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Top 5 Foolproof Learnings To Grow LinkedIn Network

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Today, LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform with a staggering 135 million users and a targeted audience of business professionals. If you are a professional or a business owner and do not have a powerful presence on LinkedIn, you are missing out on important opportunities to build relationships and connect with potential clients, customers, peers and partners.

Following are the top 5 foolproof ways to grow your LinkedIn Network and eventually your business.

1. Optimize Your Profile

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This is your best opportunity to make a great first impression. Your profile picture plays a key role in making connections. Upload a professional profile picture that makes you look confident and sharp. Next is the headline. You only have 120 characters at the top of your profile to describe what you do and grab peoples’ attention. Use brief, relevant, descriptive and compelling keywords so the right professionals on LinkedIn can discover you easily. An effective way of achieving this is to add a ‘specialty’ section at the bottom of your profile description. Here you can list any skills or phrases commonly associated with job descriptions that will help those looking for your skills find you.

The next step to take for SEO is to personalize your URL. By default, LinkedIn generates a URL full of numbers which hinders your online visibility. It is highly recommended to change this to your full name—either first name before your surname or, if already taken, first name after the surname. Include a link to your Twitter profile where you can have more than one Twitter accounts listed. Give people an additional way to connect with you! Make your entire LinkedIn profile publicly visible to everyone because being invisible won’t help you build your network.

2. Make New Connections

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LinkedIn’s unique feature allows you to see who has viewed your profile. This is a great tool to find connections that may be interested in your company but if you are just starting out on LinkedIn and building your network, you first need to establish your presence. You can do this easily by connecting with your clients. For instance, if you have just finalized a deal with a new client, you can immediately follow him up with a LinkedIn request. Apart from this, send an invitation to existing contacts though the “Add Connections” option. Find colleagues from your current and past work experience and send them invitations to connect. Search for classmates from high school and college to connect with. Examine the “People You May Know” list that suggests people you may like to connect with.

3. Personalize Invitations

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Send invitations with a personal touch to stand out. As mentioned, if you are connecting with someone who is a member of a common group, you already have a shared interest to work with. A good thing to do when reaching out to someone you don’t really know is to do a bit of research by digging into their profile and find something interesting to comment on. Your invite may then look something like this: ‘Hi Mark, I see you have also been a marketing professional for more than ten years! It would be a pleasure to connect with you.’ Adding a simple personalized touch like this is certainly a smart way to increase your invitation’s conversation rate.

4. Nurture Your Existing Relationships

A network is as valuable or as dormant as you make it. With LinkedIn, it’s easy to be in touch with your connections through the ‘LinkedIn Contacts’ option that monitors, updates and encourages you to interact with your connections regularly. You can also leverage the dedicated publishing platform where users post original content on issues they consider worthwhile. The platform allows you to follow and engage with publishers, as well as post your own content and thus, build your own followers in the process. Whether you are looking for a consistent stream of inbound leads, a job or a new career, LinkedIn provides the tools for developing a network of valuable connections that can support you in achieving your professional objectives.

5. Join Groups and Participate

You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn. This allows you to become a member of groups that are industry related, networking focused and learning centered. Furthermore, it gives you a platform to interact with other people in that group and thus, a greater chance of making connections. Be a part of groups that are relevant to your business and target markets. For example, if you run a local business, look for groups that concentrate on where you live or work. Also, join peer groups, alumni groups and groups that are organized around professional and personal topics that intrigue you the most. Once you’re in the group, you should start engaging. Share your content with others, participate in discussions and make others aware of yourself. When you feel you are ready to reach out to the members, run a filtered search and create a list of prospects based on job titles, location or a variety of criteria for that matter. Once you’ve found them, connect with them.

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Strive to review and participate in group discussions at least once per week. Utilize your time by focusing on three to five groups at most. Otherwise it will be difficult to keep up with all the conversations. Lastly, think about groups where your target audience might be present. Join those groups to be visible and valuable to such people with the resources and insights you have. Share pertinent and resourceful content that can help other members in the group. Ask questions, express your opinion and respond to comments.

Conclusion

In this day and age of social media, it is believed that your network is your most important asset. LinkedIn is the most effective platform to form and nurture your professional relationships and take your career to new heights. Like financial assets, you need to invest a lot of time and effort in building your LinkedIn network to get significant returns. However, LinkedIn requires a different approach from other social media platforms. To build a network of truly valuable connections, it is important to redefine how you value your online relationships and only then you can move on to the next step: growing your network. The tools mentioned above can be highly useful in expanding your professional circuit if leveraged well. All in all, LinkedIn provides a powerful audience that you can interact and engage with and influence thereafter.

Image Credits: socialmediaexaminer.com

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