One of the most asked questions by people just developing their social media strategy, is “Should I connect with everyone who asks?” The truth is that there is no one size fits all answer. With time and a strategy everyone develops their own system.
My own system varies with the platform. On Twitter I will connect with almost everyone. I use lists to try and maintain a productive stream, but as long as you don’t post spam or only self promoting garbage, you have a complete profile and you post on a reasonably regular basis if you follow me, I will probably follow you back.
On Facebook, I employ a different system. On my personal profile, I will like your page if it fits into my interests, but I will not friend you unless we really are friends or at least have a real connection. On occasion to work within the quirks of Facebook tagging I will friend someone in order to share their info, idea or photo and give credit where someone can connect with them as well. On my business page, I will like your page if I think we will both benefit from being connected. I am not about the numbers, I am about the quality of the connections. Additionally, using my business page, I will seek out brands who’s information interests me, or where I think we might be able to help each other and I will connect. Obviously, if I am making the connection through a Fan Page Party, I do follow the etiquette, and like your page using my personal profile. When I do this, I will generally leave a message on your wall and, if from what I have seen, I think that you will find our posts to be helpful, I will tag my page so that it is easy for you to find us in return.
LinkedIn is a different story, if I do not know you, you need to have a compelling reason for me to connect with you and you need to communicate that when you send me the request to connect. But feel free to follow our company page, where we share information on a regular basis.
As for Google +, that is an evolving effort. I am more open to connecting, but I admit, as little personal information as I share on Facebook, even on my personal profile, I share even less on Google+. I will add people to my circles however, that I do not know, but I review the members of my circles once a week and I am careful that everyone is in the right place. Again, as I do not share personal information, I am much more open to connecting.
You need to look at your goals for using social media and create your own strategy, but no matter what strategy you employ, make sure that you are creating connections, not gathering numbers.