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.
A quick clarification on LinkedIn connections
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.
- Once you connect with another user, that’s considered a 1st-degree connection.
- LinkedIn shows 2nd and 3rd-degree connections, or people who you know through someone else.
- 1st-degree connections can send each other messages, see updates on the other’s page, and sync contact information to send emails back and forth.
The benefits of developing high-quality LinkedIn connections
- Having relevant 1st-degree connections opens you up to more 2nd and 3rd-degree connections, some of which may help with your business or in finding you a job.
- The connections system is great for finding an “in” with someone you don’t know. Want to land an expert interview for your podcast or blog? Check LinkedIn to see which of your real-world connections is friends with that expert.
- Suitable connections make for stronger newsfeeds. You’ll see content that assists in your business dealings, especially if your connections are active on LinkedIn.
- Other people are more likely to reach out to you for partnerships, hiring, and other business dealings if your network is managed well.
- Top-notch connections can lead to invitations to industry groups and content ideas.
How to get more LinkedIn connections that actually mean something
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.
Post useful status updates on a regular basis
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:
- An increased chance that people keep noticing you and wonder who you are.
- Improved rates for comments, likes, and shares.
- More opportunities for people to communicate with you or connect.
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.
Relevant articles from around the web
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.
Engage with your LinkedIn connections with tips, praise, and thoughts about articles
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.
Share your LinkedIn Business details in marketing materials
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?
- Social media
- Local directory sites like Google My Business
- Business cards
- Your email signature
- Some ads
- eBooks or case studies
- Landing pages
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.
Join and participate in LinkedIn Groups (or make your own)
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:
- Search for group topics you have a professional interest in. It’s okay to join personal interest groups, but the idea is to gain more professional contacts.
- Check to see if your current connections are in any groups.
- Before joining a group, look at the conversation inside the group. It’s possible that it’s a stagnant group with no activity or one littered with spam. Avoid those.
- Treat a group like you would your usual, professional LinkedIn posts. Share valuable information on a regular basis, but stick to the group topic.
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.
Post your own LinkedIn articles to the publishing platform
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!
Add keywords and hashtags to your profile and posts
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.
Encourage your in-person network to connect
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:
- “Yup, I have a LinkedIn. Give me your name and I’ll connect.”
- “Shoot, I should get on LinkedIn.”
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:
- Print your LinkedIn URL on your business card. This way, you only have to point to it or mention it.
- Instead of barraging people with mentions of your LinkedIn page, ask those same people if they have any experience with LinkedIn. This is a question of curiosity, showing that you’re interested in learning and seeing if others are finding success with it.
- If you organize the event, create a signup sheet or online form that includes a field to write or type in LinkedIn usernames. That’s a solid plan for ending your night with a long list of new connections!
Send the occasional connection request (without the classic LinkedIn spam elements)
There’s only one rule to sending direct messages: Use it like a personal email.
- Don’t spam anyone.
- Refrain from using a template. Personalization is better.
- Avoid using some sort of third-party automated messaging tool.
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.
How to figure out if a LinkedIn connection is a good one (and how to clean house)
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:
- Is the connection invitation from someone you know? If not, do you have similar friends?
- Did the connection begin with a templated, spammy direct message? If so, just delete these users.
- Do you have similar skills listed in your profiles?
- Are you both associated with similar companies or LinkedIn Groups?
- Does this person share valuable industry information on their newsfeed? They may not be a potential business partner, but you could use them for obtaining knowledge.
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.
Continual engagement and maintenance of your LinkedIn connections
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.
The post How to Get More High-Quality LinkedIn Connections to Boost Your Career appeared first on Revive Social.