Growing your LinkedIn connections is a quality over quantity game. However, recognize, until you get to the point of 500 plus connections, you are kind of in the newbie group. It is important to get to over 500 connections, but, at the same time, connect with the right people and building meaningful relationships.
There are all different schools of thought on building your LinkedIn connections. We know some purists who do not quite get social selling and are not big into online networking; they refuse to connect with anyone they do not meet offline, have a relationship with, or can’t personally vouch for. This is a mistake.
Who to Connect With
LinkedIn it is not just about connecting with people you know offline and have/had a business or personal relationships with. Your LinkedIn connections should consist of:
- People that can help you in your career
- People that can help you in your business
- People that can introduce you to potential business partners
- People that can introduce you to potential clients
- People you can learn from
For example, there are many people online I am connected with on LinkedIn because I loved the content they shared and wanted to see their posts and LinkedIn Pulse articles on a regular basis. Regarding growing your reach, there are a lot of different ways to do it.
Building Your Connections
When building your connections, consider your offline network. Your offline network consists of people that would show up in your email address book, contact list, and CRM. As long as you
customize the message of why you want to connect with them, these connections should be low hanging fruit.
You can cross-pollinate across social media channels. For example, if there are people you are friends with on Facebook that you also want to engage with professionally, you could certainly invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. The same goes for Twitter, if you are active on Twitter, invite the people that follow you on to also connect with you on LinkedIn.
Another way to build your followers is to invite people that attend your online and offline events to connect with you on LinkedIn; there are a couple of different ways to approach this. My recommendation is to send a connect invitation within a day or two of the conference with a note saying something like, “Hey, it was great to chat with you at the reception. I enjoyed learning about what your company is up to, and I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network.” People that download your white papers, ebooks, and special reports, are also fair game on LinkedIn.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Recognize there is a certain core group of people that have LinkedIn accounts but are not active on LinkedIn. There are a few key things to look for to spot infrequent LinkedIn users:
- They have less than 500 connections
- They have significantly less than 500 connections
- Their profile is pretty thin and lacking details
- They do not have a profile picture
Unfortunately, LinkedIn does not have much transparency and will not explicitly state when a user last logged in.
Recognize that while there are many people you will send a connect request to where they will connect back right away, there will also be a fair amount of people you send requests to that will sit and collect dust for days or months before they will accept your connect request.
There are many different ways to build your LinkedIn connections, and you should look at it as an extension of your digital brand that will build up over time.
What is your strategy for building your LinkedIn connections? Let us know in the comments below.
To learn more about social selling and using LinkedIn as a business tool, download our guide “3 Revenue Growth Opportunities You Business May Be Missing.”