I joined LinkedIn around 2013 without any clue about leveraging the platform effectively. Back then, my LinkedIn game was horrible. At the time, most of my friends hadn’t even heard of it so I was left to learn on my own through serious trial and error. I made a lot of blunders in those early days of trying to figure out the platform but, thankfully, my game has become much stronger over the years. I noticed significant improvement once I learned the key to network growth and success would be in sending a great LinkedIn connection message.

During the initial learning period, I spent a lot of time attending webinars and reading tutorials to learn the features of LinkedIn and familiarize myself with the platform-specific functionality. However, when it came to general interactions and engagement with people, much of my learning came from observing and modeling others.

Since I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, I simply connected with everyone and anyone that I found. In hindsight, this was one of the worst mistakes I could have made because I picked up some really bad habits and practices by trying to mimic the behaviors of those I encountered. I rationalized it as, “Well, I don’t know what to do here so I’ll look and see what others are doing,” assuming they had the game figured out. As it turned out, many of them were probably just as clueless.

Identifying Poor and Ineffective Behaviors

As mentioned above, my first bad habit was firing off connection requests to any person I came across without doing a single bit of research to vet the individual and gauge whether the connection made sense. I thought that I should connect with everyone and so I did. But all that brought was a large network of people that I knew nothing about.

The second bad practice I picked up was bombing the inboxes of recent connections with long ugly messages talking about how fantastic I (thought I) was. You know the type; the messages that are part bio, part sales letter, and complete unsolicited nonsense.

That’s right. In those earlier days, I was that guy. I could say that I didn’t know any better because the truth is that I didn’t, but I take responsibility for my actions. I didn’t know what I was doing, and it showed.

To call those behaviors bad or wrong is a moot point.

The behaviors were ineffective for me and my individual style. I found out they are also deal-breakers if you have any hope of building a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship with the other person.

Implement Better Behaviors that Foster Relationships

Thankfully, I was able to learn and adopt better ways of communicating online and all it really took was a few minor adjustments. I started focusing on the quality of the relationships I was building on LinkedIn instead of the quantity.

Another important shift came when I started viewing online relationships through the same lens as personal relationships. Just as I would make a conscious effort for a genuine connection in real life, I should make every effort to ensure online interactions mirrored those face-to-face interactions. For example, when I meet someone in-person at a networking event or through a friend, I greet the individual with a kind smile, handshake, and a warm introduction. I realized that online relationships should receive the same level of care and attention.

Once this came to my awareness, I took the steps to adjust how I connected with people. That’s when I noticed my LinkedIn experience really began to flourish. It all started with sending a great LinkedIn connection message and giving space for the flow of normal communication to occur.

If you want to level up your connection game, then use the tips provided below. I’ll coach you in sending a genuine LinkedIn connection message that will help you attract the right people into your network.

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to connecting with people on LinkedIn, focus on finding the right quality connections that will add value to your network. Use the advanced search filters to find potential candidates. You can filter people by job title, industry, professional interests, past work experience, and so much more.

Once you find someone who has potential, click the icon to view their profile. Spend a few minutes reviewing their profile to make sure it’s a good fit. This will either reinforce your initial thought or might reveal reasons why the person may not be a good fit to add to your network.

While reviewing the person’s profile, consider the following questions:

Could this person add value to your network and social experience?

Can you add value to this person’s network and social experience?

How can this connection be mutually beneficial, now or in the future?

Make sure you’re creating an enriching digital environment. Don’t be someone who sends out a hundred requests a day and then never engages. Sure, it will take a little extra time and effort on your part, but this is how to build a solid network. Focus on quality over quantity.

Send a Personalized LinkedIn Connection Message

When you send an initial connection request on LinkedIn, you’re given two options.

Option One: Sends the default LinkedIn connection message. The message comes from LinkedIn and says something basic like “{First name} wants to connect with you. Do you accept?” This is very generic and impersonal.

Option Two: Allows you to send a personalized LinkedIn connection message (or a note) along with the invitation. You can say whatever you like to make the invitation more personable and inviting. There is a character count, but the space is sufficient to write a nice message.

Sending a personalized LinkedIn connection message is the real-life equivalent of walking up to someone at a networking event, extending your hand, and confidently saying, “Hello, my name is {your name} and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

You wouldn’t just walk up to someone, hand them your business card, and then walk away without saying a word, would you? Likewise, you wouldn’t just walk up to a person, take a card from their hand, and walk away without a word either.

Sending a personalized message along with your invitation shows that you’re interested in a real connection because you took the time to extend a genuine courtesy. It’s a good way to make a great first impression. That’s what you want if you’re trying to build long-lasting relationships.

Follow Your LinkedIn Connection Message with a Thank-You Note

You already baked a nice welcoming cake, so make sure you put the icing on top. Don’t leave the person hanging after they accept your connection request. Send a quick note expressing gratitude for having your invitation accepted.

This alone will separate the professionals from the amateurs because few actually do this – and even fewer do it well. I can’t tell you how many times a person has responded with complete surprise having received this genuine message of appreciation. I’m proud to say that I do this with every new person that I connect with, and if you do it too then you’ll join a very exclusive club of individuals who make personalized communication a top priority.

After sending your personalized LinkedIn connection message, follow it up with a brief thank-you note. It’s that easy.

Implement Activities that Nurture Meaningful Relationships

The ability to cultivate a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship is as important in business as those we seek to create in our personal lives.

Imagine for a moment, that you’re out with friends at a social event. You’re having a good time, minding your own business, and the group is approached by an attractive single. The group is greeted appropriately, and pleasantries are exchanged but within a few short minutes, this unknown person is immediately propositioning you for sex. Most of us would be taken aback and many would probably express a few choice words to that individual.

Mentally and emotionally healthy people typically have a particular set of criteria that must be met before choosing to become intimate with another. The same can be said in relation to those with whom we choose to do business.

Though the details differ, the reasoning remains the same. We want to feel safe and secure in our decision. We also want to have a certain level of trust, in knowing that the person has our best interests in mind. These take time to develop and shouldn’t be rushed.

If you’re playing the numbers game, then you’re bound to get lucky from time to time but this isn’t a good long-term strategy. There’s a much better way to connect and do business.

Don’t try to sell your products and services upon initial interaction as this can be off-putting. Instead, focus on creating a meaningful and value-based relationship with people in your network.

Great structures require firm foundations. Likewise, if you want to create a long-lasting and profitable business then you’ll need to develop strong relationships. Allow these basic building blocks to serve as the foundation upon which you strengthen your online network and grow your business.

Need Help with Your LinkedIn Connection Message or Network Growth Strategy?

Developing a great LinkedIn connection message takes a careful eye, but it can be done relatively quickly. Developing an effective network growth strategy, however, can take a bit longer if you want it done right.

I’m certified in LinkedIn Marketing Strategy – through LinkedIn. I can help you develop a solid LinkedIn growth strategy that’s optimized for success.

Everything I show you can be achieved through the free LinkedIn membership.

I offer one-off profile audits, 30-day coaching programs, and monthly LinkedIn for business services to fit your business needs.

Contact me today for a free consultation.


About Rich

My name is Rich Perry and I am a Communication Strategist. I help you build the brand your customers will trust. Entrepreneurs who have an important message to share, hire me when they want to design an optimized and powerful communication strategy to reach their audience, build brand authority, and turn casual visitors into lifelong customers.