Monday 15th February 2016

How to grow your professional network on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a professional social network, therefore networking is one of the basic purpose of it. To make the most of it, you need to establish connections as a start and interact with them. We’ve already explained how to gain access to decision makers through LinkedIn. Here are a few more tips on how to grow your LinkedIn network.

  • Connect with existing clients, customers, and partners. It’s good to have all of your work contacts in one place and connect with all on LinkedIn. The easiest way is to import your contacts lists directly from webmail services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, or import .csv or vCard files from any other e-mail client (Outlook, Mac Address Book and others). Click “Add Contacts” at the dropdown menu in My Network tab and follow instructions. LinkedIn will suggest your new LinkedIn connections based on imported contacts and you can easily connect with them.

 

  • Use LinkedIn features “Find Alumni” and “People You May Know” to find old contacts. You may have forgotten of some people you’ve studied together or worked with and might want to re-connect with them professionally. Think about previous jobs, schools, volunteer service, etc. When you click on “Find Alumni” LinkedIn will first show you your 1st level connection with the same school as yours on LinkedIn profile. You connections are followed by others, you have not connected yet. When you see someone, you want to connect to, use Add contact icon in the bottom of the tile.

    You can also use “People You May Know” option. It shows LinkedIn suggestions to connect to people. You can “Connect” with people on the list or you can use “Add to network” to invite them to join LinkedIn if their e-mail address (you have imported) is not in LinkedIn database.
     

  • Search for new LinkedIn connections or connect with other LinkedIn members directly. When you are growing your LinkedIn network and you know better, who you are looking for, you can use Search; either to get to decision-makers or to find colleagues from specific industries, companies, etc. You can also connect to a specific person directly from his/her LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind, that if you connect through a person’s profile, LinkedIn requires that you show how you are connected (via a company you worked for, a school you attended or, if you indicate that the person is a friend, you should know his/her mail).

  • Let connecting with LinkedIn become your routine. Every time you meet someone you would like to have in your professional network, ask him or her to connect on LinkedIn. Conferences, industrial fairs, professional discussions on LinkedIn (in Groups, for instance), your daily work with people, even private life occasions are great opportunities. If you have a LinkedIn mobile app on your phone, you can connect with them in real-time.

  • Connect responsibly. Grow your network but do it responsibly. LinkedIn members might reject your invitation and to many rejections can restrict your ability to invite others. You will have to know their e-mail addresses if you want to connect.

  • Accept connection invitations, but not from everyone. Don’t forget to accept requests to connect, but don’t connect unselectively. Connect to people you know and trust. Check their profiles and if you find no connection to you or your industry, it’s better that you do not connect. There are some spammers on LinkedIn, who use LinkedIn connections to gather or steal personal data. 

  • Decide how you want to grow your network. LinkedIn will keep making recommendations to connect and you will keep getting connection invitations. It’s good that decide where on the networking scale you want to be. Find your way between being extremely selective (only connect with people you know well) or completely open and connect to anybody (some LinkedIn members call themselves LIONs – LinkedIn Open Networker and have special groups). Keep in mind, there are some risks with being too open.

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