5 Tips to Build and Grow Your LinkedIn Network

social media how toDo you want to tap into LinkedIn’s 150 million–member worldwide network?

It’s important to focus on the right kinds of activities that will yield the best results.

In this article, I’ll reveal five key strategies and activities you can focus on to build and grow your network.

#1: Update Your Status Frequently and Consistently

Only one-third of LinkedIn members visit the site every day, and another one-third of members visit the network several times a week, according to a survey conducted by Lab42. You can check out the complete infographic from Lab42 on LinkedIn Members.

When you log into LinkedIn, notice each time who shows up in your home feed. Most likely you will see the same few people frequently.

home feed

Active LinkedIn users will show up more frequently in your home feed.

These individuals are getting more visibility because they are more active, and you can do the same if you commit to staying active on the network. This is a subtle but powerful way to build influence with your network connections.

If you make the commitment to become more active in the network, you have a real opportunity to shine! It takes time, effort and dedication, but the payoff from staying top of mind can be significant in developing new introductions, relationships and business opportunities.

Here are a few ideas on how to be an active LinkedIn member:

  • Update your status at least three times a day on the actual site itself, versus using third-party tools so that you have full control over your message and increase engagement (see image below).
  • Share and comment on the updates of your first-, second- and third-degree connections at least once a day.
  • Send an invitation to connect to at least one new person per day.
  • Start and/or participate in LinkedIn Group Discussions three times a week.
  • Answer questions on “LinkedIn Answers” three times a week.
  • Comment on profile updates from the companies you follow on LinkedIn once a day.

    control your message

    By updating your status manually in LinkedIn, you can control your message and increase engagement.

Important note: Be careful about sharing your tweets directly on LinkedIn. When you do this, you don’t give your LinkedIn network connections any opportunity to engage with you within LinkedIn. Be selective about the tweets you choose to send automatically into LinkedIn from your Twitter account. There may be some value in saving time and increasing visibility by doing this, but realize no further engagement will take place within LinkedIn.

Sending all of your tweets into LinkedIn can get very annoying for your connections!

tweet

When you send a tweet to LinkedIn, your network connections are unable to engage with your update within LinkedIn. Instead, if they click "Reply" or "Retweet," they'll be taken to Twitter.

#2: Build Connections Constantly

One of the best things you can focus on in growing and engaging your LinkedIn network is to always look for connection opportunities. LinkedIn recently enhanced its People You May Know feature.

Take advantage of this opportunity to review whom you may know and send them a personalized invitation to connect right there from the People You May Know tab.

people you may know

The new People You May Know feature makes it easy to discover potential connections in your target markets.

The “Alumni” search feature on LinkedIn is also quite powerful, as you can narrow your search by geographical location.

In the example below, I’ve selected the high school I attended and my current geographical location, which uncovered 74 new connection opportunities for me! Make sure to plug in the high school(s) and college(s) you attended to expand your results.

alumni linkedin

A search for new potential connections who attended my high school and live in my area.

#3: Be Strategic about When You are Active on LinkedIn

Studies have shown that LinkedIn members are more active in the afternoons and are more likely to use the mobile site in the evenings. With this in mind, focus your participation activities during the times when you have the best chance to be seen.

I would also recommend experimenting with this depending on where you live and what industry you work in. Mix up your strategy and record the results over a week’s time, such as how many new connections you gained and how many engagement opportunities you created during each week based upon when you participated.

For example, I have found that engagement within my industry and target market is quite high on weekday mornings AND on Saturday mornings. Therefore, I make LinkedIn one of my first stops of the day as much as possible.

#4: Join and Actively Participate in LinkedIn Groups

You’ve probably heard this recommendation before, but LinkedIn Groups are one of the most active areas of the network and the participation stats are quite compelling.

linkedin groups

A survey and infographic from Lab42 reveals powerful LinkedIn Group participation stats.

Simply joining a group on LinkedIn won’t get you anywhere. You must jump into the new and popular conversations and add value as a member!

