1. Personalize Your Connection Requests
When scrolling through LinkedIn’s list of “people you may know,” don’t simply click the blue outlined “connect” button. If you do, a generic request will be sent. Instead, go to the person’s page and click the solid blue “connect” button there. Doing so will bring up the box shown below and allow you to add a personal note with your connection request, such as “Good to meet you last week while traveling to Chicago. Let’s keep in touch.” If you’re interested in connecting with someone you don’t know, such as a person who works in a similar role at another company, use wording like, “I’ve seen your posts and noticed some of your work. I really appreciate your perspectives and would love to connect.”
2. Follow Up
Believe it or not, networking can still happen the good-old-fashioned way by actually meeting people face-to-face. Shocking, I know. Did you meet someone at a trade show or conference? Volunteer or serve on a committee for a charity event? How about the business owner at your favorite coffee shop, your healthcare provider, yoga instructor, classmates…you get the idea. It’s easy to overlook connections you come in contact with every day, so reach out.
3. Set Monthly Growth Goals
Getting from 100 connections to 500+ seems like an impossible feat. However, if you divide that number over many weeks or months, it doesn’t seem so insurmountable. For example, instead of setting a goal of going from 100 connections to 500+, try setting your goal to 175 connections within two weeks; then repeat. Remember, the key to setting goals is to make them realistic.
4. Post Often
This one is self explanatory. When a connection “likes” your status update, all of their connections are more likely to see your original post in their feed. If your content seems relevant to them, they may take the step to sending an invitation to connect. Posting more often creates additional opportunities to receive likes, shares and comments, thus syndicating your content across home page feeds everywhere.
5. Use Images
Using images on social posts can significantly increase engagement with people in your existing network and exposure to potential connections. How much? Research shows that using visual content will increase views by 11 times.
6. Engage With Existing Connections
Engaging with existing connections puts your profile directly in front of their networks; and all it takes is a “like” or comment. A simple, “Great thoughts” or “Thanks for sharing” can help expand your reach. Commenting with your personal insights or questions will increase engagement and exposure even more.
7. Promote Your LinkedIn URL on Other Social Channels
Chances are, whatever social media platform you use most often gives you space for a bio. Using that bio to its fullest potential could be a connection-driving machine when you encourage viewers to connect on LinkedIn, especially if you have a significant following on that platform.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to promote your LinkedIn profile by posting the link in a status update, tweet, pin, video, photo, etc. This is another great way to take advantage of your presence on other platforms. Just be sure to claim your vanity url. Also, while not a social channel, don’t forget the simplicity of adding your LinkedIn profile link to your email signature.
8. Leverage Keywords in Your Profile
Similar to optimizing your website or copy for SEO, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to attract profile visitors based on the words you choose. Therefore, every single word counts. Use common variations of your job title and duties to ensure you’re not invisible because of semantics. For example, is your job title “Content Manager?” You likely have many roles including copywriter, website editor, creative writer, communications specialist, blogger and more. Someone may be more likely to search connections who perform specific functions rather than search by their formal titles.
9. Engage in Groups
There are likely thousands of LinkedIn Groups that have some type of association with your professional life, but don’t discount groups that may be affiliated with other interests or previous work experience. Did you make a career shift several years ago? Check out a group or two related to your previous work to stay engaged. Are you passionate about a hobby? Research groups that might be relevant—you never know where it might lead. If you choose to post unique content in groups, make sure you consistently do so. The real key, however, is engaging on others’ posts. A simple like or comment can help establish rapport that leads to a connection.