digital and social media | July 02, 2013

Who Should You Add To LinkedIn? Alexandra Samuel Has The Answer

Deciding who to add to your LinkedIn network can be tricky. Alexandra Samuel, a digital media speaker and Vice President of Social Media at Vision Critical, gets asked for pointers on this all the time. Should you only extend invitations to people you've met in person? Do you want to amass as many connections as possible, or, is it more beneficial to be selective? Now that the site's added new features to make connecting even easier, knowing how to answer these questions will be increasingly important.

Samuel suggests imparting the "favor test" on potential connections in her new Harvard Business Review post. (The subject was so popular that it was also picked up by Fast Company and Bloomberg). The next time you're wondering whether someone's a good fit for your network, ask yourself if you would do a favor for this person. Would they do one for you? If the answer is yes, connect away. If the answer is no, Samuel suggests you reconsider accepting or extending that particular request.

So, what constitutes a favor, exactly? "A favor isn't constrained to an introduction," Samuel notes, "other kinds of requests come into play on LinkedIn: Would you support my charity? Will you attend my conference? Can you review my book?" You don't want to add everyone, but you don't have to be overly cutthroat in your dismissal, either. "It's the people you'd go out of your way to help or whom you trust to go out of their way to help you, however modestly, who pass the favor test," Samuel clarifies. In posts like this one, Samuel helps takes the guesswork out of social media. She provides accessible advice in her writing and her keynotes that show you how to love your life online, and how to use digital tools to engage professionally and personally with others around you.

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