One of the best successes I’ve ever had in a group within my targeted niche was to ask for advice. I needed to find a resource to complete a certification and that simple question generated over 30 responses.

Be careful not to over commit to too many LinkedIn Groups. Pick three to five groups that make sense for you to be actively involved. Here are five ways to use LinkedIn Groups to build influential connections.

LinkedIn has just made it much easier to find groups within the network that might be valuable for you to join through the new LinkedIn Group Search feature.

Now, group conversations are being indexed within LinkedIn search. Additionally, you can filter your searches and see which of your connections are also members of a particular group.

group search

Find the right LinkedIn Groups to join and get actively involved through the new LinkedIn Group Search feature.

#5: What You Share Matters

What you share on LinkedIn does matter. This is what will define you as a trusted authority within your industry and with your target markets. The key is to share news, articles and insights that are relevant to your connections if you want to attract and grow the right audience.

If you’re plowing your blog posts into LinkedIn as status updates or into LinkedIn Groups without asking a question or trying to achieve engagement, you won’t get very far. Believe me, I’ve done this and so have many other marketing experts. It is perfectly okay to share your content, but it’s important to be considerate when you do so and position it in such a way that can potentially get your connections to engage with you.

I’m a big believer in the idea that creating and sharing your own content is extremely important for establishing yourself as a thought leader and becoming the trusted authority in your niche. Just avoid phrases such as “check out my videos” or “check out my latest blog post” because honestly, no one cares about you until you care about them. Be a resource and be helpful to your connections in addition to finding ways to create dialogue with them.

Keep in mind that when you share something that is “share-worthy” and members of your extended network see it and share it, you increase your visibility significantly because you gain exposure to their connections.

To easily find and share content that is interesting and relevant to your target markets, consider using the LinkedIn Today site. This is a great tool for finding popular, trending and relevant content to share with your network.

Now it’s Your Turn

I hope you find these recommendations for growing and engaging your LinkedIn network helpful. As the network itself continues to develop and add new features, it’s important to refresh your LinkedIn engagement strategy and make sure you are leveraging all of the great features!

What do you think? What other tips do you have for building and engaging your network on LinkedIn? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons is the Founder and CEO of Wired Advisor, where she teaches financial advisors and business professionals how to build digital influence to win clients. Other posts by »




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  • $44796859

    Great advice, thank you :) Especially like the timeliness of posting for best networking opportunities.

  • http://www.nutmeg.co.uk/ Julie from Nutmeg

    Thanks for the tips, Stephanie. I think it’s interesting that you found that your community is active during a different period of the day/week than the studies show. Do you know why that is?

  • http://www.internetmarketing-seo.co.uk/ IM-SEO

    I think it all comes down to engagement, you have to talk to customers, friends or strangers to get a response and its the same with social media.

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  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Hi Julie, the financial advisor community is typically scouring business and investment news in the mornings, and I also know that many of them catch up on their reading on Saturday mornings! Being in the industry myself for 15 years helps to understand the patterns of the niche.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Agreed, engagement is key to building influence.

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  • http://twitter.com/ScottSalwolke Scott Salwolke

    The timing on this is perfect Stephanie. I’m always using LinkedIn, but not as frequently as I should. Just a few days ago I began looking to see how I could do more with it. The advice here will help me along with that. Thanks.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    You are welcome hope these tips can help you!

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  • Heather

    Great tips Stephanie. You’ve inspired me to “check in” on LinkedIn on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on starting a LinkedIn group? 

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Starting a group is a very effective way to cultivate a community around a certain topic, geographical area, or target market. However, it’s a lot of work, and you have to be quite diligent in managing spam to keep members coming back. I run a group that has about 3000 members and each day I have to spend time approving new members and monitoring discussions. Eventually it makes sense to have a group manager as the group grows.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanneRector Susanne Rector

    Awesome post Stephanie – Thanks!  I think I’ll go beef up on LinkedIn =D I check in there on and off, I especially like your advise #3 about when to be active on LinkedIn.

