Word of mouth is extremely important in business and a strong online presence is quickly becoming an important factor in how you are perceived by your peers and potential employers. Social Media has done wonders for connecting people all over the world and LinkedIn is undoubtedly the most visible social media platform for professionals.
On the LinkedIn platform, connections are similar to friends or followers on other social media sites and depending on your number of LinkedIn connections, it can have a positive or negative impression.
In terms of numbers, having 500 or more LinkedIn connections indicates that you are a well-connected professional that employers and colleagues should take seriously. Those with years of experience in a particular industry may find it easier to meet this threshold but entry-level professionals may have harder time securing that many LinkedIn connections quickly. Though it is not immediately obvious how to do so, it is very possible to increase your LinkedIn connections with a few carefully planned steps.
The easiest and possibly most important step in increasing your LinkedIn connections is to request connections on a daily basis. Perform a concentrated search for individuals in your industry and send invitations to them. Though they may not know you personally, they are likely to accept if you personalize your request.
Introduce yourself, share your interests or experience in the field and be sure to mention something that you may have in common based on their LinkedIn profile. If you became aware of their profile through a colleague or friend, mention that as well. Always be sure to keep your profile professional and avoid inundating visitors with a profile that heavily focuses on your personal pursuits.
Another great way to increase your number of connections is to add a link or URL to your email signature. If you think about how many people you email on a daily basis, adding this to your signature can exponentially increase your numbers. Professionals often inquire about locating colleagues on LinkedIn and this way they can just click on your personalized link rather than searching for your profile.
Simply navigate to your LinkedIn profile, click on your contact information then copy the link. You can then paste the link into your email signature and your colleagues have an easy way to locate your profile and connect.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, chances are you also maintain a profile on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter too. Scanning your list of friends or followers for potential connections is a smart way to quickly raise your number of connections. The great thing about this tip is you most likely already know these individuals to some degree.
One word of caution: If your other social media accounts portray you in a less-than-professional light, it may be wise to limit what can be seen by your connections or remove any posts or pictures that can be deemed controversial. The last thing you want to do is tarnish your professional reputation while you are trying to network with other professionals.
Following and engaging with your connections when they post updates is a great way to increase your reach to potential connections. Be sure to comment when appropriate and add value to conversations.
This will open dialogue with your connections and will also expose you to more professionals. This also makes it clear that you are very active on the platform and easy to communicate with. Consistency is key when engaging with other professionals as it demonstrates your reliability and responsiveness - both of which are critical in the professional world.
All of these steps are easy to implement and can be done on your own or with the assistance of a social media marketing specialist. Investing in a specialist to help you may prove to be well worth it if they have the necessary experience to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level. They are able give you pointers on what may have hindered your progress in the past as well as give insight on how to improve going forward.
If you choose to enlist the help of a social media marketing specialist, always be sure to choose someone with demonstrable skills and a proven record of success.
As with anything in your personal and professional life, it is imperative that you remain consistent to achieve success. Following the aforementioned steps will help you build a solid foundation of LinkedIn connections. Work diligently at creating and maintaining these professional connections and it won’t be long before you see improvement in your professional life.
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