I count myself among the stubborn

Here’s the problem: You want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, but they won’t connect with you. What should you do?

I have found there are two different mindsets on LinkedIn:

  1. the person who connects with everyone they have ever met
  2. the person who connects with people they have worked with and/or would recommend

One is not better than the other. They are just different. I am of the latter. I believe the value of LinkedIn is in your network but if you are connected to 500+ people, I don’t believe you really know them all so it’s not very valuable to me. In all aspects of online marketing: web traffic, email subscribers, Facebook likes, Twitter followers – I would rather have lower numbers but a more engaged and interested audience.

Here is an example I use often in my seminars.
I want to meet Steve. I have a business proposal or opportunity for him. I see on LinkedIn that Steve is connected to two of my connections – Sarah and Michelle. Sarah has 500+ connections while Michelle has 140. Who do I think has a better chance of knowing Steve? Michelle. Of course, Sarah and Steve could be best buddies but using LinkedIn, my impression is that Michelle is more likely to know him at a deeper level. So, I pick up the phone to ask Michelle to introduce me. Obviously, your results may differ, but this is generally what I’ve found on LinkedIn. Those of you who have been networking for a while know that when I call Michelle for the introduction, it is very likely that someone (me or Steve) is going to remember that they have some business for Michelle.

All that to say that if you are trying to connect with someone with the #2 mindset above, what should you do?

  1. Customize the invitation. I can’t stress this enough. Let them know how you know each other and what the value is for them to link with you.
  2. Start to follow the person/company on social media outlets. Follow them on Facebook and build a relationship through commenting and sharing their posts or sharing their tweets on Twitter and they will start to see the value in linking to you.
  3. Comment on their blog. Again, engage in the conversation with your target and drive activity to their blog by commenting on it.
  4. Share their content. Share links with colleagues on content from their website, blog posts and the aforementioned social media updates.

I hope this helps give you an idea of the many ways you can start to build relationships with business associates online, even if they are stubborn and won’t connect with you on LinkedIn right away.

How have you engaged with someone online to establish a business relationship? Let me know in the comments.