Picture yourself using LinkedIn and effortlessly getting consistent, high-value sales. If you want to make this happen, you need to know the different types of LinkedIn connections.

Understanding how they differ can help you determine which types of relationships to build. That way, you can generate a consistent stream of leads for your company.

Keep reading to learn more.

First-Degree Connections

Your first-degree LinkedIn connections refer to the people directly in your network. One way someone can become a direct connection is if you add them, and they accept your connection request.

Alternatively, someone may send you a request that you accept. In either case, you will be part of each other’s LinkedIn connections, so you can view the other’s profile and send messages back and forth.

LinkedIn sets a maximum of 30,000 first-degree connections to help provide a good user experience. If you want to make the most of the platform, you should connect with individuals you know.

It may be tempting to connect with just anyone. LinkedIn recommends you reserve first-degree connections for people you know or that you at least trust.

Then, you can make the most of those relationships on and off of the platform. However, you have many other options aside from a first-degree connection, and those other degrees can be useful.

Second-Degree Connections

As you use LinkedIn for networking and getting more sales, you may come across people who are your second-degree connections. A person in this category is someone who shares a mutual connection with you.

You don’t need to know these people directly, but you can get to know them on the platform. LinkedIn lets you send an InMail or an introduction to your second-degree connections.

If someone is a second-degree connection, you will see a special icon on their profile. You can send them a connection request to become first-degree connections. 

Looking for this icon is an excellent option for growing and creating your network. Then, you can start with people who know someone in your current network, which can make networking easier.

If you try to connect with someone random, they may respond. However, having something or someone in common may increase the chances that the recipient will respond to your message or connection request.

Third-Degree Connections

You may find someone who shares a connection with one of your second-degree connections. If they don’t also share a connection with one of your first-degree connections, they’d be a third-degree connection.

Similar to the second degree, someone who’s a third-degree connection is relatively easy to communicate with on LinkedIn. You can send them an introduction or a message using InMail, or you can send them a connection request.

As you get to know the person, you may decide to send them a connection request. That way, they’ll become a first-degree connection, and you can communicate with them more easily.

When you view the profile of someone in this category, you’ll notice a “3rd” icon. Look for that to determine the degree of connection you have with someone before you contact them.


Perhaps you want to grow your LinkedIn connections, but you’ve gone through all three degrees. You can follow other people to see their activity on LinkedIn, like on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

Users can also follow you without being in your network. In both cases, the person gaining the follower will need to adjust their settings so that “Everyone on LinkedIn” can follow them.

Some LinkedIn users may even set “follow” as the default action on their profile. Another reason you may need to follow someone is if they’ve reached the maximum of 30,000 connections.

Following someone is also an excellent way to learn more about them. When you send a message, you’ll know more about the person to help write a better message and get a sale.

Group Members

Another type of LinkedIn connection is group members. You can join relevant LinkedIn groups based on your industry or profession, so you can network with people who have similar jobs.

Groups allow members to ask and answer questions, so you can learn from people with more experience. You can also share your knowledge with people who are new to the field.

Either way, joining and participating in groups can help you grow your LinkedIn connections. If you’re active, you may get more connection requests from people who see that you’re an expert.

You can interact with your current LinkedIn connections and other members of the group. The right groups can help you build relationships to grow your sales pipeline.

LinkedIn Members

As you search for LinkedIn connections, you may find people who don’t have any relationship with you. These are people that fall outside of your third-degree connections and that aren’t in the same groups as you are.

You can search for people on LinkedIn to view their profile. However, without any connection, you may not be able to see many details, and you might not be able to send them a connection request.

If you want to see more of someone’s profile, the easiest option is to follow them, if they allow anyone to become followers. Alternatively, you can grow your network of first-degree connections.

Then, you may open yourself up to more second- and third-degree connections. You can then contact the sales leads that you want to send a message to.

Another option is to join more LinkedIn groups, but don’t join more than you can handle. Joining relevant groups where you can be active will help you get the best results.

Connecting With New People

One of the best ways to get more sales is to get more LinkedIn connections. You can start with people who are currently second- or third-degree connections.

That way, you’ll be able to mention the person you both know to help build trust. You can also follow people or use groups to slowly build relationships on the platform.

Ideally, you would connect with people that you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with. Of course, you want to connect with your ideal customers to make sales easier.

However, think about how you can benefit the other person. Maybe your product or service will help them solve a problem, or you can offer some other benefit.

If you can’t connect with someone because you’ve already sent 100 connections that week, you can bypass that with Salesflow. One way to connect is to send InMail, assuming the other person has an open profile.

You can also use groups and events to communicate with more people. After creating a group or event, you can invite people from other groups you’ve joined so that you can target the right audience.

Write Something Personal

Whether you’re sending a connection request, an InMail, or inviting someone to a group, you should personalise your message. If you’ve ever sent cold emails, you can follow the same strategy on LinkedIn.

Look at the person’s profile so that you can include their name. You can also figure out where the person works and what their job title is to further customise your message.

The more you can speak to a specific person, the better you can make them feel. On the other hand, copying and pasting the same message can come off like you don’t care about them.

You can use templates, but you should do your best to adjust them based on the person. That way, you can increase the chances that someone will respond to you.

Sending cold messages can take a lot of time, especially if you do them well. To help save time, you can use automation from Salesflow to send follow-up messages and help manage other aspects of your LinkedIn strategy.

Cancel the Connection Request

Maybe you realise that you sent a connection request to someone who isn’t your ideal customer. To keep from wasting connections, you have the ability to cancel the invitation.

You’ll need to go to LinkedIn on a desktop and click on “My Network.” Find “Invitations,” and click on “See All” to get to the Manage Invitations page.

Look for the “Sent” tab, and search through all of your connection requests. When you find invitations you want to cancel, you can click on “Withdraw” by the appropriate names.

Cancelling LinkedIn connections may seem like it can narrow your sales pipeline. However, you can withdraw connection requests if you learn that someone isn’t very likely to purchase your product or service.

Another reason you may cancel a connection request is that LinkedIn can limit pending requests. It’s unclear if the limit is a set number or a percentage of your current connections.

Either way, you may want to remove requests after two or three weeks. If you don’t want to do this manually, automation tools such as Salesflow can help.

Do You Understand LinkedIn Connections?

Growing your LinkedIn connections can be an excellent way to find new leads. However, you should understand the different connection degrees on the platform.

That way, you can start with people closer to you, which can increase the chances you’ll get a response. After that, you can work your way out to find even more sales prospects.

Do you need help with sales on LinkedIn? View our pricing to decide which package is for you.