  • http://www.faithandfamilyreviews.com Faith and Family Reviews

    LinkedIn is an area I am not consistent with, FB and Twitter, yes, but not LinkedIn. I do participate in groups but that is about it. Definitely an area where I can implement your tips. Thanks!

  • Corrinne Armour

    Thanks Stephanie. I had an intention to get more active on LI and then your post showed up!

  • http://www.gilleran.net/ Andrew Gilleran

    That is an excellent article, many thanks.

  • Jamie Millar

    Great tips. I agree that it’s important to engage in only a few targeted groups in order to build influence and reputation. I also feel that joining many groups is important (as long as they’re still relevant to your profession) as this will increase the depth of the people-you-may-know search by suggesting group members as potential contacts. When you see group members that have interests in common or you feel may be valuable network connections, you can craft an introduction to share thoughts or collaborate based on your shared group interests.

    Has anyone else found this to be useful?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1653512939 Violet Mercado

    It was a great article, Thank you

  • Donna McDine

    Great tip packed article! 

  • Justin Meister

    Great writeup! I have gotten a decent amount of leads through status updates on LinkedIn; but I am constantly battling with whether I should be formal or informal. Both types of status updates have seen similar click rates. What do you guys think? Thanks! 

  • http://mysocialgameplan.com/about Jonathan Payne

    As always, great suggestions.  Another suggestion I would add to the list is make sure you have a completed, optimized profile.  A lot of people completely ignore keywords when filling out their LinkedIn headline/profile…and then they wonder why they don’t show up in search results.

  • http://twitter.com/brycehanson Bryce Hanson

    I would also add that sometimes the best way to extend your virtual network is to meet people face to face. I usually get 3-4 new LinkedIn connections every time I go to a networking event.

  • Jamie Millar

    Agreed! Nothing beats getting out there and networking physically, in person.

  • Sandra Folk

    Stephanie,
    Great article and very helpful. I was just talking with someone about this very same topic as I would like to optimize my profile and better use Linked In.
    Thanks

  • SandyFischler

    I couldn’t agree more on the advice to limit sending Tweets to Linkedin. I actually hide the status updates of people who barrage Linkedin with their Tweets. It’s just plain rude and inconsiderate. If I wanted to follow you on Twitter..I’d follow you on Twitter. If you want to get my attention, post helpful business related advice and articles.

  • SandyFischler

     Excessive groups is really getting to be an issue for me on Linkedin. There are over 40 different groups for my areas of interest – it is just not possible to participate in or follow all of them. I’ve ended up dropping a bunch over time because you just have to filter out the ones that lack solid community or are over-run with spam.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Agreed, you have to find the needles in the haystack!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Great thanks I hope it helps you!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Well there you go! Just start integrating it into your daily routine!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    You’re welcome Andrew glad you enjoyed.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Thanks Donna!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Be interesting, but be professional!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Yep great point.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Absolutely Bryce, always be connecting…whether you’re online or off.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    I don’t know why LinkedIn doesn’t change that, other than it makes the network appear “more active” with all the tweets running through. In addition, they look at tweets to surface top articles on LinkedIn Today. Maybe they just need to buy Twitter!

  • http://intesols.com.au/ Moin Shaikh

    Hi Stephanie, since linkedin is stated as one of the fastest growing and largest social networking site in the world i hope to see even bigger participation from end users and yes, like fb and g+ we hope to see continues improvements in linkedin too to enhance opportunities for end users, what i feel personally is that linkedin shall more be used as community management tool and not a marketing tool and even if it is used as marketing tool, it must not be used to bombarding your marketing. I am annoyed at this spamming from many  not so professional marketers who spam this most professional network. I think linkedin should strengthen its policies so that we can leverage more business opportunities via it. I like you #2 where we must use review you connection option because i have seen many people just keep adding connection regardless of their relevancy. Its just like following and getting followers from irrelevant sector on twitter. What’s your sense?

