With more than 277 million members, LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site on the internet. A hub for experts and key-decision makers from all business sectors, the platform provides ample opportunities to grow your prospects and drum up leads. On LinkedIn you can establish your professional credibility, promote your business and build meaningful relationships with potential clients.
However, your presence on LinkedIn is near enough worthless unless you have a network to share it with. Your network is your opportunity and the larger and more relevant you can make it then the better your chances of fostering some really great results. Need some help? Here are 5 tips to help you build and grow your LinkedIn network:
1. Optimise Your Profile
With a fully updated and keyword-optimised profile, you can:
- Encourage members to connect with you
- Get found more easily in search
In your profile background and experience sections provide an insight into who you are, what you do, what your passions are and what opportunities you’re looking for. If you look interesting and open to ideas then members are more likely to connect with you. Also ensure to update your profile regularly. You never know how that recent project or job promotion could make you more appealing to others.
- Use language that’s easy to read
- Use bullet-points to split up large chunks of text
- Upload lots of content to your profile, e.g. images, videos, eBooks
- Fill out all sections to get an All-Star profile rating
It’s also important to use lots of your keywords on your profile so when people search for people like you, you’ve got a better chance of showing up. For example, if you’re a Marketing Director, some of your keywords might be: Marketing Director, Marketing Strategy, Business Development, B2B Marketing, Marketing Communications.
Where to include your keywords:
- In your headline
- In your background and experience sections
- In your skills & endorsements
- In your interests
Tip: Don’t over-do it with your keywords. Remember, you want your profile to be readable and interesting so you can make a great impression.
2. Build Connections Constantly
LinkedIn provides you with ample opportunity to find new connections and invite them to your network. You can:
- Browse your ‘People You May Know’ recommendations
- Import your email contacts
- Upload files of contact
- Browse members of your groups
- Find Alumni
- Carry out an advanced search to specify job title, location, industry and more.
Plus, the more frequently you check your recommendations or scan your email contacts, then the more connections you’ll make and the bigger your network will become.
Tip: Only connect with members who can bring value to your network. For example, Thomas James from the other side of the world working in childcare is far from relevant to your latest web development plug.
3. Personalise Your Connection Requests
Every time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, personalise the message with your invitation. This will help you stand out from their other generic connection requests and will improve your chance of getting your invite accepted.
Some good things to include in your message:
- A short introduction to yourself
- Your reason for wanting to connect
- A benefit of connecting
Tip: If your invitation is accepted, it’s also a good idea to follow-up with a message expressing your gratitude. This is your opportunity to start building a relationship.
4. Join Groups
Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry or your business goals to reach a wider audience and gain more visibility for yourself and your brand. It’s also vital that you contribute regularly to your groups and join in with discussions to appeal to your group members and increase your connections.
What to contribute:
- Your latest blog posts
- Interesting articles
- News about your business
- Invitations to events
- Questions to generate discussion.
5. Share Updates Frequently
Groups are not your only opportunity to drum up engagement. Share frequent updates to your timeline to get more visibility in front of your connections. If someone likes, comments or shares your post then it could show up in the timelines of their connections, exposing your profile to an even wider audience. Share the types of quality content that you share in your groups and include hashtags to focus your updates around your business area.
What you share will define you as a credible authority in your industry and help you to build a relevant audience. Remember that LinkedIn is not for the personal or trivial updates about food and cats that you find on Facebook. Give out resource to appear valuable.
Tip: Always include a question or a call to action in your status to involve your audience and encourage interaction.
LinkedIn is your stage but you won’t appeal to your audience unless you put on a good show.