Proactively Developing New Connections on LinkedIn

Remember that terrific, brand new LinkedIn profile we discussed recently?

Yeah, that one!

Well, we’re going to go into some more depth about what to do with it.

We said there are three things that you can do with it to increase others’ awareness of it.  There are:

  1. Proactively develop new, relevant connections on LinkedIn
  2. Publish content on Linkedin
  3. Participate in LinkedIn Groups

In this article, I’m going to discuss the first item, proactively develop new, relevant connections on LinkedIn, in more detail.

Any social network, whether LinkedIn or another, has several characteristics for it to be successful.

First, the network should be current.  That is, reflect your up to date professional or personal circumstances.

Next, the network should be growing continually.

Finally, a network should be diverse.

For LinkedIn, being diverse means covering multiple industries, going deep in a limited number of these industries, including people at all levels of organizational structure as well as years of experience, and being geographically distributed.

There are three major groups of connections that a network should have.

First, there are influencers.  Note that I used a small “i” here.  I’m not talking about LinkedIn’s Influencers (If Bill Gates or Jack Welch are among your first degree connections, great for you, most of us aren’t that lucky.) but the key opinion leaders in your industry or area of expertise.

Second, there are subject matter experts (SMEs).  These are the deep knowledge people with the necessary experience that make them the “go to” people for anyone with a question or a problem.

Third, there are potential employers or clients.

Note one thing here!

I deliberately didn’t use friends, family, or colleagues as groups.  All these are included in the three groups  I’ve listed above.  This is how you have to look at your connections on LinkedIn.  (OK, I know you’ve only connected with your brother-in-law because he’s family and doesn’t fit in any of these groups by any stretch but you get my point!)

Developing new connections on LinkedIn requires an approach.

This approach should be disciplined (i.e., daily checklist) and have time set aside regularly for it.

An approach for developing new connections on LinkedIn should also have metrics.  If you don’t have a target to aim for then you’ll never know how’re you’re doing.

These are the principle steps in proactively developing new connections on LinkedIn:

  1. Identify the people who feel you need to connect with
  2. If they’re already first degree connections then continue to engage with them (I know what you’re thinking, “They’re already connections, why bother?’ The reason is that you don’t want to lose contact with the ones you already have!)
  3. If your targets are second degree connections then either connect with them if you feel you have a basis or ask your mutual first degree connection for an introduction
  4. For those targets who aren’t either first or second degree connections begin to engage with them by liking or sharing their content, comment on their content, or join the LinkedIn Groups, if appropriate for you, that they belong to and participate.  (I’ll discuss LinkedIn Groups more in a future article.)

Remember when you engage with others on LinkedIn to be genuine, add value, and don’t overdo it!  (If you don’t understand this last point then I strongly recommend that you engage my services!)

You should also be adding your own content regularly and commenting and engaging in general even if you don’t wish to connect with the individuals.

One last point here, LinkedIn allows users a lifetime limit of 3,000 requests for connections.

Use them wisely!  They go quickly!

I recommend starting small with modest goals.

Have a written plan to achieve these goals and don’t be afraid to revise your plan as you go along!

If you need help then don’t be shy about asking for it!

I’m always willing to help you out with your social media program!

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.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!


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