How do I connect with more people on LinkedIn?

This is one a lot of people ask when we are delivering LinkedIn skills training or advising groups.

I have mentioned before that you need to have a clear understanding of why you use LinkedIn. If part of your goal is to build up your LinkedIn connections then read on, this is just for you.

The first thing to do is a bit of inward looking and self-reflection. How does your profile look? Is all the information up to date and useful? Good Photograph? Clear description of how you help others (note the emphasis here). Starting here is important because the first thing anyone will do is look at your profile to see if they want to connect with you. This all boils down to being “attractive” to potential connections on LinkedIn. They will often look at your profile as soon as you send the request. You job is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is as good as it can be.

Think about your connection request, focus on them rather than you (we call this sort of thing living in your customer’s world). Give them a reason to connect, you have some shared interests or groups, similar ideas, you may be able to pass work or have met previously. Personalised, specific requests are much more likely to convert to connection than the bland standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”.

You may want to connect to sell to them, so the number one rule is, DON’T sell to them. LinkedIn’s company slogan is “Relationship matters” and this is what you need to focus on. Build the connection and relationship first. If you leap into sales mode on you connection requests telling them how good your products and services are with links to your website, chances are, they will just ignore you.

You could comment on a recent article, blog post, tweet or LinkedIn posting. This shows that you are interested in them, not just trying to boost you connection numbers. A great way of demonstrating credibility is to be active on LinkedIn, engaged in groups, posting useful updates, answering questions. This puts you on people’s timelines and raises your profile with a wider group, that way they are more likely to send you a connection request.

Using the “who has viewed my profile” to understand who is looking at you can be very useful. If they don’t send a connection request I often drop them a (personalised) request suggesting we connect up.

Remembering the basics like connecting up with people you meet when networking, suppliers, customers and contacts in previous jobs. We often ask people to start with a blank sheet of paper and list the people they know in a business context, then go on LinkedIn and start connecting with them. It amazing how many obvious LinkedIn connections people miss.

On you home page, LinkedIn suggest “people you may know”, spend a few minutes looking through this list and sending great connection requests out to people. The list is huge so devote a specific amount of time to this or could end up doing it all day!

When looking at a person’s profile you will find a box on the right hand side of the screen marked as “People Also Viewed” with a load of other potential people to connect up with. You can spend some time looking into each of these suggestions as well to understand who you could potentially connect with.

So go on, get connecting and start building those important relationships. My LinkedIn profile is uk.linkedin.com/in/neviltynemouth/ I look forward to connecting with you.

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