I occasionally get contact requests on LinkedIn from people that I do not know and have come to regard this basically as spam. But is it a good idea to use LinkedIn (or a similar networking site) to establish contacts to potential clients?

The benefits I can see are that it is more likely to reach its target than "cold-emailing" and gives more information on previous projects etc. Does anybody have any experiences with this?


A better approach than simply sending a connection request directly to a potential client is to find a common connection that you both have, who you can ask to forward an introduction to your client-in-waiting. That way you can compose an introductory message that explains why it would be valuable to the client to create a connection with you.

Provided that you are no more than 3 connections away from the client, LinkedIn will give you the option of making an Introduction Request through any of your connections that can pass the message through to the client. This approach has the added advantage that you are being referred to the client (if your request gets that far!) by one of their trusted connections. Of course, there is a real possibility that one of the connections in the chain might choose to simply ignore the request to forward. This approach would be better suited to being a single connection away from the client (i.e. they are a 2nd degree contact) so as to minimise that risk.


Most people on social media only look at posts of people they actually know. Get in contact first, then make a connection. Otherwise, you'll have much useless connections. I would never send a request to someone I don't know.

However, when he sends you a request, he won't like it when you don't accept it. So then accept it.


Yes and no. What connections gives you is a possibility of greater exposure and presence. It isn't much and you have to work it but it is something, if used as one tool among many. I would not expect LinkedIn or Facebook connections to be directly turned into leads, but the more people you can reach, the better.

Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. provide good places to promote higher value content like blogs etc. that can increase your presence.

The overall goal is to increase the profile of your name. These things are small steps but they can be helpful if used carefully.


Recruiters often find potentially interesting profiles and are sending connection requests. They do that usually to send job offer.

Having a lot of recruiters in contacts is especially good idea for freelancers and contractors specializing in short-term contracts. You can easily send signal that you are free now or your project is about to change now and you are open to new opportunities.

If you have contract/project request which you are not interested in, you can always send a mail that you could be interested in the future and the recruiter would put you in some category, say, senior JavaScript developers. If you post profile update, it would be much quicker to process than sending your CV/portfolio anywhere.

It isn't guaranteed to succeed, but many people have found contracts using LinkedIn, and filling profile costs you little effort, so it's worth doing.

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