To accept the new social network friend, or not. THAT is the question!

To accept the new social network friend, or not. THAT is the question!

I don’t know about you but these days I’m finding there is no getting away from an increasing number of requests from people wanting to connect to me on my various social networks when I have absolutely no idea who they are.

Knowing whether to accept a new connection on social media networks is something I admit I’ve taken some time to get my head around, and from speaking with many business people I know it is an area they also often struggle with too. So I thought a blog post on the subject was well overdue!

Personally, I prefer to keep some level of control over who I connect with on social networks, that is I don’t, and won’t, connect with just ANYONE. My general criteria is as follows:

1) I know their name and face immediately — we’ve spent time together at some stage of our lives, or at least met in person once (in which case I would generally connect to them) and I genuinely would like to keep in touch with them.

2) We have an OBVIOUS or POTENTIAL business or personal synergy — that is they have explained to me via a personalised message when requesting to connect with me who they are and their reason for wanting to connect which makes complete sense to me.

The reason I have adopted a policy of this nature is that I realise if I don’t, I run the risk of amassing a huge social network of people I may never communicate with, and who may end up spamming me with material I am not at all interested in. When it comes to social media, I’m much more into quality than quantity.

Now I’m not saying my way is the right way or the only way by any means. The social media experience can and should by shaped by the person using it, to suit their personality, and their personal and business needs and objectives.

There are plenty of people out there who will actively accept ALL new contacts in the HOPE that these will transpire over time into quality contacts, but for me that is all a bit hit and miss and quite frankly exhausting. I’d rather build a relationship with someone first, and when I know and trust them, THEN let them into my social network as a known and trusted quantity. Yes I am saying I know each and every one of my 1000+ Facebook friends!!

There are others on the social networks who will actively go out and ‘recruit’ new followers, connections and friends and who aren’t too fussy about who they are, where they are or what they do. Social media can eat up hours of your working week if you let it, and connecting with too many of the wrong types of people can take up a large part of this if you let it.

Each network is different and your strategy as to who you will, and won’t let into that particular network, should be considered.

Here’s my personal strategy for each of the main networks I operate within which I hope may get you thinking about how you currently connect with people on social networks and to consider whether a new approach is needed:

My Linkedin Profile policy? Restricted.

Generally I will only accept Linkedin connection requests if I know the person i.e. I have met them before and if there is an obvious or potential business synergy. This is a business network after all!

Linkedin is essentially a social network for professionals and runs on the theory of six degrees of separation. Based on this I will only connect to business people I know, or those who have an obvious or potential synergy with. Otherwise I send them along to my company Facebook page or Twitter profile (see the templates below for my polite response which you may find useful to copy for your own purposes).

So include a personalised message in your next Linkedin connection request to me okay?

My Facebook Profile policy? Restricted.

Generally I will only accept Facebook friend requests if I know them i.e. met them before. I then add them to lists and customise settings restricting what they can see and do on my profile, depending who they are.

It really depends what sort of person you are and what sort of stuff you tend to post on your Facebook profile as to who you accept as a friend. Personally I have kids, I crack jokes, and occasionally I’ll mention business stuff too (though I try to not do it too often, as a large amount of my friends on my Facebook Profile are personal friends that I’ve amassed from years of travelling, many of whom live all over the globe and who are really not interested in my next business event or business deal).

It is important to note that even when you have accepted people as friends of your Facebook profile, you can significantly customise what they see once they are on your ‘inner circle’ by creating lists and customizing the settings. Come along to one of our social media events if you want to learn how to do this! If you don’t want to let them into your ‘inner circle’, send them along to your company Facebook page or Twitter profile (see the templates below for my polite response which you may find useful to copy for your own purposes).

So make sure you let me know how we met if you want me to accept you into my Facebook friends okay?

My Company Facebook Page policy? Wide open!

People ‘like’ your Facebook page, which is what you should use to promote your business of their own free will. They can also stop ‘liking’ and therefore receiving your news feeds/updates at any time. This is where I post on the whole business information. By ‘liking’ us they are accepting to receive this sort of information’.

If however someone began spamming our page, that is posting to it without our permission, we may take action by removing their post, and sending them a private message asking them to refrain from doing so in the future.

Note — it is always best to ask the person to post your message on your behalf, unless you have an excellent relationship with the business in question and you know they would not mind you posting something which is highly relevant to their audience.

Like away baby:

Twitter – MY POLICY? Wide open!

People ‘follow’ your Twitter profile which you may use as an individual or a business. Some people have a profile for both. They can also stop ‘following’ you and therefore receiving your status updates or ‘tweets’ at any time. This is where I post a mixture of business information, much of it including a link with more information, or where I communicate openly with people on Twitter I follow or who follow me. The more followers you have, and the more interactions you are having with your followers on Twitter, the better.

Follow us to your hearts

Useful social media templates to decline friend requests and linkedin connections

Here are some of the templates I use to politely turn people down that I am not sure about connecting with. Please feel free to amend these to suit you. I encourage you to save them as a word doc on your desktop or somewhere easily accessible so you can quickly copy and paste a response to people where appropriate and therefore keep on top of the inboxes of your social networks!

SCENARIO 1 — Response to people who try and connect with you via a friend request on Facebook, and you have no idea who they are:

Hi there

Thanks for the friend request! I’m afraid your face and name are not familiar to me and I have a strict policy of only friending people on Facebook I know. If we have met, I’d appreciate it if you could jog my memory of how we know each other.

Alternatively you may like to connect to me by following either one of my company pages: or or over on Twitter: where I have a much more ‘open’ policy.

I look forward to staying in touch.


SCENARIO 2 – Response to people who try and connect with you via Linkedin, and you have no idea who they are and upon checking out their profile can see no obvious or potential business synergy:

Hi there

Thanks for the connection request. I pride myself on only connecting to people I either know or those who I have an immediate or potential synergy with. Could you explain how we know each other or your reason for requesting to connect?

Alternatively you may like to connect on twitter or my facebook page I have a much more open policy on these. 🙂



SCENARIO 3: (and my pet hate) — Response to people who try and connect with you via a friend request, using a Facebook profile for a business name i.e. they send you a ‘friend request’ yet they feature a business name i.e. ACME Company (BTW I regularly pick up clients through this!)

Hi there

Thanks for the friend request! I hope you don’t mind me saying but I noticed that you are set up as a Profile rather than a Business Page and by the look of your name you really should have a business page.

Facebook’s rules forbid the use of personal profiles for business use and they can and will shut your account down if this is detected — I’ve seen it happen! And I’m sure you’d hate to lose all the contacts you are amassing in one hit. Move them on over to a page now!

Given my company teaches people social media regularly through live events, webinars and in one on one consults, I encourage you to set up a Business Page immediately, and then send me a new invite to like you on there which I’d be more than happy to do.

If you’d like to learn more about this and more on how to really get Facebook or other social media networks working for you, check out our extensive list of upcoming training:

We have several events coming up soon which may be helpful to you.

Alternatively feel free to call my office on 07 545 11315 during working hours and speak to any of my highly trained team.

I also encourage you to follow either one of my company pages: or

I look forward to staying in touch.


What is your personal social media policy when it comes to receiving connection requests and friend requests?

Let them all in or be discerning?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog post and your approach to social media in the comments section below….

Also was this blog post helpful? Why?