A commonly asked question from people looking to use LinkedIn proactively to prospect for their business is “Should I connect with everyone that sends me a connection request?”

While it’s important to connect with “strangers” (https://reeb.com.au/stranger-things-need-to-happen-on-linkedin/), there are certain guidelines you should follow when deciding who to connect with.

1. Be selective with who you allow into your network

You should not connect with everyone who wants a moment of your time. Random messages from anonymous people based in India, for example, are most likely not worth responding to. Also, if someone hasn’t taken the time to add a photo to their LinkedIn profile, it’s probably not worth connecting with them either. This is, after all, a site for professionals in business who shouldn’t be hiding who they are.

2. Focus on your ideal clients and potential partners

Remember that the first step in a buyer’s journey is awareness. This means that the more you focus on adding targeted prospects and partners to your 1st degree network, the more likely that these connections will be interested in what you have to offer.

You want to ensure that these leads will take the time to learn about what you have to offer, determine that you know what you are talking about and be convinced that you can add value to their business by addressing one of their problems or pain points.

Adding these types of prospects to your 1st degree network means you will be able to message them directly. Just make sure that you don’t make the biggest mistake that sales professionals make (https://reeb.com.au/the-worst-mistake-sales-execs-make-on-linkedin/).

3. Think of LinkedIn as a powerful CRM tool

Once these targeted prospects are in your 1st degree network, you’ll have the ability to download their information, which includes their email addresses. While it’s important that you don’t abuse this data by sending them random “cold” emails, you can upload this information into another platform like Facebook’s ads manager to create a custom audience to which you can then run relevant, timely ads.

Remember to think of LinkedIn as a massive CRM, where your target audience updates their information for you so you don’t have to (like you would with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Insightly, etc.).

So, if you’re already spending money on buying industry email lists, or wasting funds running ad campaigns that aren’t as targeted as they could be and where you can’t directly measure the ROI, stop doing those things immediately!

Instead, focus on growing your targeted 1st degree network on LinkedIn then leverage that data to position your product/service in front of your perfect target audience.

Remember, building your 1st degree network has a multiplying effect. Also keep in mind that everyone starts with zero connections, so start today- add five new contacts per day and keep progressing onwards and upwards!