Influence Secrets to Expand Your Online Network: Leverage Connections

This is the sixth and final post in the series where I’ve shared influence secrets to expand your online network. This week we’ll look at leveraging your connections through social proof and liking.

As I’ve stressed throughout this series; be social and personalize your approach to people. It takes a little more effort but will pay big dividends.

Ask for introductions.

Imagine walking up to someone at a social event and introducing yourself. You see the nametag and say, “Hi Alice. I’m Sam.” Not a bad approach because most people will respond politely. But, there’s a better way.

Imagine a friend making the same introduction for you. “Alice, I’d like to introduce you to a friend and coworker, Sam.”

Which approach do you think will get a warmer reception? Sometimes it’s better to be introduced rather than asking to connect directly. That approach applies online just as much as in person.

If there’s someone you want to meet, ask a mutual connection to make an introduction for you. I benefited tremendously from this last year. I wanted to connect with Patrick Leddin, a leadership podcaster and professor at Vanderbilt. I turned to a former coworker who just happened to be a Vandy grad, to see if he would make an introduction to Patrick. He did so, we connected, and Patrick eventually invited me on his podcast. After hearing me on the podcast, Patrick’s wife, also a professor at Vanderbilt, reached out to ask if I would share a little about using influence in negotiations with her graduate level students. 

I share that story to show the power of good introductions and strong connections. You never know where they’ll lead!

Mention a mutual connection.

You don’t always have to ask for an introduction. Sometimes mentioning a mutual connection is enough to open up the other person. Using a personalized invite try something like this:


I see you and I are both connected to John Peterson. John and I worked together for many years. Anyone in John’s network is worth getting to know so I thought I’d reach out to connect.

This taps into liking – you both know John so it’s easier to connect because of that similarity. Of course, the stronger John’s relationship with Patricia the more likely she is to respond to your request.  

Harness multiple connections. 

When you see you have lots of connections in common harness the power of social proof. The more the better because when people see you’re connected to many people already in their network it’s assumed you too will be a good connection. Here’s another example:


When I came across your profile, I noticed we have dozens of connections in common so I thought it would be good to connect with you.

You’ll get more bang for the buck if you mention the names of a few mutual connections who are significant to you. 

Tap Former Associates. 

When you’ve worked for an organization make sure you note that and give more detail whenever possible. I’ve had great success with messages like this:


I started my career at The Travelers right out of college. Fond memories because not only did I get great insurance training…I met my wife there on my first day. I like to stay connected with the company, so I thought I’d reach out.  

When you have lots of connections at the company note that in particular. This is an even tighter approach than just noting connections. This approach also taps into social proof because we’re likely to follow the lead of people most similar to us.


I’ve been in insurance for quite a long time and see that we have a number of connections in common at Westfield. I’m always looking to expand my network, so I hope you’re open to connecting. 


Don’t be lazy! Instead, be thoughtful and influential when you reach out to connect on LinkedIn. Personalizing your request to connect, leveraging liking and/or social proof, and tapping into mutual connections are great ways to up your odds of getting yes responses to your networking attempts. 

If you’d like to go back and review any of the articles in this series visit my website

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His second book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was a new release bestseller in several Amazon categories. 

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on the application of persuasion in sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 350,000 people around the world.

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