the pitfalls, all you need is your head screwed on. Connecting with strangers on LinkedIn thus gives you the chance to meet new clients, expand your visibility and open up new opportunities. This is especially the case if you are looking for information or trying to find a relevant contact for a job listing.
How to Identify the right strangers on Linkedin
One of the most proficient ways to hook up with strangers on Linkedin is by joining professional groups. Actively participating in groups in your professional niche, or related niches, means you are more likely to be noticed and also, accepted when you try and make a connection with strangers. Group participants and members are more likely to embrace fellow members.
Despite what has just been said, when you receive invitations from strangers on LinkedIn make sure you use your brain before you accept them. Search their profile to see if they could provide you with new opportunities. If the invitation has not made completely clear the nature and the reason, then you can use the reply (don’t accept yet) button to question their reasons and motives. If they have little on their profile then don’t be surprised if your questions go unanswered, but conversely the legitimate invitations give you the chance to meet some very opportune and interesting new contacts.
To conclude, it is easy to see why making friends with strangers can be such an advantage if we use the analogy of a networking event. If you turned up and refused to speak to anyone new, then you are limiting your opportunities, whereas if you do talk to new people and let strangers approach you then you are maximising your opportunities – and as long as you are careful and sensible this practise will work just as well with LinkedIn.