You can use it to build name brand awareness for your own personal brand and to help grow an employer’s business, too. And you can absolutely use it for job-searching purposes, with 6 people being hired through the platform every minute.
In order to take advantage of these incredible benefits, though, you need to have a strong network. Mass-spamming connection requests to anyone who seems to have a job title that’s in line with what you’re looking for definitely isn’t going to cut it.
Want to grow your network into something that can truly benefit you? These are the 6 tips that you need to know.
1. Look for People You Really Want to Engage With
You want to start by reaching out to people who you want to connect with. This can give you some early momentum in building a network.
It’s important, however, to be strategic in who you connect with.
Because sure, “connecting” with an industry superstar like Gary V would be pretty great… but it actually isn’t likely to land you anywhere. Those mega-famous individuals have so many followers and connections, that there won’t be much likelihood you’ll get real engagement.
Instead, consider looking for people who meet the following criteria:
- They’re extremely active on the platform; they seem to be posting great resources, starting discussions, or engaging regularly with others
- You know them personally or have a “friend of a friend” type of connection
- They are in your exact target audience of who you want to connect with, which may require some research; don’t be afraid to get specific
And when you send that connection request, send a nice message and explain what you have in common and why you’d like to connect. That increases the odds of acceptance significantly.
2. Engage Publicly & Privately
Interact with other connections’ content.
That’s a basic cornerstone principle of social media, but it’s easy to forget it.
The more you interact with other users’ posts by commenting or liking, the more the following things happen:
- You’re establishing some sort of relationship with the poster (which may only be minor, or significant, but it can go a long way when you’re looking for a job later on)
- Your comments are visible to other people reading the discussion; if they like what you have to say, they’ll often reach out to you with a connection request
- Your activity shows up in your own feed, so you get to stay relevant without creating full-length posts
You’ll also want to engage privately with other users, too. You can reach out to share a personal story about someone’s post that resonated with you, or to thank them for advice or a referral. Relationship building is the name of the game.
Just don’t reach out to do a hard sell with new connections who don’t want to hear it.
3. Take a Content-Centric Approach
Creating truly valuable resources that share your unique knowledge and experience in order to help others is one of the best ways to build your network and your brand all at once.
- Start with a story or experience that people can relate to or that grabs attention
- Include relevant statistics or sources if possible
- End with actionable tips that users can take away from the post and implement themselves
4. Make Sure Your Account Looks Great
There’s something I like to call the LinkedIn profile checklist, and you’ll want to have every item checked off before you start trying to build connections for the best results. This includes:
- Having a smiling but professional profile picture (just you and wearing something you’d meet clients in)
- A bio that is clear about what your experience is and what you’re looking for
- A strong tagline that reinforces what you have to offer while adding some personality to your profile
- An up-to-date website (if relevant) and job experience
5. Add Images to Your Posts
Want a quick way to increase the reach of your posts on LinkedIn (which can directly impact visibility and thus your inbound connection requests!)?
Add images and/or videos to your posts. Even a single image can draw a ton of attention in the LinkedIn feed, and multiple studies show that they can garner 2x higher engagement than posts without images.
6. Be “Real”
This may be the most important tip of all.
Be yourself. If you’re not, and you’re trying to play a character or put on a persona, people will be able to sniff it out a mile away. It will actually drive people away instead of drawing them in.
If you’re edgy, it’s fine to be edgy. But if you’re not, it’s not something to try to adopt.
Be funny. Be kind. Be assertive. Make bold statements. Be witty. Be whatever you want to be, but know that it will impact how your professional network sees you and that you’ll have to stand by it.
If you’re looking for new ways to grow your LinkedIn network, these six tips are the most reliable ways to do so. It is a long game that you’re playing here, so you’ll want to remember to be both patient and consistent.
Meta description: These 6 tips can help you assess how to grow your LinkedIn network effectively so that you can build a personal brand and find new work.