The LinkedIn social media network is now used by over 150 million members worldwide with thousands more joining on a daily basis. It’s fair to say that there are plenty of people out there for you to be connecting with!
However who, out of all those to choose from, should we be connecting with? It’s important to remember that LinkedIn is a business-focused form of social media and the networks we are growing, at some point will add value to your businesses or professional career…or both simultaneously.
There are two possible viewpoints when it comes to accepting new connection requests.
- Some people will choose to connect only with people they know, this can be on either a personal level or business level.
- Others however, will have a much more open philosophy and are happy to connect with everyone, whether they know them or not. My personal feeling around this is that you need to grow a network that is relevant to you and your profession. So I would suggest that you are connecting with as many people as possible, providing that they are relevant to you and could potentially add value, if not immediately then, in the future.
As mentioned previously, providing your network and connections are relevant to you, no network on LinkedIn can be “too big”. However, as a guide to finding relevant connections, I would suggest four different aspects or areas which to target:
- Same industry – Vital for business growth – from the same old adage as “it’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know”
- Professional groups – Ideal for staying in touch and up-to-date with industry news and opinions
- Same location – It’s important to grow a local network – This will generate referrals and recommendations
- Colleagues – Promotes belonging and recognition – also good for sharing news and information
Nurture Your Connections
For LinkedIn users, there’s a number of different ways to stay in touch and maintain contact with your connections. Below are a couple of pointers which will help you to nurture your connections:
When you make new connections a simple message to say thank you and hello will have a bigger impact than you may think; initially sparking up conversation which can open up new doors.
Liking, Commenting and Sharing
It’s important to be active and interact with people that are outside of your existing network. This, in turn, could expand your network further.
Whenever you view a profile, the person can see that you have done so. More than likely, out of interest, they will view your profile in return and in most cases will lead to a connection or message.
Endorsing and Congratulating
It’s the little gestures that can sometimes make a big impact. Quick ad easy to do, endorsements and congratulating will enhance your reputation, making lasting impressions within your network.
When you share LinkedIn content I would suggest tagging the person or company, this will in turn get them commenting and sharing and open you up to a wider network.
Frequent and Consistent Updates
So now you’ve built up this great network, but now you need to share something with them! My key thought on this is that you need to find a balance between informative and annoying!
What I mean by this is that once you find good content to post it’s important that you don’t overkill it and run the risk of annoying people. I would suggest that two, but no more than three posts a day are needed. These posts need to be relevant to your network, such as industry updates, expert knowledge and relevant articles. Basically information that will appeal to the person reading it and ideally get them talking, the aim is to create interest and get people communicating with you and each other!
Building the right and a relevant network on LinkedIn is invaluable not only for you, but also for your own connections. Being connected to people within your industry, your local geographical area and professional groups will help to position you as a thought leader and the ‘go to’ person for the latest industry news and insight.