Making Connections without a Direct Relationship in LinkedIn

Recently, LinkedIn, in its infinite wisdom, decided to drop the ability for members of a group to freely connect with one another even if they had no prior direct connection.

This was a useful feature.

Groups were moderated to screen members or members understood coming in that other members might try to connect with them.  (After all, they could always decline couldn’t they?)

This was yet another example of a sudden unannounced change by LinkedIn which affects its members.  (I feel secure in saying “unannounced” because I’ve discussed this with enough folks in the business who follow this closely and they were all surprised too.)

I won’t spend too much ink decrying LinkedIn’s customer service model (I’ve already blogged about another of their anomalies previously.)

The fact that many users won’t realize that there has been a change until they go to use that feature, maybe in a rush, and find that it’s no longer there seems to be a problem only to social media advisers like myself.

As many users of LinkedIn say, myself included, if we can only connect with people we already know what do we need LinkedIn for?

True, successful networking involves stepping out of our zone of comfort and engaging with people of similar interests whom we don’t know already.

Yes, an introduction helps and is highly desirable but not always possible.

And, yes, LinkedIn’s Terms of Service (ToS) say we should only connect with people we know.

I argue that we “know” many people through diverse professional services, we just haven’t met them yet.

Groups supplied that need nicely allowing for the self-vetting that is a strength of LinkedIn to be extended to a broader audience.

No, I’m not advocating for a free-for-all where anyone can connect with anyone but we need something better than what we’ve been left with by LinkedIn.

So, griping over and I have no idea why LinkedIn dropped this very useful feature!

Now, what to do about it?

To that end, I’ve been researching the topic and came across two good workarounds from two respected LinkedIn gurus.

First, Brynne Tillman of Social Sales Link has written about she calls LinkedIn’s “backdoor” to make connections where there is no relationship.

Her article can be found here.

Then, Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media  has one of her ninja tricks to demonstrate how Groups can be still be used to connect with someone you don’t have a relationship with.

The link to Melonie’s page can be found here.  She also recaps Brynne’s workaround as well.

Both are good workarounds and I encourage you to try them.  Who knows how long they may last?

All I ask is connect responsibly!

Don’t spam everyone in LinkedIn and always lead with a professional, justified, and courteous request to connect.

Finally, if you come across any other ways to make up for the loss of the Groups connect capability then please send them to me and I’ll ensure that they get promoted and you get the credit!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

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My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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