There is no doubt about it; LinkedIn is a great platform for professional networking. While many businesses view LinkedIn as just a recruitment tool, they are missing all of the sales and marketing good that can come of regular and creative activity on the network.
LinkedIn success all starts with making strategic and qualified connections. You need to build your network, while ensuring that these connections are inclined to care about you and your business. The good news is that there are now 200 million LinkedIn users globally, so there is a really good chance that you will find people to connect with regardless of your industry.
Here are a few connection-building tips I have compiled in my years of advising clients on the proper use of the social network:
- Use the “People You May Know” tool. This is found in the top right corner of the LinkedIn home page when you are logged in. This tool uses an algorithm that takes into account your current connections, your past workplaces, groups you belong to, your education history, etc. and tries to identify other users you may know. Use this tool to make a few quick connections;
- Put your LinkedIn profile in your email signature. This is a simple way to put your profile in front of the people you email for work. Assuming that a majority of the people you email are in your industry or a related one, this is a great way to build your network and continue engagement with qualified connections;
- Add your LinkedIn profile to your blog. If you have a professional blog, use a social widget to link to your LinkedIn profile. Your blog visitors undoubtedly share the same interests as you do so doing this is a great way to passively gain you additional qualified connections;
- Use the “Add Connections” feature. You can use this tool to import email contacts and match them up with LinkedIn users. This feature works with a number of email hosts, so there is a good chance it will work for you;
- Seek out other users. There is nothing wrong with proactively looking up people you know or would like to meet and try to connect with them. When doing this, you should definitely include a quick, personal note introducing yourself. This makes a big difference;
- Take offline connections online. Anytime you meet a new person via email or in person, you should quickly login and try to make a connection while the meeting is still fresh in your (and their) heads. Once you get into the habit of doing this, it is a great way to make a bunch of connections very quickly. If you are out at a networking event and collect a bunch of business cards from the people you interacted with, you should take the 15-20 minutes to connect with all of them on LinkedIn no later than the next day. LinkedIn’s people search is very good, so this should be rather easy;
- Use third-party tools. If you use Gmail, there is a great Chrome extension called “Rapportive” that is awesome at helping you grow your networks. Rapportive shows you in the right sidebar of your Gmail all of the social feeds associated with an email contact. Most people use the same email address for LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, so this is a great way at connecting with the people who email you. I use this tool all the time to grow my network and it works great.
There you have it; Seven simple ways that you can build your LinkedIn network by adding solid, qualified connections. I am sure there are countless more. If you have a go-to method of finding qualified LinkedIn connections that isn’t covered here, leave a comment below and share!
Image credit: ganderssen1
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Check out Craig Smith's latest best-selling book Leveling the Playing Field: A Small Business Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn to get all the tips and tricks you'll need to turn LinkedIn into a powerful sales tool for your business.
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