Updated: May 30
The expansion of remote working and the growing importance of social networking for social selling has many professionals exploring how to grow on LinkedIn and whether they’re doing everything they can to enhance their presence.
Indeed on LinkedIn, as in life, “your network is your net worth”.
Now with 756 million users in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is the clear leader for connecting with businesses, companies, job seekers and employers looking to fill positions.
Your success on this social community is directly proportional to the size and the quality of your network of professional connections on the platform. You’d think out of 756 million users, it wouldn’t be difficult to connect with 500+ people and become a big connector. But after you’ve exhausted your own contacts list, it can be tough to know if you’re using the most effective methods. New users need to ask not only whom they should connect with, but also whom they shouldn’t connect with. At the same time, that hesitation can slow your progress toward building new connections and expanding your network.
So, how can you expand your professional network on LinkedIn in an effective way and make sure all those new contacts are relevant to your professional and business goals? These tips can help you grow your network and get results that support your success:
Complete your profile and keyword optimise it.
Send connection requests.
Create LinkedIn content.
Explore LinkedIn groups.
Promote your profile.
1) Complete your profile and keyword optimise it:
LinkedIn right now is like Google in the early days: the more you write a particular keyword in your profile, the greater weighting the LinkedIn algorithm gives to your page when people are searching for that. Therefore fill your profile page with popular (that are relevant to you) search terms that people on LinkedIn are likely to be searching for.
Remember to complete your profile. Everything is important: summary, skills, work history, recommendations,
education, etc. It is very easy to do, LinkedIn basically shows you all the instructions for how to make sure your profile is 100% completed.
This is like an ‘always on’ inbound strategy. Indeed a well-optimised profile on LinkedIn makes you more findable so whether you do any proactive activity on the platform or not, your profile will rise to the top of keyword searches made by other people, who have a high likelihood of adding you if you fit what they’re looking for.
2) Send connection requests:
Invite co-workers from past and present companies.
This is very simple, LinkedIn offers ways for you to easily find people also from your past companies that are LinkedIn members and you can then connect up without knowing their e-mail address. However, you can only find people if your profile is up-to-date. That means the more companies you say that you worked for in your profile, the more colleagues you will find. Therefore remember to complete your profile for every job you have held since you started working for optimum results. This may sound elementary, but the answer to the question of how to grow on LinkedIn begins here.
Invite classmates from present and past schools
In the same way you can find old classmates. So you need to have your profile updated for every school that you have attended but maybe not all of them.. I would recommend putting every school you attended starting from high school as well as summer and study abroad programs to maximize the benefits here.
Invite business and personal contacts from your email database
LinkedIn will conveniently check your digital address books and allow you to see who from your database is on LinkedIn and then automatically generate an invitation with one easy push of the button.
But I caution you here not to just invite everyone that shows up on these lists. You really need to go through the results here carefully and only keep the checks on those people that are on LinkedIn (they should be displaying in a different color with more information) and you feel will add value to your network. Indeed LinkedIn places an initial limit on the
number of invitations that can be sent out to 3,000. That’s definitely a lot of invitations that will take you time to burn through, but you will burn through them as you navigate through the members of this 700+ million strong community and build your network. So if there are contacts who are not on LinkedIn that you invite and never sign up, your
invitation will be wasted. Whether the invitation is accepted, ignored, not delivered, etc., it doesn’t matter. Your invitation has been used up.
Invite LinkedIn group members from groups that you belong to
There are many groups that you can easily search for and join on LinkedIn. Joining a group benefits you in that you can
now search within your group as part of an Advanced Search and see people that may not already be part of your
As for inviting people from within a group, make sure that you check their profile, and if they say nothing about being open to connecting, make sure that you have a minimal number of mutual connections with them. I would start with a minimum number of 5 mutual connections but raise that as you increase your number of connections and thus potential mutual connections with others you don’t know. If the above conditions aren’t met, do not risk yourself by inviting them.
Invite other people in your network to connect after finding them on an Advanced Search
This is the most popular method of how to get more connections on LinkedIn when you want to scale your network growth quickly. It is also the way that most LinkedIn automation tools work.
But remember that you will get kicked out of LinkedIn if you do not respect the wishes of others that do not want to be bothered by invites, which they will report back as spam.
The people you find in your concentrated search that you absolutely would like to contact but are not part of any common group or show any preference to open networking and have few if any mutual connections are the most difficult yet sometimes the most valuable people to be in contact with.
Before inviting these people, I suggest that you send them an InMail, or if they have an email address listed somewhere in their profile, first send them an email indicating why you would like to connect with them. If they have a paid LinkedIn account, you might be able to send them a free InMail through their LinkedIn profile. On the other hand,
if you become a paid member, you do have an opportunity to send out InMails as part of your subscription.
One rule of thumb that I have used is if they have their email address in their profile they are open to being contacted, but remember to first always read their profile and contact settings before attempting a connection.
Personalize your LinkedIn connection requests
In general it’s important to understand how to connect with someone on LinkedIn in a way that puts them at ease. When scrolling through LinkedIn’s list of “people you may know”, don’t simply click the connect button and fire off a generic request.
Instead, click into the individual’s profile page and click the connect button there. That will bring up the box shown below and allow you to add a personal note with your connection request, like “Good to meet you last month in London. Let’s keep in touch.”
