So much social media, so little time.

LinkedIn is supposed to be the place to begin conversations and begin relationships. That’s why it’s called a “social network.” But many salespeople don’t use it to socialize; they use it for prospecting (translation: annoying strangers with unsolicited sales pitches).

I’m seriously considering only accepting invitations from people who’ve sent me a genuine, personal invitation—people who’ve explained why they want to connect with me and attempt to start an actual conversation. That excludes generic messages like the following real-life examples:

  • I noticed we have some shared connections. After viewing your profile, I thought we could benefit from being connected.
  • You have outstanding expertise and credentials, and I’d value your connection.
  • I saw we have a few connections in common and that you work in the sales space. I’d love to connect with you and see your posts on my feed!
  • Joanne, I just came across your profile and was interested in learning more about what you do! I’d also like to introduce you to my network and add value any way I can. Let me know when would be a good time to have a quick chat?
  • This is Sam. I came across your profile and I have to say that I was impressed with what you’ve accomplished in recent years! I would love the chance to contact you here.

These messages take slightly more effort than using the default LinkedIn invitation copy, but it’s all boilerplate stuff that just screams, “The next message you receive from me will be a sales pitch.”

Some salespeople don’t even bother copying and pasting a generic greeting. They hit you with the pitch in the invitation request. Here are a couple “gems” I’ve received:

  • Dear Joanne, I would love to connect with you. I help businesses like yours scale to 7 figures and more while leaving a legacy by creating monetizable content. Are you interested to find out more? Let’s connect.
  • Hi Joanne! LinkedIn suggests you as a contact, probably because we have some connections in common. May I add you to my network to present you with our “Company Name” solution?

None of these messages tell me why I should accept the invitation. Sure, I could click through to each person’s profile to find out who they are and whether they would be valuable connections for me. But I don’t have time for that. I’m not arrogant, I’m working on balancing my time. I’ll make time to connect with people who start a conversation, but that’s not happening often enough.

If you want to connect with me, introduce yourself, tell me why you’re reaching out, and get the conversation started. Then I’m happy to keep it going.

What about you? What is your policy for accepting LinkedIn Invitations? What gets your attention, and what makes you hit “decline”? Please comment here and let’s begin a conversation.