It’s always been social media fashionable to have a lot of followers/contacts/friends. When the whole wave started growing, everyone wanted to connect with everyone else. LinkedIn was almost a race. It was a status symbol for “500+ Connections” to be displayed on someone’s profile page. “Now THAT person is important!” A few years later the secret was out: Many of those people didn’t really KNOW all of their connections. In fact, some even BOUGHT their connections just so they could say they hit the magic number. Suddenly the credibility of the followers, contacts and friends came into question.
Requests to connect come to my inbox every day, some from people I know and some whom I’ve never met. In either case, I always pause and ask: “Why me?” Why does this person want to connect and is it consistent with the explanation I’d love to hear: “I need your help. Not with your product or service, but with insight about how to improve my own situation. If your assistance is beneficial beyond my expectations, you will have earned my trust.”
That trust is worth far more down the road than a sales transaction today.