How To Decline With Grace On Social Media
Like many people often do when they first start out on social media, I connected with anyone and everyone. I cheered each time I got a new Twitter or Facebook follower – and of course, I always followed him or her back. I accepted every LinkedIn invitation, no questions asked. The entire time I was naively thinking, “What could go wrong”? Well, for the most part, nothing went wrong. Luckily. As I gained more experience and began forming a business around social media, I learned the difference between connecting just for the sake of it and connecting with intent. The differences are huge. It helps to remember, whether we like it or not, that people judge us by the company we keep. This is as much the case on social media as it is in real life. Some people connect with only their friends and/or business colleagues through social media. Others connect for online games. Others connect for entirely different reasons altogether. Whatever your reasons may be for connecting, just know you never have to connect with everybody. Being selective when connecting does not make you a mean or snobby person. Being rude and/or inappropriate when declining an invitation does. Declining with grace on social media means – hopefully – that no one experiences hard feelings.
Be Professional: Reject real social media invitations with real responses
I have job-hunting friends who complain about the lack of any response to their applications from prospective employers. Most would rather hear, “Thanks, but no thanks,” instead of nothing at all. You may wish to consider this sentiment when declining an invitation from someone who does not meet your connection criteria. This is especially true when the person or organization approaches you professionally or may even be someone you know. However, do not worry about completely ignoring invitations from obvious “bots” or spammers. Start with a line of appreciation for the invitation. Then, write a brief paragraph stating why you are declining. Examples may be: (1) “I only connect with people I know in real life,” or (2) “My company policy prohibits me from connecting with competitors.” Whatever the reasons, keep them brief, to the point, and honest.
Be Observant: Social media posts say a lot about people
Sometimes we receive friend or follower requests from people we “meet” during social media conversations or other online interactions. There is nothing wrong with hesitating to accept their requests until you learn more about them. Be proactive and observe the way they engage (or do not engage) with others with whom they are “friends.” Their posts and conversations usually reflect how they are going to interact with you. Perhaps they rub others the wrong way or share opinions that sharply deviate from your own. On the other hand, they may be very positive people who share nice messages and great content. Either way, social media offers the opportunity to get to know people better. Most platforms provide ways to stay connected and still engage with one another even when you are not “friends.”
How do you feel about these suggestions for declining with grace on social media? Are there others you would add? I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave comments below or tweet me at @jennghanford anytime.
Sources: B2B Marketing: https://memarketingservices.com://www.b2bmarketing.net/blog/posts/2012/04/04/how-master-art-linkedin-rejections
Rx Communications: https://memarketingservices.com://www.rxcomms.com/newsletter/the-art-of-online-networking/