Should I Connect With My Competitors on LinkedIn?

Posted by Ben Kniffen in Uncategorized

One of the more common questions LinkedIn users ask is whether or not they should connect with their competitors. There are of course two ways to look at how to approach the issue at hand.


First let’s examine the pros to connecting with your competitors, because for some, the reasons may not seem apparent.

Connecting with your competitors is a great way to gain greater understanding of your target market. Once you connect with a competitor you will be able to see all the people they are connected to.

Some of your competitor’s connections will be clients, some will be prospects, and some will provide no value whatsoever. Either way it provides worthwhile insight into the types of companies you can target with your own prospecting efforts.

Not only are you able to research your competitor’s prospects but you’re also able to research their marketing strategies as well. Having a competitor as a connection is a great way to keep tabs on their online communications and tactics.

Now, that doesn’t mean that being connected to a competitor is all you need to do to gain those insights. It will take some effort and research on your part to gather any beneficial data, but the data is there for the taking once you are connected.

  1. What types of communications are your competitors sending out?
  2. What types of content are they promoting?
  3. Are they hosting any webinars?
  4. What types of companies are they connected to and which ones are they actively targeting?

All those questions and more can be answered by connecting to a competitor and doing some research.

The positives of connecting to your competitors are not always at the forefront of people’s minds though. Some will choose to focus on the negative instead, and their reasons for doing so are valid.

Even though you are given access to your competitor’s connections once you are connected, technically your competitor has access to your connections as well, giving him the same opportunity to research your clients, prospects and marketing tactics.

Because of this, some may view connecting to a competitor as too precarious and not worth the risk it might present.

If you can tell that your competitor is a savvy and active marketer, who is unaware of your presence to begin with, then you may want to keep your distance.

However, every situation is different and needs to be looked at as such.

There is not a ‘one size fits all’ type answer when deciding whether or not to connect to a competitor. Instead, it’s best to look at the pros and cons yourself, and determine whether it’s more of a benefit or a risk to connect.

Another viewpoint is that it is always good to connect with as many people as possible, regardless of who they are. The more connections you have, the greater your network expands and the more opportunity you have to reach key prospects. Whether it’s a CFO of a manufacturing company or a bagger at the local grocery store, you have the ability to expand your network by connecting to everybody.

So when you connect to a competitor there is one thing you can be sure of; increasing the number of targeted prospects that you can connect with and/or target.

When it comes down to it, that’s as good of a reason as any.