Of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn often throws up the most debate.

In one camp you have people who think you should only connect with people you have met face-to-face.

In the other, you have those who want to make as many connections as possible.

So, what’s right?! Well, there’s certainly no ‘right or wrong’ on any social media platform. They are user-generated content platforms and so it really is up to the user how they use them. But I thought I’d let you know my take.

LinkedIn is about exactly that – linking in with people. Surely if you only connect with people you have already met then you are already ‘linked in’ with them? I agree that LinkedIn can help you to expand on these relationships, but it certainly limits its potential.

Instead I like to see LinkedIn as a platform that lets me connects with hundreds of people, many of who may well be my target market. It is an easier way to make yourself known to your target than trying to get through the gatekeeper on a cold call. It can also help you open relationships with new contacts that you could both of benefit to.

But the key is this. If you are connecting with people on LinkedIn who you have never met face-to-face, do not use the generic LinkedIn connection test ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network’. Tell them why you’d like to connect with them, show that you have read their profile, ask them questions, or even be direct and ask for 10 minutes of their time, but explain why you want that time. Be open and honest. Most people will be happy to connect on this basis.

Let me know how you like to link in!!