The hidden motivations of LinkedIn invitations - Business Works
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The hidden motivations of LinkedIn invitations

by Anne Beitel, Marketing Director, Executives Online New research reveals that 66% of senior managers and executives who use LinkedIn will accept invitations to connect from people they've never met, based on the content of that person's profile and the potential of their network contacts. Our research looked at the online behaviour of professional people using LinkedIn and found that only 19% of executives limit the connections they accept to people they’ve actually met says Anne Beitel, Marketing Director at Executives Online.

We divided the respondents to its survey into recruiters and non-recruiters, revealing that 87% of professional recruiters connect with strangers on LinkedIn, compared with 63% of non-recruitment professionals. Interestingly, one fifth of non-recruiters limit the connections they accept to people they have actually met, while 60% of the same group extend invitation to connect to people they don't know. Similarly, six percent of recruiters limit their accepted connections to people they know, whereas a massive 80% invite strangers to connect. For 15% of executives, a meaningful virtual relationship is enough to motivate them to accept a LinkedIn invitation.

"This behaviour clearly demonstrates the power of social media in connecting people and expediently building virtual networks without the traditional networking constraints associated with meetings and getting to like and know someone well" says Anne. "Large quantity virtual networks are here to stay but they will not replace personal networks founded upon personal relationships and trust."

"The research suggests that there's a 'balance of power' in connecting on LinkedIn. Some connections are of equals: a supplier providing a service connecting with his customer, for example, whereas in others the balance of power is more skewed, with one party having influence or power that the other party wants to tap into, without necessarily being able to offer the same in return."

Contrary to popular perception, not everyone is using LinkedIn for recruitment purposes. According to our research, less than one percent of hiring managers from non-recruitment companies are using the platform for recruitment, while 40% of recruiters are using LinkedIn for recruitment purposes.

49% of senior managers and executives are using LinkedIn to look for a new role

On the other side of the coin, 49% of senior managers and executives are using LinkedIn to look for a new role; this splits down into 52% of non-recruiters and 21 percent of recruiters.

The research also shows that business etiquette changes when applied to social networking. More than three quarters (77%) of all senior managers and executives ignore unwanted invitation to connect via LinkedIn and only 13% write to explain why they have turned down an invitation.

Based on our research, we have put together the following advice for LinkedIn users:

  • Find a way to stand out: to maximise connections - raise and develop your online voice and offer something of value and interest to people watching you

  • Support your LinkedIn presence with real-world and / or online engagement: many people use their LinkedIn network like a wallet of business cards, only connecting with people they know, so don’t forget about face-to-face networking opportunities

  • Be aware that an accepted invitation won't necessarily lead to action: many people accept and invite connections on the basis that they look useful, so be prepared for nothing to happen quickly.

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