How to increase the number of connections on LinkedIn?

The answer to the question in the title might be more difficult than many LinkedIn users realize. A trivial answer might be "Press search for whatever keyword and then keep pressing Contact". This strategy not only does not work, it is even dangerous. Why?
We all hate spam. Different websites prevent spam in different ways. However, spam prevention is a double-edged sword. If it is supposed to be effective, it complicates life to normal users. LinkedIn has its own ways how to prevent spam. Whenever you receive a connection request, you will see the following options:
LinkedIn invitation
If you don't want to accept this invitation you click "Ignore" leading to two other options: "I don't know this person" or "Report spam"

LinkedIn has a strange rule absolutely not suitable for a business network. This rule states that you can contact only people you know. If you contact potential clients or other people you don't know yet and they click on "I don't know yourname" or even worse "Report as Spam" too many times, LinkedIn will forbid you to contact others unless you know their email address.

How to build new relationships safely?

Well, general advice is to be always personal. Don't even try to throw the connection requests all around. It will not work anyway, and you will quickly become a spammer with all the consequences.
When you ask someone to connect with you, visit their profile first. See, if the connection can be beneficial for both of you and if you are able to provide some value to your new connection.
The invitation text has limited amount of characters. Be creative! Use personalized greeting and always use the other person's name. Highlight why you would like to connect - similar area of business or interests, options for helping each other, same groups etc.
I always include the following final line: Please don't click on "don't know peter"
Before you even try contacting others, make sure your profile is attractive, presenting yourself or your business clearly. Especially describe what you can do for other, rather than just speaking about yourself.
We will give you a few tips for LinkedIn profile in the next post. Stay with us! If you like this article, share it on LinkedIn or Twitter.