7 Ways to Grow Your Connections on LinkedIn

connectionsIf you’re using LinkedIn you know that the greatest value comes from having a large list of contacts and a wide network of connections.  But how can you get your to your network to grow once you’ve searched for and linked to all the people you know?  Here are seven great tips to help you add more contacts.

  1. Ask and answer questions.  Click the “Answers” tab at the top of your profile and go the LinkedIn question and answer section.  Find topics that fit your area of expertise and post answers to open questions.   Some people position themselves as experts, answering dozens of questions each week.  Others ask questions under many different topics so that people outside of their area of expertise can become familiar with them.  Build your contact base by always taking the time to correspond privately with the people who’ve asked or answered your questions.
  2. Join professional groups.  There are hundreds of groups on LinkedIn.  Find the ones that fit your area of expertise and join them.  Once inside the group, contribute to discussions, ask questions, and post links to relevant articles. Here, too, you can grow your contact base by corresponding privately with individuals who post thoughtful commentary or who provide helpful answers to your questions.
  3. Join local area groups.  Use the Group search function in LinkedIn to find networking groups in your geographic area. Local groups often have meetups and business card exchange meetings that you can attend.  After the face-to-face meeting, invite the people you’ve met to connect with you.
  4. Start your own LinkedIn group.  This is even better than joining an established group because as the group moderator, everyone will become familiar with you.  Publicize your group, start discussions, and get other people interacting.  In the process, your list of contacts will grow.
  5. Invite connections. This is easiest to do if you’re in a group.  Inside your group, post a message indicating that are accepting connection invitations.  When people do invite you to connect, be sure to correspond with them a bit so you get to know them.  Presumably if you’re in the same group, you’ve got a number of things in common.
  6. Publicize your LinkedIn URL.  Add it to your business card, your e-mail signature, your website, your newsletter, and all other marketing pieces so that when people meet you or receive a message from you, they’ll know you’re on LinkedIn.  Some of these people will offer to connect with you.
  7. Ask people you meet.  When you get new clients, attend a conference, or find yourself in a social setting, always ask people if they’re on LinkedIn. Everyone you meet in the real world is a potential new connection on LinkedIn.
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