Do you want to expand your LinkedIn network?
Interested in ways to find and attract quality connections?
Growing your LinkedIn network helps establish you as an expert in your field and extends your reach and exposure.
In this article you'll discover eight ways to develop new LinkedIn connections.
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Why a Large Network Matters
The number of connections you have on LinkedIn matters. Remember, the more first-degree connections you have, the more second- and third-degree connections you have, making you literally one connection away from millions of people.
That's important because LinkedIn is a massive search engine in which you'll only show up in your first-, second-, and third-degree connections' searches. In other words, if you're not connected with individuals at these levels, you won't come up in their search results. And only those three levels will show up in your searches.
So if you want to be found on LinkedIn, strategically build your number of first-degree connections. This will exponentially increase the likelihood that LinkedIn search algorithms will find you and place you near the top of search results.
In the left column below, you can see how the number of connections grows for each relationship level.
Keep in mind that you only need 501 connections to show the 500+ mark next to your profile and be considered part of the elite expert tier. People who see your profile will know you use LinkedIn to do business, add value and connect.
Here are some ways to start growing your LinkedIn network.
#1: Post Status Updates Daily
It's important to be active on LinkedIn, and that starts with posting status updates every day. Think of your LinkedIn updates the same way as any social media post. Make sure they add value, talk about your business and include a call to action.
When you consistently stay in the feeds of your connections, there's more opportunity for them to comment, like and share your posts. This interaction gets you introduced to their connections and gives you one more way to grow your network. When people are sharing and commenting on your stuff, it's social proof that you're an expert in your field.
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#2: Engage With Your Connections' Updates
Review your wall regularly and share, comment on and like other people's updates and long-form posts.
Start relationships with new connections by commenting on their updates. Build an audience by joining the conversation on popular posts in your niche. This interaction lets people know you exist and gives you more visibility. Some of these people are likely to want to know more about you, leading to new connections.
#3: Personalize Connection Requests
Review LinkedIn's suggested connections at least a few times a week. Make it a goal to find people in your industry or niche and personally connect with them. Try to connect with two or three people each time.
When you send a connection request, personalize it in some way for that person. How did you meet? How do you know him or her? Why do you want to connect? Here's an example of a simple but personal connection request you can tweak and reuse.
Personalized connection requests increase the chances people will approve your request and give you a better shot at landing a sale.
#4: Add Your LinkedIn URL to Your Email Signature
Your LinkedIn profile works for you in a number of ways: as a resume, a testimonial, social proof, a portfolio of projects and clients and proof of expert value, all in one convenient place. In your email signature, rather than send prospects to your Facebook account (or nowhere at all), send people to your LinkedIn profile.
First, you need to grab your LinkedIn vanity URL, a clickable link that's easy to recognize and easy to remember. In the Contact Info section of your profile, click the gear icon next to your LinkedIn URL. Then on the next page, look for the Your Public Profile URL section, where you can make changes.
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Once you have your vanity URL, add it to your email signature to make it easy for people to connect with you.
And be sure to add the URL to your business card as well.
#5: Join and Participate in Groups
Commit to searching for a few new LinkedIn groups to join each month. And then make sure you engage with each group often (daily if you can) by commenting, asking questions and liking other people's comments.
A group is a great opportunity to do market research, post links to your updates to get more views and engage with others in your niche, as well as those who aren't. When people see you in groups and interact with you over time, they'll be more likely to connect. You might even find a new client or business partner through a group.
To find groups to join, enter relevant keywords in the LinkedIn search box.
Once you find and join a group, participate by starting a discussion or asking a question. And be sure to join both big and small groups.
Also consider creating your own group. This brings you instant credibility, as people like to network with experts and other well-connected people. When people join your group, they'll likely want to connect with you, the group owner. They already know who you are and like what you have to say.
#6: Add Keywords to Your Profile
To make it easy for people to find you, add keywords to your LinkedIn profile. The three main areas to focus on are your headline and Summary and Experience sections. All of these sections are searchable. Adding keywords will lead to more views and make you more searchable, increasing the potential for new connections.
When filling out these sections, tell stories and be creative, use every character allowed and work in relevant keywords that people will search for. For example, if you run your own business, you might be called president or CEO, but how many people will actually search for those terms? Instead, use keywords that describe what you do, as in the headline below.
#7: Leverage Local Networking Groups
If you belong to a local networking group, look through your membership directory and send LinkedIn connection requests to individual members. Even if you don't remember meeting someone in person, use your shared real-world connection to personalize your connection request and start to get to know that person online.
For example, you could say something like “We're both members of (local group name), and I would love to connect here, too.” Then head to your next networking meeting newly armed with great networking info.
Search for local group members in LinkedIn groups. You may find them there, too.
#8: Post Content to LinkedIn's Publishing Platform
LinkedIn has a publishing platform that makes it easy to publish attractive posts, look like an expert (three posts are displayed with images at the top of your profile page) and showcase more of what you know and do in a professional format.
One of the key benefits of the publishing platform is that your posts are seen by the entire LinkedIn community, not just your connections, which increases your exposure. Getting noticed by a broader audience will help you build your network by reaching that elusive fourth layer and beyond. 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.
Make sure you publish at least a few times a month to keep your content fresh and current. If you're not sure what to publish, consider repurposing your blog posts or newsletter content.
Set a goal to try at least one or two of these tips each week. You'll be able to track your success as your number of connections starts to march toward 501+ and beyond.
What do you think? What tactics have helped you grow your LinkedIn network? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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