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 of Build Online Influence, where she teaches professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs practical online marketing strategies for growing a business on the social web. Other posts by »




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