Let's start with LinkedIn. No matter how well you know someone, it's impersonal to just use the stock invitation, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Adding a bit of personalization is always a classy touch. Even something as simple as, "It was fun running into you this morning. Let's connect here," shows that you're thinking of them as a person rather than just as a connection.
Personalization is especially important if the person doesn't know you. It's a good idea to let that person know why you want to connect with them. "Hi, Joe. We both belong to the Social Media Mavens group, and I liked your response to... I've been reading your blog, and I like... I'd like to connect with you here now. You never know when our connection might become useful."
Few people would receive the preceding request and not accept. You have stated how that person came onto your radar, expressed interest in their work, and gave them a reason to connect with you.
On the other hand, if you receive a LinkedIn connection request from a stranger, you don't have to just archive it or accept it blindly. You might want to message the person something simple like, "I received your connection request, but please forgive my faded memory. I can't remember how we know each other." This provides the person with an opportunity to clarify the connection request. You can then accept or archive the request with better judgment.
It's also a good idea to handle Facebook friend requests similarly. Since Facebook is a "finding ground" for old friends and acquaintances, it's especially important to remind your new/old friend of your connection. Even something as simple as this works, "Hi, Lisa. Remember me from _____ High School? We were in Algebra 2 together. I'd love to reconnect and know what you're up to these days."
Facebook makes it more difficult to clarify a connection request from a supposed stranger however, because by messaging someone, you allow them access to some of your personal profile information for 30-days. That may make you uncomfortable enough to just ignore the friend request. On the bright side though, once you ignore a friend request, that person has the opportunity to send a new friend request, and perhaps this time, they'll send you a message to let you know who they are and why they want to connect.
Not everybody remembers everyone they ever encountered, so if you want the best possible chance of having your social media connection request accepted, make sure you refresh one's memory or give them a reason to get to know you now.
by: Christine Pilch
My LinkedIn Profile