760 million LinkedIn users. How many are you connected to?
LinkedIn has been a successful social platform in helping its members to create unique profiles that aid them in expanding their professional network.
If you have been a user of LinkedIn for a couple of months now, your connection numbers might plateau after connecting with everyone you can remember of.
So the pickle is, How do I gain more connections on LinkedIn to expand my professional network today? Our step-by-step guide to expand your LinkedIn connections encompasses:
- Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
- Using tags and hashtags to expand reach
- Sending out LinkedIn connection requests
- Selective accept LinkedIn connection requests
- Sharing Content
In this article, let us look into some of the typical ways of how to build your network on LinkedIn.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile:
The basic requirements of your LinkedIn profile should serve these two questions –
- Who are you?
Who do you currently serve?
Do you know a common LinkedIn mistake? The most common mistake people make on LinkedIn is by filling their profile details with the same information as to their Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Resume.
Your LinkedIn profile should not be your resume! What your LinkedIn profile should be is an insight into who you are with your beliefs and opinions.
The value of your profile is illuminated when you are able to showcase how you can add value to others. This must be relevant to the role you are applying for as it should answer specifically to what your employer is looking for.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to constantly update your profile like the way LinkedIn operates, a well-optimized profile makes you more findable to others. Hence, you need to complete all necessary information if possible. The more complete your profile is, the more connections you will grow to have.
Use Tags and Hashtags To Expand Reach:
“Whatever you say about other people influences how people see you.” – Gretchen Rubin in ‘The Happiness Project’. Compliments are one of the best ways to make people like you immediately.
It is always encouraged for LinkedIn users to post or write letters of recommendation about others by using tags. Not only does this lift others’ profiles up, but it can reciprocate by exhibiting your gratefulness and eagerness to learn from others. This will look distinctly good on your profile as people will see you as someone who is friendly and open to others. Henceforth, people will be more willing to connect with you as they do not see you with any hostile intent.
Another method to expand your network is by adding hashtags in your articles and posts as it boosts your chances of being discovered by other LinkedIn members who follow or search up for the hashtag you have used, even those who are not connected to you. Hashtags on LinkedIn helps you stumble upon topics most relevant to you and give you the fortuitous encounter to engage with people with similar interests, thus leading to more connections on LinkedIn with people in your appealed subject.
Sending Out LinkedIn Connection Requests:
Apart from searching for old acquaintances and searching for people in the industries you are keen on, there is another tiny step you can do when sending out connection requests to people – personalising your requests.
By clicking into one’s profile, you can send a personalised message before connecting with someone. A tip to not scare someone away upon first messaging them: do not immediately bombarde someone with a purpose. Build it up! Speak and converse like how you would in real life. You need to resonate that it is difficult to ask something from someone you do not know personally in the first place, so you must not come off too strong or you will only chase them away.
What you can do instead is to find something on their profile that interests you to start or continue the conversation. If it is something you genuinely like, don’t be afraid to drop them a compliment! After all, ‘compliments are one of the best ways to make people like you immediately.’
Selectively Accept Connection Requests:
Be selective. It is not advisable to connect with people you do not know, especially if you do not have any mutual connections with the person. Your network needs to have meaning, people you can rely on in different industries.
If you connected with strangers, are they able to do anything for you if they do not actually know anything about you?
Thank people for reaching out to you and do not be afraid to be inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them, asking them how they found you. At the end of the day, don’t let your fear hold you back from having progression in your career. If you are genuine and honest with yourself, what’s there to lose?
As important as it is to have a bursting LinkedIn network, it should not be detrimental to its purpose. Do not connect with people just because you want to see that ‘Connections’ numbers go up but connect with them because you know that the connection itself can be mutually beneficial to each other.
Potential Reach – the estimation of how many people are in your target audience for you to connect with whenever you share something on your social platform. Posting various content on LinkedIn opens you up to a larger unreached audience. This is influential in not only augmenting the number of people who can see your post, but it also brings forth the benefit of people viewing you as a connection worth engaging with as your content is able to add value to them.
Engage with posts people in your network have shared. Psychologically, the Law of Reciprocity applies – when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice for them in return. By engaging with your network’s posts, you open up to them and make them feel more comfortable with you online.
Do not underestimate how taking out 3 minutes of your time to share a post or a video can do to expand your professional network!
‘Connecting must be part of your professional process, and it is something that you should never stop doing.’
Such methods are the most basic ways to expand your LinkedIn network and I am sure there are numerous other ways to do it. However, before you embark on expanding your LinkedIn network with higher complexity, these are the foundational methods I believe are exceptionally indispensable. This is because if you do not have these down in the bag, every other method you attempt to use to expand your network may only prove to be ineffective.
To conclude, refurbish your profile before you even think of sending it out or hoping to receive connections with others. Don’t be afraid to use tags and hashtags when sharing content and express your opinions on topics of interests. Once you actively start using these methods correctly, it would not be long until you start expanding your LinkedIn network, meaningfully.
- Kinsta -- ‘Mind-Blowing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (2020)’ https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/
- Independent – ’15 psychological tricks to make people like you immediately’ https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/sixteen-psychological-tricks-people-like-you-a7967861.html
- Neal Schaffer – ‘How to Build My Network On LinkedIn? Here are 13 ways to grow your LinkedIn Network’ https://nealschaffer.com/how-to-grow-your-linkedin-network/
- Dummies – ’10 Tips to Grow Your LinkedIn Connections: Expanding Your Network’ https://www.dummies.com/social-media/linkedin/10-tips-to-grow-your-linkedin-connections-expanding-your-network/
- The Muse – ‘Here’s what happened when I accepted over 300 random LinkedIn requests’ https://www.themuse.com/advice/heres-what-happened-when-i-accepted-over-300-random-linkedin-requests
- Sprout Social –‘What is the potential to reach?’ https://sproutsocial.com/glossary/potential-reach/
- LinkedIn – ‘5 Compelling Reasons to Publish on LinkedIn’ https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/best-practices--content-marketing/2016/5-compelling-reasons-to-publish-on-linkedin
- The Balance Careers – ‘Expand Your LinkedIn Network’ https://www.thebalancecareers.com/expand-your-linkedin-network-2059459