Now you’ve got your LinkedIn profile set up and fully filled in, it’s time to start connecting with people and building your network. This isn’t as straightforward as simply connecting with every profile you see as this will only fill your timeline and network with what will amount to a bunch of strangers with no real relevancy to you, your company or your goals with LinkedIn. Reducing the strength of your network means your contacts are less likely to engage with your posts of be able to introduce you to 2nd degree contacts. However, you do want to connect with everyone who you do have a legitimate reason for knowing. When building your connections don’t just think in business terms. Family members, close school and university friends and former work colleagues could all have links to the people who you want to connect with.
Action Point: Go to “My Network” then “Add connections” or select the option to import connections from a file or virtual address book. Furthermore, you can use the LinkedIn mobile app to search through your phone contacts to make sure there aren’t any obvious connections missing. A good sign that you’re on the right track will be that the phone book search won’t find anyone!
Sending personal messages with a connection request
This next tip may seem obvious to some, but a lot of people will still be requesting to connect with you without adding a personalized message! The personal message you send should of course be tailored towards the reason you want to connect, but can include the following
- Why you want to connect
- Any mutual connections you may have
- What they can gain from having you in their network
- Where you met them
This can also help you if the connection you’re making could be a potential prospect 6+ months down the line, as you’ll be able to see the message history between you and will serve as a reminder of how you met and any personal connections you may have.
Conversely, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has received a connection request but hasn’t received a personal message. You may be thinking how you know this person or what possible reason they have for trying to connect with you. You may choose to ignore the request, but this may not be the smartest move! They may have a good reason for connecting or even want your services. A good choice would be to “Reply but don’t accept yet” to start a conversation and find out their motives. For a bit more information on how you can make the most out of networking on LinkedIn, take a look at this article on https://www.business.com/articles/linkedin-networking-tips/
Action Point: Always send a message when connecting with someone including some of the bullet points mentioned above. This lets them know who you are, how they might know you and why you’re connecting. It gets the relationship off to a good start and can increase the strength of your network.
Interacting with your network
Once you’ve built up your network to include several important connections, it’s vital that you don’t miss any of the content that they put out so that you can remain relevant in their network. Thankfully, the Sale Navigator feature on LinkedIn Premium lets you tag your important connections. This allows you to sort your feed according to the different tags that you’ve given to your connections, letting you prioritize the profiles of people that you want to interact with more frequently.
Action Point: One of the tags you could set up would be “Collaborators”, who are individuals who work at other companies but have the same target audience as you. Collaborators can provide you with access to larger audiences and key new contacts. By commenting and liking posts of your collaborators, you’re making yourself visible to their connections which could amount to another lead! Take a look at https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/native-advertising/lead-gen-ads to learn more about generating leads on LinkedIn.
In conclusion, you want to pay careful attention to who is in your network and how you’re interacting with them. Make sure that every one of your connections have relevance to your goals and that you avoid adding complete strangers, as this will only lead to a weaker network.