With more than half a billion users in more than 200 countries, it’s clear the leader in social media for connecting you with business prospects, potential hires and business partners is undoubtedly LinkedIn. The platform is all about making connections, from individuals you know personally to individuals you wish to know. However, the process of gaining new connections can be a bit slow. So if you want to be found on LinkedIn, you need to strategically build your number of connections.
Here’s how you can build your LinkedIn network:
SET MONTHLY GROWTH GOALS
The key to setting goals is to make them realistic. Review LinkedIn’s suggested connections at least a few times a week. Try to connect with two or three people each time you do so. Remember, quality matters more than quantity. Exercise some caution and remember to maintain proper LinkedIn etiquette and refrain from spamming people you don’t know.
PERSONALIZE YOUR CONNECTION REQUESTS
Make it a goal to find people in your industry or niche and personally connect with them. Don’t simply click the connect button in the list of ‘people you may know’, as this sends out a generic request. Instead, go to the persons profile and click the ‘connect’ button there. This will allow you to add a personal note to your request. Whenever you send a connection request, personalize it in some way for that person. Think of how you met the person, how you know him/her or simply state your reason to connect.
Tip: If you are interested in connecting with someone you haven’t met, add relevancy by letting them know why you’re messaging them. For example, I’ve seen your posts and noticed some of your work. I really appreciate your insights and would love to connect with you.
ENGAGE WITH EXISTING CONNECTIONS
By engaging with existing connections, your profile will be visible directly in front of their networks. Expand your reach by commenting with your personal insights or questions or simply by liking posts.
JOIN LINKEDIN GROUPS
Groups are a great way to do market research, post links to your updates and get more views and engagement. When people see you in groups and interact with you over time, they’re more likely to connect. Commit to searching for a few new LinkedIn groups to join each month. Find a group with similar interests by entering relevant keywords in the search box. Then make sure you engage with each group often by commenting, asking questions and liking other people’s comments. You might even find a new client or business partner this way.
Posting often creates additional opportunities for engagement. When a connection likes, shares or comments on your status update, all of their connections are more likely to see your original post in their feed. This gives you an additional way to grow your network. Think of your LinkedIn updates the same way as any social media post. Make sure your post adds value, talks about your business and includes a call to action where necessary.
Tip: Use images on social posts as this can significantly increase engagement with people in your existing network and increase exposure to potential connections. Research shows that using visual content will increase views by 11 times.
PUBLISH YOUR OWN ARTICLES
The great thing about publishing articles is that your network will be notified every time you do so, increasing your chances of engagement and exposure. Those who normally wouldn’t see your profile in search results will have a chance to find out what you do and how you can help them. Only write on topics that will truly provide value to readers.
PROMOTE YOUR LINKEDIN URL
Every social media platform you use most often gives you space for a bio. Use that bio to its fullest potential by encouraging viewers to connect with you on LinkedIn. Promote your LinkedIn profile by posting the link in a status update, tweet, video, photo, etc. You can also add your LinkedIn profile link to your email signature while sending out mails to your clients.
USE RELEVANT KEYWORDS
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to attract profile visitors based on the words you choose. This is similar to optimizing your website or copy for SEO. Add keywords by using common variations of your job title and duties. This will lead to more views and make you more searchable, increasing the potential for new connections.
The three main areas to focus on are your headline and Summary and Experience sections as all of these sections are searchable. Set a goal to try at least one or two of these tips each week. They will enable you to track your success as your number of connections start to increase.