LinkedIn for B2B professionals does matter. For the last few years I have been conducting my own private research and learned, at least for me, the top 5 reasons why people ask to be connected.
The super majority of people (nearly 60%) send me invitations because I have engaged with them or with one of their connections. Since LinkedIn changed its groups policies, these engagements are overwhelmingly from update posts. Prior to this change, the invitation outreach was through groups.
Additionally within this reason for connection, I have included those profiles I have visited. When a second or third degree connection has visited my profile, I usually return the visit. In quite a few instances, I will then receive an invitation to connect.
#2 LinkedIn Pulse Articles
Even with all the people publishing on Pulse, my articles still continue to drive a significant amount of invitations to my In Box. Right now approximately 25% of all LinkedIn invitations are because of these articles. What I have also observed is quite a few people within this community will follow me first and then extend an invitation to connect. Content marketing for B2B is a proven marketing method for attracting attention and beginning to build relationships.
#3 Direct Outreach
Sometimes either through a personal one on one meeting, I will receive an invitation to connect or I will send an invitation. These invitations represent around 7%. Also within this group are those who are connected to one of my first degree connections and believe it may make sense to connect with me as well.
As my network has grown, I have begun to see an increase in referrals from other colleagues. Those within my existing contacts also have made suggestions for others to connect with me. Where in the past this percentage was nominal, today it also hovers around 5%.
Finally, around another 3% of my connections now originate from LinkedIn’s suggestions to connect. This is the smallest percentage. And for me has always been the smallest percentage.
For those engage in social selling or better yet social marketing, then it makes sense to be engaging on LinkedIn. Share the update posts of others. Comment on those posts. My other suggestion is to keep track of those who visit your profile, research their profile to determine if an invitation to connect is warranted.
P.S. Please make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and engaging. Many profiles turnoff more sales leads or prospects than they turn on. And no you do not have to accept all invitations.