LinkedIn is no longer optional for growing and managing your network effectively. In fact, we’re to the point where it’s hard to separate someone’s network and their LinkedIn connections. For most, it’s one in the same.
That’s why it’s important to constantly grow and nurture our network, especially using the access that LinkedIn gives us. When it comes to connecting, I’ll always choose quality over quantity. Fortunately, LinkedIn’s technology has allowed us to have both: We can make meaningful connections and do it quickly and efficiently.
These are the nine most effective ways I’ve found to grow your LinkedIn network. I’ve also included a few tips on what to do once you connect.
How to Make More Connections on LinkedIn
- Start with the address book import to see who you already know on LinkedIn, but STOP before sending a mass invite! Instead, use the list to write down the people you want to connect with and send them each a personal message.
- Check out the “people you may know” box for possible connections each time you login to LinkedIn. Also, don’t forget to check the suggestions LinkedIn gives you after you connect with someone new.
- Search for old acquaintances and people you may have lost touch with. Start by looking for previous connections from schools, locations, churches, clubs, groups, industries, previous companies, etc.
- Don’t bother sending invites to people who aren’t on LinkedIn. It’s not worth your time and it’s annoying to the recipient. LinkedIn is just using you as a way to advertise to them.
- Put your public LinkedIn URL where people can find it. Add it to your email signature, your website’s about section, business cards, stationery, and Facebook page.
- After meeting a new business contact, always follow up with them on LinkedIn in addition to email. You can even let them know in your follow up email you’ll be connecting with them on LinkedIn to stay in touch.
- Connect with peers and prospects through LinkedIn Groups. You can browse to meet new people or search groups for specific members by clicking “Members” → “Search.” Most people don’t know you can also message anyone in the same group for free. It doesn’t require inMail and it doesn’t matter if they’re a first, second or 50th degree connection!
- Connect with people who view your profile. This is a great excuse to connect with someone who might be a prospect checking you out. Send them an invitation or message letting them know you’d like to connect as well.
- Connect with people who comment and like your LinkedIn posts. I started publishing on LinkedIn exactly a year ago and it’s been an incredible way to connect with people who read my content and reach out to me or like my posts. If you aren’t publishing on LinkedIn, I strongly suggest it for boosting thought leadership and lead generation.
3 Rules For Making Meaningful Connections
Finally, once you make a new connection, don’t forget these three simple rules for starting off on the right foot.
- ALWAYS personalize your messages. Never use the generic message even though 90% of the people you connect with will. This is a great opportunity stand out! Take some time to do research on your new connection and show you’re worth their time.
- Thank each new connection for reaching out to you. Little things make all the difference.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re contacted by someone you don’t know or are weary of connecting with try saying something like, “Forgive me, I’m not sure we’ve met. How did you find me?” or “Tell me more about what you do. Do you come to [YOUR CITY] often?”
What are your strategies for making better connections on LinkedIn? Let me know in the comments.
Searching for old acquaintances has worked really well for me for building my LinkedIn network. I’ve found that reaching out to people that I knew in school has helped me stay current with my industry. A lot of schools are also developing digital and online groups to help students develop a better sense of community. If you can reconnect with these features, it can be a great way to market your skills and stay up to date with learning trends.Reply