Open up your LinkedIn account and check the My Network, Messaging, and Notifications tabs. Are you seeing messages and LinkedIn connection invitations from people you’ve never met, from far away countries, or from industries that don’t relate to your business at all?
LinkedIn is sometimes a hub for spam. However, LinkedIn also serves an incredible purpose for learning about your industry, gaining valuable business contacts, and for hiring. Your LinkedIn connections mean something, as long as you moderate, choose wisely, and clear out the clutter that can often make LinkedIn annoying.
We’ll show you how to not only increase your number of LinkedIn connections, but also nurture a community of connections that are relevant and valuable to your business.
As with all social networks, LinkedIn has a “friending” function where someone invites you to become virtual friends, or you send the invitation.
Twitter has followers, Facebook has friends and followers (for businesses,) and LinkedIn has connections.
Here’s how LinkedIn defines a connection: Someone you know personally and trust on a professional level.
In reality, you won’t know all connections as personally as LinkedIn wants. You’ll often interact with people in your network without ever meeting or learning much about each other.
Now it’s time to clean up your LinkedIn network. If you’re only getting started with LinkedIn, you’re working with a clean slate.
Regardless, these tips for gaining more LinkedIn connections apply to everyone, from small business owners to tech mavens, and job-seekers to freelancers.
Remaining active on LinkedIn sets a precedent that you, or your brand, shares knowledge. It’s possible for anyone to gain the title of “thought leader” by remaining in the feeds of your connections.
This doesn’t mean that you should post about your most recent meal or your relationship drama, but rather high-value content about your business or experience in the industry.
More posts mean:
Here are some thoughts on the types of posts to consider:
Attract top employees for your own business or by helping out your friends in the industry.
New locations, product launches, new clients, and milestone markers are positive and intriguing. Others like seeing successes and progress.
Consider case studies about the competition. Seek out editorials about the future of your industry. Follow experts on social media and share the most important news and opinions.
All business owners have some knowledge to share with other like-minded individuals. But this is particularly important for blogs, course creators, and marketers who teach.
LinkedIn serves as an excellent way to promote your upcoming webinar, conference, or meetup. It doesn’t have to be organized by you either. The goal is to share interesting events for your connections.
You’ll find that many of your professional connections are already sharing their hottest tips and creations on LinkedIn. Whether you see a video about AI learning, an interesting observation about the web design industry, or creative writing prompts for authors, stop at the ones you like and give your praise, questions, or comments.
A “like” acknowledges your approval, but those types of passive engagements don’t build your network or add much value to the conversation.
Instead, take a few minutes to write a thoughtful comment, either asking a friendly question or explaining your take on the content. It’s also a good idea to share the content and let your current connections know about it.
Even quick appreciation prompts responses from the poster.
Include a URL or button to your LinkedIn page on each message, online page, physical document, or other marketing items that are associated with your brand.
Are any of the following part of your marketing strategy?
Although the LinkedIn button in my email signature doesn’t stand out much, it’s a great start for at least letting people know that I have a presence on LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn Group is a collective of users who chat and share ideas about a specific topic. Thousands of groups exist on LinkedIn, ranging from topics like web design to biking enthusiasts.
To improve your LinkedIn connections through Groups, follow these best practices:
Check to see if you’re already in any LinkedIn Groups by going to My Networks > Groups.
Use the search bar to type in keywords. This reveals related groups, the number of members, and links to see if they’re worth joining.
The LinkedIn publishing platform differs from regular posts by working as a blog. Anyone is able to write lengthy articles about their expertise, using formats like “best of” roundups, tutorials, and opinion pieces.
Articles posted by others show up on your newsfeed like any other post, but you’ll notice the difference in that articles have their own LinkedIn pages and they’re often longer and filled with images.
An excellent way to increase your LinkedIn connections is by positioning yourself as an expert on a topic. This is typically done with detailed, original articles. After a series of articles, you may find that people look forward to your regular editorials.
It’s a recipe meant to get people wondering about who you are, sending them to your page to follow you for future updates.
To write an article, go to the top of your newsfeed. Click the Write an Article link.
This leads you to a test editor that functions similar to WordPress.
Populate your posts with original photos, text, bullet points, and more. Be sure to encourage comments and shares with a call to action at the end!
All search functionality on LinkedIn runs on keywords and hashtags. If an employer is seeking out an IT professional, they may very well type those exact words in.
That’s why it’s essential to include keywords in your profile description, along with relevant hashtags in every LinkedIn post.
The keywords in your profile serve you well when people search for those keywords and look through the users recommended by LinkedIn. It’s also prudent to have industry-specific keywords on your LinkedIn Business page.
Include a handful of high-performing hashtags in all posts. Similar to keywords, it’s common for LinkedIn users to search for articles, people, and posts by using hashtags.
Having said that, not all hashtags are effective, so learn how to utilize hashtags and locate the effective ones.
Note: Avoid hashtags when writing articles, as hashtags aren’t meant for articles. And keyword stuffing is a nono.
This is a simple one, but many people either forget about it or are too shy to go about mentioning LinkedIn during a live event.
We all end up speaking with other industry professionals at conferences, trade shows, coffee shops, webinars, and more. At one point in time it may have sounded weird to ask someone to find you on LinkedIn, but usually that’s not the case anymore.
Today, you’ll get two responses:
There’s rarely any stigma behind mentioning an online presence, since that’s how people stay in touch, especially in business relationships.
Still, some folks find it uncomfortable, or maybe they’re old-school and prefer less digital interactions.
For those people, I’ll propose the following approach:
There’s only one rule to sending direct messages: Use it like a personal email.
The only good reason to direct message someone on LinkedIn is if you have a legitimate business offering, or you feel you could provide value to their company as a worker.
Spam is one of the few bad parts of LinkedIn. Don’t be one of those downsides.
Ideally, all of your connections are real people with interesting ideas. Your network will never be perfect, but the objective is to reject spammers and remove people and companies that only clutter your newsfeed or inbox with pointless or irrelevant content.
When analyzing a new, or old, connection, consider the following:
LinkedIn serves a wonderful purpose for information sharing and connecting with like-minded professionals. If your connections aren’t going to help you advance in life, don’t allow them to turn your network and newsfeed into a messy one. Clear them out.
What’s great about LinkedIn connections is that active users are often willing to chat and share ideas.
Utilize these connections to their utmost potential, and boost your LinkedIn connections by showing your own value!
If you have any questions about increasing your quality of LinkedIn connections, let us know in the comments.
Joe is a Chicago-based writer focused on social media, WordPress, and eCommerce tools. When not riding his bike in Chicago he's camping in Wisconsin. View Joe's portfolio at joewarnimont.com to contact him and see past work.
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