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Jan 19, 2016

Why LinkedIn Connections Matter and How to Grow Your Network

by jimena | No Comments

LinkedIn can be an intimating social network to use. Once you create your profile, you have access to millions of highly successful people working at some of the premier companies around the world.

It can feel like daunting task to create an engaging profile that leads others to want to connect. I’m here to tell you that although growing your LinkedIn connections can seem difficult at first, it is much easier than you think, and you are fully capable of doing so.

Similar to other social networks, LinkedIn is focused on building relationships, called connections. LinkedIn has established that having 500 connections or more establishes you as a networker and influencer on their site.

While 500+ connections are great, it’s important to note that these need to be quality connections. Don’t connect with just anyone to reach that number. LinkedIn is not a place to rack up friends like you once did on MySpace. LinkedIn is a place for you to connect with other professionals who you can establish a business relationship with to help one another. Additionally, it is a place to reconnect with past colleagues, current co-workers and prospective clients.

How to Grow Your Connections?

Before you connect with anyone on LinkedIn, make sure you’ve created a quality profile including a picture, headline, summary and work experience. People will want to view your profile when you ask them to connect and if there is nothing to see, or worse it’s not compelling, chances are they’ll be less likely to engage with you. People want to know who you are and your profile is the place to establish your personal brand. Your profile can be a work in progress but it’s important to have some information complete before you start connecting.

See here for tips on how to write a profile that attracts business opportunities:

For more advanced training check out my profile optimization course on Udemy. Over 1400 students have taken this training:

Add Connections

At the top on the LinkedIn homepage, there is a drop down box that says My Network. Under this drop down, you have the option to select: Connections, Add Contacts, People Your May Know and Find Alumni. My first suggestion is to go to Add Contacts. This will then take you to a page that allows you to link your email account to your LinkedIn. LinkedIn then prompts you to send a simple email to your email contacts already on LinkedIn, asking them to connect.

Once you connect with someone, you categorize that individual with a tag. My suggestion is to categorize based on who that person is to you. This way, you can send targeted messages to your connections. For example, if someone is a prospect, you will communicate differnet with them than if they are a client. So be sure to segment your connections based on where they are a prospect, a referral source, a PR opportunity, investor, client, or even just friend.