  • Tim

    Sorry Stephanie but I don’t accept the fundamental premise here. Endless, pointless, trust less and value less linking on Linked in simply erodes its value as a network, unless you simply see it as a business generation tool and want endless spam communications – IMHO

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  • AndreaDTTP

    Hi Stephanie,

    This is a well done article. My fave piece is the list of “how to be an active LinkedIn member.”

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  • Subhash

    How to use LinkedIn effectively for a Real Estate company ? I am new to Social Media Marketing and am doing my internship. Seeking suggestions :) 

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  • Dara Schulenberg

    What about keyword optimizing your profile as a critical tool in growing your network?  You need to know the top 5 locations to insert keywords in your profile to be found by advance search and LinkedIn Signals.  And, be thoughtful about your invitations. There is reportedly a 3000 cap on lifetime invitations which many are unaware of today.

  • http://www.websitebegin.com Joe Boyle

    Excellent article, I’ve always found LinkedIn to be very powerful – it’s a very professional form of Facebook, in my opinion. I think that, should you put the correct effort in, it’d be very easy to become a legend on it. I can see it very easily taking Facebook over some day, with a bit of effort. Great tips – will be putting them into effect. It’s difficult to engage with LinkedIn until you’ve built up quiet a few connections – something I despise in comparison to other networks like Twitter.

  • Nancy Scharf

    Stephanie, The article is very beneficial because it makes you realize whether you are currently working or searching for employment, you must continuously build your network and be an active participant. I learned that I was not using Linked in to it’s full potential. 

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Amber King

    Thanks for sharing this Stephanie. This is very helpful. LinkedIn is one way to get recognized and build a network.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MySocialGameplan Steven Gilpin

    This post hit the nail right on the head of how LinkedIn users should operate. Great share, Stephanie!

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  • http://twitter.com/ClickController ClickController®

    Thanks for writing such a thorough guide.  Planning to use Linkedin to grow our business and this guide will come in very handy.  Thanks for sharing.

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  • Debbie Saviano

    Great Resources Stephanie,
    Was a Principal in Plano ISD and so naturally Your Sample of Plano Senior High caught my eye. :)
    Go WILDCATS!

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  • may191

    Thanks for the tips.

    I have found If you are low on connections, or new to LinkedIn, it is really handy to use a website like:

    http://rocketconnections.com

    It will find all your existing Facebook friends on LinkedIn. Works
    get all the missing people you have on Facebook but not on LinkedIn.

    And they are contacts that actually already know you!

    Great to get up to speed quick, and save some time searching.
     

  • Frida Darmawan

    Great tips, I have been wondering what I should do with Linkedln for a long time,  this article is excellent, and I don’t want to lose the opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernMail Modern Mail

    Great advice! From my experiences, groups are the best way to promote personal and profile pages and really connect with consumers. 

  • http://twitter.com/WillRussellMktg Will Russell

    I think you could have written a bit more about LinkedIn Answers – they are a fantastic tool, which not nearly enough people know about.

    A blog post for the future maybe?

    Will

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  • http://jasonrepovs.com/ Jason Repovs

    Fantastic article.  I especially liked how specific each section got.  These tips seem like common sense, and yet I know many people (myself included) who could be better utilizing them.  Thanks for the post!

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  • Guest

    Thank you for these tips, Updating your status is the most important thing and make sure to mention your updates about yourself or company but it must be business focused not like the useless facebook update status like “I just woke up ….”. Keep it to the point like, I’m hired in X company.

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  • Junaid Tahir

    good piece of information. I liked some crtiical advises about twitter. Thanks
    Junaid

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  • Thurman Weathers

    I’m new to Linked In and this seems like great advice. Thanks

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  • Sid Ifti

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for sharing these valuable tips. Can you please give me a quick advice on sending messages to my connections. I’ve completed the first round of connections and received acceptance from most of them.

    Now I’m ready to stay i touch with them so I’m thinking to share something in order to stay in picture. How about sending some decent quotes like stress relieve joke or quotations?
    What do you think will that fly or would be a disaster? Just wanted to pick your brains on that.

    Take care,

    Sid









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