So confession time, I’m a raging introvert. Networking receptions were never comfortable for me and…
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking platform, has come a long way since its inception in 2003. Originally conceived as a platform to post our online resumes, it has evolved into a powerful thought leadership platform where professionals connect, share ideas, and cultivate meaningful relationships. In the same way that the platform has evolved, so should our thinking about how to grow our networks.
LinkedIn started as a platform primarily focused on individual professional profiles, allowing users to showcase their skills, experience, and education. When we launched our LinkedIn profile, so came the ability to invite people into our network, as well as respond to invitations to join other’s networks.
Every user on LinkedIn has the ability to control who comes and goes from our LinkedIn network, but as the platform has turned to “thought leadership”, our rules for growing our networks have changed. LinkedIn offers tremendous opportunities for professionals to connect with like-minded individuals, expand their network, and advance their careers. If growing your opportunities is on your radar for this year, leaning into strategies to grow your network with relevant connections will help you achieve your LinkedIn goals and objectives.
Strategies for Growing Your LinkedIn Network:
- Optimize Your Profile: By crafting a compelling and complete profile that speaks to your target audience, you’ll attract the right types of connections to your Profile. Highlight your skills, experience, and achievements when working with your target audience to show how you can be helpful to them and their work. Use a professional photo, write a captivating summary, and include relevant keywords to enhance discoverability.
- Engage Actively: Regularly engage with your network by commenting on their LinkedIn content and sharing valuable content of your own. This demonstrates your knowledge and commitment to your industry, attracting the attention of like-minded professionals and potential connections.
- Personalize Connection Requests: When reaching out to new connections, personalize your messages to establish a genuine connection. Mention shared interests, mutual connections, or specific articles/posts that caught your attention. Personalized messages are more likely to receive a positive response and kickstart the relationship to further dialogue.
- Join Relevant Groups: While many LinkedIn Groups lack engagement, there are some that are full of engaged and relevant connections. Find and join LinkedIn groups that align with your professional interests and goals. Participate in discussions, offer insights, and connect with other group members who share similar passions. Engaging in groups allows you to expand your reach and connect with individuals beyond your immediate network. You can read more about LinkedIn Groups here.
- Attend Industry Events: LinkedIn Events, LinkedIn Live video shows, and LinkedIn Audio shows allow you to discover and join virtual or in-person industry events. Attend webinars, workshops, and conferences related to your field to connect with professionals who are passionate about the same subjects. Follow up with personalized connection requests after the event to continue the conversation!
- Seek Referrals: Leverage your existing network to obtain referrals for relevant connections. Request introductions from mutual connections who can vouch for your professionalism and expertise. Referrals carry more weight and increase the likelihood of successful connections.
A note about LinkedIn Pods: Are They Worth It?
In recent years, the concept of LinkedIn pods, also known as engagement pods, has gained attention. These pods are groups of LinkedIn users who agree to like, comment, and share each other’s posts in an effort to boost engagement metrics. While the idea may seem appealing at first, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks.
LinkedIn pods may inflate engagement numbers artificially, but they often lack genuine value. The goal of LinkedIn is to foster meaningful connections and engage with quality content. Relying on pods for engagement undermines the authenticity and credibility of your network. Instead, focus on building connections based on shared interests, mutual respect, and genuine engagement. This approach will yield long-term benefits and ensure that your network is filled with valuable connections.
Are you ready to grow your thought leadership and grow your network? Consider LinkedIn to be your platform of choice!
To learn more LinkedIn tips, follow Leanne on LinkedIn (or better yet, send her a personalized connection request and reference this blog post!).