Brett Knutson

It's all about who you know. That phrase is a cliche for a reason; in this day and age, your connections are crucial for success. And with social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it's possible to reach anyone in the world, even if you haven't met them. However, getting a response isn't as easy.

Serial entrepreneur Brett Knutson, who is the founder of marketing agency Monopolize and has hundreds of thousands of followers on various social media platforms, breaks down the formula for high-profile relationship-building down to two words: adding value.

"I have people constantly hitting me up, asking to work for me for free, or asking how they can add value to me. The problem with this is it's too vague," he says. "I don't know what you're good at, and I'm too busy to find out. And so is anybody else who you are trying to get in touch with."

The key, says Knutson, is being specific about exactly how you're going to add value to them. "You need to start paying attention to the person and figure out what their needs are so you can add specific value where you know that it's needed," he explains.

Knutson suggests "adding value" by offering your help or services within an area that your target is trying to break into or less adept at. "For example, if you want to add value to a musician, don't try to help them with their music but instead help with the new clothing line they are starting up. You'll be surprised at how much more receptive people are to help when it's in an area that they know little about," he says.

Another tip from Knutson is that you yourself don't have to have the certain skill or service that your target needs. You can still add value to your target by introducing them to someone else in your network who can help them. "Most of the value that I add to somebody is by introducing them to the actual person who can help solve their problem," he says. "Furthermore, by introducing them to somebody who can solve their problem better than me, it's going to take up less of my time."

You can also add strategic value by introducing two people who can help each other, forming a mutually beneficial relationship. "You now have become valuable in both parties' minds," says Knutson.

According to Knutson, people need to understand that they cannot keep score. "You need to add value repeatedly and not expect anything in return. As soon as you expect something in return, you've lost," he says. Some people may feel taken advantage of or used, but that's how you realize that you're working with the wrong people. "A high-quality person will eventually get uncomfortable only taking from you because high-quality people don't like to just take," he says. "At some point, they're going to offer to reciprocate the value."

Following these steps ensures you will create a well-connected, valuable circle that you can utilize when needed. According to Knutson, it's not easy, but it's worth it. "It requires a lot of delayed gratification and it's not an overnight thing, but it's very, very powerful."

If you're interested in learning more about Brett and his company, be sure to follow him @knutson.