I’d like to add you to my professional network – really? You might, but I’m not so sure! What is the best way to get more LinkedIn connections and to then get value from them? Here’s some ideas on how to get more from LinkedIn, rather than just more contacts.

i'd like to add you to my professional network on linkedin - Do you to get more linkedin connections

Let’s start with those standard, boring, statements showing somebody has no interest in you. Maybe you get the other automated message, it’s even more frustrating and annoying. Lately I’ve had more people (that I don’t know), trying to get more LinkedIn connections by sending me LinkedIn connection requests which say:

Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn

These are from “people” that, supposedly, want to connect with me? 

Who should I connect to on LinkedIn

What is LinkedIn is useful for? It’s a great place to enrich, develop and grow your network; NOT a place to go round selling your services, certainly not a place to send spam emails. On that basis I want a broad network of people that I can usefully engage with – what about you, who do you connect to?  Let’s distinguish between:

  • Proactive connections: Those you search for and want to connect with as they will add value to your networking. These are definitely worth taking a second and writing more than “I’d like to add you to my professional network” in your connection message. Even if just to show you are bothered.
  • Reactive connections: Those that randomly appear on your screen as connection requests.

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How should I connect with people on LinkedIn, that I want to network with?

There are people I want to network with (maybe you). I attempt to add value to their networking and hope that they can do the same for me. I have identified them (that’s level 1 of the Excedia 5 level relationship model) and now want them to agree to connect with me. I can:

  • Send them a standard message “I’d like to add you to my professional network” – No, I don’t think so.
  • Write them a polite connection request, explaining why it’s relevant to connect. Much more likely to get a response
  • Engage them in some way before even asking to connect. A few of ways I might achieve this:
    • I may have already met them, so this is a follow up – in which case say where you met them
    • I may be in the same group as them, so I’d ensure I say this in the request
    • Endorse them (if you can). I don’t endorse people I don’t know. Click to read about how to profit from LinkedIn’s endorsements
    • Add to a discussion they’re participating in. They’re more likely to remember me and connect

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I’d like to add you to my professional network – My response.

How should I deal with connection requests from people I don’t know?

LinkedIn says to only connect with people you know well. To me, this is like saying go to a networking event and only speaking to people that you know well – it’s missing the point. Your response needs to be in line with your personal strategy for using Social Media (you have got one, right?).

  • If somebody has asked nicely and explained their request, I’ll very probably connect.
  • If somebody has sent me a bland statement and they look as if they maybe a good contact, I’ll connect.
  • If not – I ignore it. Key message: Don’t just send me a standard connection request if you want to connect, I think it’s disrespectful.

But that’s just my view, I’d love to know how you respond.

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access