If you’re interested in connecting with someone you don’t know, such as a person who works in a similar role at another company, add relevance by letting them know why you’re messaging them. You might say, “I’ve seen your posts and noticed some of your work. I really appreciate your ideas and would love to connect.”
3) Create LinkedIn content
Start by writing stories about you, how you made an achievement, your expertise, your skills etc.
While creating content on LinkedIn, you need to follow a structure:
Create a Hook: Just like the summary, LinkedIn posts also show only the first 3-5 lines. This makes it important for you to write an attention grabbing line to make the reader pause on your post, read it all through and engage.
Use White Space: LinkedIn hates big blocks of paragraphs that ache in the reader’s eye and makes them skip posts. While writing posts on LinkedIn, write 1, 2 or maximum 3 lines, then use break and write again. This is a key to ace LinkedIn posts.
Organise With Bullet Points: Highlight and bring attention to your most important information with bullet points (listed or unlisted bullets). That is great for keeping your posts clean and organised.
Use Less Emojis: Emojis are always good to add to bring life to your post but do not overdo it. Using 2 to 4 emoji in a post is the best way to keep it simple, effective and interactive. If you want to add more, you can use them as listicles just like bullet points, to highlight the most important parts.
Use Call To Action: Ending your post with a CTA is very important so ask your readers a question or give them an instruction to perform a task.
Add Hashtags: LinkedIn is not the same as Instagram, and so is the application of hashtags. When ending your post, only add 3 to 4 relevant hashtags to your niche or to the theme you are talking about.
Grab attention with visual content: Research suggests that Posts with images get twice as many views an posts with video content are re-shared 20 times more. Adding images to your social posts increases engagements with people in your existing network, and boosts exposure to potential connections.
Invite engagement by posting often
When a connection likes, shares, or comments on your status update, their connections are more likely to see your original post in their feed. If your content seems relevant, those “2nd-degree” connections may take the step to reach out and send an invitation to connect with you. So posting more often creates additional opportunities for engagement, thus syndicating your content across home page feeds everywhere.
Above all, engaging is the greatest key to grow on any platform (Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn).
LinkedIn has an intense power of comments, it forms a chain. When someone engages on your post, it shows up on their feed because they took out the time to comment on your post. When this happens, there is the highest chance of their network to see your LinkedIn post. If they like and resonate with your post, they will engage too and this engagement chain continues.
Don’t write generic comments like “thanks for sharing” or “awesome”. If you want to grow and stand out through comments, add something on the post: write your opinion, if you resonate with the post, tell how you resonate with it,
if someone has shared their personal experience or personal story and you have experienced something similar, tell them how it made you feel.
Just engaging with people’s posts is not enough. You need to start conversations with them. For example you can say “Hey, I read your XYZ post and I wanted to ask________ .” And boom! You have started a conversation. You have taken a step towards networking with people.
But keep in mind to start the conversation to talk and learn, not selling yourself or your business. When you start talking to them and ask about them, they will definitely ask back to you, about you and about your work. This starts building your network with them. You won’t get a project or reference for a job by them instantly but it will come at the right
time because they remember.
Through LinkedIn stories
LinkedIn rolled out the story feature last year. Recently the feature has an added swipe up option. This means you have great chances of showing up along with the CTA.
You can share your work process, projects, features, achievements and other things relevant to you and your connections. Leveraging stories is definitely a great way to connect with your network and start a conversation.
5) Explore LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups offer topic-specific spaces where you can connect within your industry or specialty to build relationships and share information and expertise. Groups are created and moderated by their own leaders and gatekeepers and have their own sets of rules, so be sure to review rules and expectations before requesting to join.
While there are “open networking groups” that you might be tempted to join, today I stick to the approach of only joining those groups that meet my objective and that I can bring value to. If you do so, you will be more likely to receive invites from serious group members that aren’t necessarily open networkers.
6) Promote your LinkedIn profile
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram give you space for a bio. Use those bio spaces as a LinkedIn connection-driving machine by encouraging contacts there to find you and connect on LinkedIn, especially if you have a significant following on the other platform.
Another great way to take advantage of your presence on other social platforms is to promote your LinkedIn profile by posting the link in a status update, tweet, video photo, etc. Just be sure to claim your vanity url so it’s easy to remember and includes important identity information or keywords.
Facebook is where all the best professional networking goes down nowadays. A lot of Facebook groups are all filled with thousands of proactive, dynamic individuals and entrepreneurs that are looking to connect and build their networks. Most importantly they often have roll call posts where moderators ask members to post their Linkedin
profiles with the explicit purpose of getting people in the Facebook group to connect over Linkedin. Find groups like these, post your Linkedin URL and watch your connections blow up!
While it’s not a social channel, don’t forget the simplicity and outright importance of adding your LinkedIn profile link to your email signature.
How many LinkedIn connections is good? There isn’t a specific answer as it may vary depending on your goal. Others say 100 is ideal, while other people say it’s better to reach “magic 500”. If you are a job seeker, a few hundred sounds enough. However, if you reach 500+ connections, you’ll most likely get more opportunities and business leads. If you
are aiming to be a “super connector”, you would want to reach 1,000-3,000 connections.
It may take time and effort before you can reach enough connection but it will be worth it. Following these tips should make growing your LinkedIn network less intimidating, more realistic, more productive over time, and ultimately much more fun. Maybe a new internship knocks at your door, maybe a potential lead, or a new project --- who knows what LinkedIn gets you! But remember, this will take time. So all you have to do is nurture your skills and LinkedIn to help you grow.