You’ve read about how to improve your LinkedIn reach and engagement, but getting in front of the ultimate decision makers is easier said than done. Is there a process that cuts through the noise and the annoying sales tactics to ensure that my connection requests on LinkedIn are accepted? Today we’ll be revealing that exact process to you and five steps to grow your LinkedIn network.

Why LinkedIn Connections are Important

In order for this process to work, you need to know exactly what your goals are and who your ideal target audience is. This strategy works for potential customers, partners, influencers in your industry, and really anyone you wanna build a win-win business relationship with.

And we want you to think of this, not just for potential prospects. Because at the end of the day, the more people you’re connected to on LinkedIn, the more sales opportunities you have, especially with influential people in any industry. 

Step 1: Engagement

A lot of people send cold connection requests, but the strategy actually lies in the prep work and what you need to do before you actually send any connection requests, starting with engagement. You wanna make sure you are engaging with these people, leaving comments on their posts, liking their posts, engaging with their comments left on other posts. You want to make sure that you are engaging with recent content. Let’s say that one of your prospects has not posted in two months, it’s going to be a little awkward if you go and you start engaging with their old content. If this individual doesn’t post content, look to see if they are commenting on people’s stuff. And you can see this by looking at their activity section.

As a last resort, you can engage with the company content and use that in your outreach messaging, which we’ll get to in a bit. You wanna make sure that you are leaving meaningful comments, so saying “great post,” isn’t going to cut it. The definition of a “meaningful” comment is subjective. So, a general rule of thumb is to make it at least three lines on desktop. You also want to acknowledge the value you found in the post because when you reach out to them, that is also going to boost up their ego a little bit because you appreciated their content.

Step 2: Sending a Connection Request

So after you’ve engaged with one to three posts or comments, you wanna wait three to four days before sending that connection request. Because what we are doing here is we are building familiarity with these individuals. So by the time you show up in their LinkedIn inbox, they are already familiar with your face and your name because they saw you engaging with their content. Not only that, but they’re appreciative because each time you engage with someone’s content, it helps them by boosting up their posts in the algorithm, because engagement is key.

Step 3: LinkedIn Message Formula for Connections

The hardest part of this entire strategy is knowing what to say when you send that connection request. Let’s go over a few ideas to get you started.

#1. Content You’ve Engaged With

The first and most popular one is mentioning the individual’s content, and preferably content that you already engaged with. “Hey (first name), I really enjoyed your post about XYZ,” Then maybe put a sentence about why you liked it and ask if they’re open to connecting.

#2. Activities on LinkedIn

What do you do if this individual isn’t posting content on LinkedIn? Look at their activity section and see where they are commenting and where they are liking, and then you can address that in the connection message. “Hey (first name), I noticed that you liked Joe Smith’s post on XYZ, I also found it very valuable. Would love to connect if you’re open to it!”

#3. Following

You can also do this for people that they follow. “Hey first name, I noticed that you’re following Susie Smith. I also follow Susie and I love her content. I’m always looking to connect with like-minded professionals on LinkedIn, are you open to connecting?” 

#4. Tags

Maybe someone tagged you in a post and then tagged someone else alongside you that could be a prospective client. You can bring that up, or you can mention the fact that you saw them tagged in someone else’s content. Whenever you can tie in someone else’s name in your connection requests, that is also going to increase your chances of getting your connection accepted because it’s familiarity you’re putting out there.

#5. Activities Outside of LinkedIn

Also think outside of LinkedIn. Did you hear this individual on a podcast? Or see that they were at an event? Perhaps mentioned in a blog or a news article? 

#6. Company News

If all else fails, you can go and apply company news to this message. What has happened recently in the company, if they were acquired, won a certain award, or hit a certain milestone.  When people start a new role, that is also a really good opportunity for you to send that connection request message, and congratulate them on that next step in their career. That still personalises a connection request because at the end of the day, you’re trying to prove to them that you took the time to send them a custom connection request, and that you’re not just another not that’s trying to spam people on LinkedIn.

#6. Audio/Video Messages

If you really wanna stand out, try sending an audio message or a video message, and you can do this inside LinkedIn’s mobile app. So simply go to the message thread, hold down the microphone and leave a message. Audio messages are very powerful because it allows the person to hear your voice, which again, breeds familiarity and they feel like they know you more. This is the same for video as well, which you can also do inside LinkedIn mobile app. 

So we crafted these messages so that you don’t appear salesy or spammy, but you also need to consider LinkedIn’s very own spam filters. If you’re paying for LinkedIn, LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator, you are going to be able to send more connection requests to people versus if you were using the free version of LinkedIn. With that said, you were going to be 100% safe if you stay under 50 connection requests per day. 

Step 4: Thank You Message

After someone accepts your connection request, you want to send them a thank you message. And you wanna do this as soon as you can. The key here is personalising this message. So mention something again about their profile, about their content, thank them for connecting with you, and then mention how you can provide value to their company. End it with a call to action to contact you at any time if you can be a value. When you frame it this way, it’s coming more from a place of value and less of a pitch. 

Step 5: Follow Up

So what happens if someone accepts your connection requests, you send a thank you message and nothing happens? Give it about five to seven days. Don’t get discouraged if you’re using this process and no one is responding to your thank you message. Sometimes you have to be consistent, and you have to follow up. When you’re following up it’s helpful to use one of the examples mentioned earlier. Whether it is bringing up an article that you saw them in, or one of their recent posts that you enjoyed. Or try switching up the format of your message and send them an audio message or a video message.

If you still don’t get a response after several attempts, you can then find their email address and email them, and mention that you connected with them on LinkedIn in the subject line. If they’re still not following up, it might be because your profile isn’t optimised. So stay tuned to discover how to optimise your profile to stand out, and create a content strategy that generates results on LinkedIn.