LinkedIn can be a vital tool when it comes to networking for your business. If you are not familiar with the importance of LinkedIn you could be left on the back foot when it comes to making those important connections. We investigate how to get your LinkedIn network functioning correctly and how to expand your contacts on this important platform by creating a strong network.
For those in the know, LinkedIn can be a wonderful tool for making important connections with like-minded people. This is incredibly important for businesses and those who are self-employed and looking to make connections with similar businesses, find new clients, and create a network of people who can push them in the right direction.
There are a few essential steps you need to consider before creating your desired network when it comes to LinkedIn.
Find Your Connections
Once you have signed-up, and you’ve perfected your profile including a professional headshot, a good bio and experience, now is the time to start finding your connections. It’s all about the personal touch, so when introducing yourself the tone of your introduction should be personal and easily read. Also consider reaching out to past associates and co-workers, particularly if they are still aligned with your current role or job description.
Consider connecting with:
- People you have had a meeting with, even an interview (that went well).
- Others you have connected with at events, online or personal.
- Customers – past and present.
Joining & Creating Groups
Choose your groups wisely. It’s important to ensure the groups you join also align with who you are trying to connect with or the business you are trying to promote on this platform. When you join a group, those members are also automatically added to your LinkedIn network. Meaning when they search for someone of your calibre you are much more likely to appear in their search results as you are already connected through the main group.
But be aware of creating open network groups. Yes, they can grow your network very quickly but are you connecting with those who are relevant to your industry and profession? Open networking groups allow LinkedIn members to join a group with anyone. However they can leave your network focus a little dishevelled, but it depends on what you are wanting to achieve – a focused network, or just connecting with others.
Connecting With Others
Look at the similar businesses and companies on LinkedIn and consider connecting. This is a wonderful way to see first-hand what others are doing in terms of posts, and networking in their field. Also, research businesses and others you would like to work with. Connecting with these industries will give you a great insight into the business and allow you to network with the right people.
If you connect with someone who meets your criteria and they have made their connections public, you will be able to see who they are connected with and send invitations based on your research if they are a valid to the network you are wanting to create.
You can also look for employees of a business that you perhaps want to work with. By connecting with these people, you can strike up conversations and reach out in a professional manner. You will also be able to comment on posts and interact with specific departments of a company that you are wanting to network with. These types of connections can be paramount when exploring new employment or just wanting to increase your network of professionals within your industry.
Use the LinkedIn search bar to look for industries, companies, or job types. You can also use filters such as location in this tool to help you zone in on exactly who and where you are trying to connect with. Searching within groups may also lead you towards individuals that you wish to connect with.
Cull Your Connections
Like all social media platforms, even the professional ones need a good cull now and again. Keeping your network relevant is vital in LinkedIn, so having a good look over your network from time to time and adjust and delete contacts as needed. It’s a good plan in the beginning to keep your network small, and more importantly – relevant.
Only connect with people who will increase the value of your network. In other words – don’t just connect with anyone. Be vigilant with who you chose to connect with and keep on your network file. Having too many connections can also be detrimental to your cause.
If it is impossible to scroll through all the posts and interact daily, then it may be time to pull back on the number of people in your LinkedIn network list – particularly if they are redundant contacts. As a networking channel, you need to be able to also keep those connections going, interact on occasion and keep up with what is occurring on a daily, or at least weekly basis. Having too many contacts may leave you endlessly scrolling and missing out on important conversations or posts due to the size of your network. Some accounts have a huge amount of network connections, and if these are relevant to your industry then there is no limit on how big your networking goal can be. Also, consider utilising LinkedIn analytics to track popular posts/articles and understand what your audience is reacting to.
If you are just starting out, however, keeping your network relevant and strong will keep you in good stead moving forward as it increases in size. Your network can be up to 30,000 first-degree contacts and you can send up to 3000 connection requests. But not in one go. LinkedIn does have invitation limits and restrictions and you will be restricted to 100 invites per week.
More Ways with LinkedIn
- Another way to ensure your LinkedIn is working well is to also check who is viewing your profile. If they are relevant, consider sending a connection request.
- Click on the ‘MY NETWORK’ and LinkedIn can automatically match you with people similar to your existing connections.
- Add a link to your LinkedIn profile page – think email signatures, social media, webinars, and your resume.
LinkedIn can be a wonderful tool for networking purposes for professionals looking for that important edge. With a little focus and refinement, you can create a strong network through this platform that can project you into the future with your business or job connections.