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You probably know by now that if you want to climb the career ladder, improve your chances of getting employed or simply connect with like-minded professionals, LinkedIn is the place to be. But, if you’re starting from scratch or even just wanting to up your game, knowing where to begin can feel a little intimidating!

In the past 10 years, LinkedIn has experienced exponential growth with over 660 million users and 30 million business pages (as of Nov 2019).

linkedin user growth – Spindogs

Source: LinkedIn

Here at Spindogs, it’s by far our fastest growing social platform and having seen our numbers shoot up by 77.8% in the past year alone, I’m confident in saying that LinkedIn is going absolutely nowhere.

So, let’s look at how you can grow your network in a few easy steps.

1. Review your profile

This might be pretty obvious but the content on your profile will help people find out about who you are and what you do. With this in mind, it’s important to include as much information about your background and what makes you stand out as possible, much like you would on a CV!

Looks aren’t everything… but they certainly help! A professional, clear profile picture goes a long way in letting people know who you are. And, if you REALLY want to stand out, don’t just go for the generic blue cover image, pick something that shows a bit of personality. Perhaps not your family photo from Christmas 2006 but a nice flat lay of your working space or even a solid calm colour shows you’ve put a bit of effort into how your account looks and how you want to present yourself.

2. Understand LinkedIn networks system

Expanding your network is possibly the most important aspect of LinkedIn. Not only does it help you find and understand things that are happening in your industry, but it also determines how easily you can find people and how easily they can find you.

LinkedIn organises your connections by a tier system:

  • 1st tier Connections – People you’re directly connected to
  • 2nd Tier Connections – Those people connected to your connections
  • 3rd Tier – Those connected on a wider network
  • Group – People who share a group with you.
  • Out of Network –Your network isn’t wide enough

The results that appear from a LinkedIn search will depend on your network. Naturally, the greater your network is, the greater and more accurate the results will be.

3. Join groups

For continuous growth within your network, it’s important that you join groups. Anyone who shares the same group as you can be contacted directly via the group (whether they’re a connection or not) and will also appear in search results.

Groups give you a direct way of strengthening connections with like minded individuals that share common skills, goals, industry affiliations and experiences.

So, whenever you see someone’s profile that’s of interest to you and you would like to get in touch with them, check if you have a group in common. If you don’t, just join a group that the other user is part of so you can send a direct message. You can always leave the group again if it’s not of value to you.

4. Manage your invites

LinkedIn has a system in place to prevent spammers. Should you receive an invitation from an unwanted networker then it’s advisable to click the “Ignore” tab instead of “I Don’t Know”. Should a LinkedIn member receive around 5-10 “I Don’t knows” then their account will be frozen and that person then must contact customer services to have their account unrestricted.

Of course, rejecting connections won’t grow your network faster, but it will ensure the quality of your connections and keep you safe from irrelevant spam, making your experience using LinkedIn more productive overall.

5. Personalise your connection requests

The point above leads us nicely into how you should approach your invitations to connect with people. If you know them but there’s a chance they might not remember you, include a note in your request to connect giving them a little context about how you met.

If you don’t know them, explain why you’d like to connect, tell them what you have in common or what you like about their posts, it shows you’re a real person seeking genuine connection on the platform.

Don’t be afraid to reach out, LinkedIn is generally a friendly place and it’s all about building networks and connections that could lead to multiple possibilities.

6. Be active!

As I mentioned earlier, joining groups is a great way to get yourself seen, but being actively involved in conversations goes a really long way too. When people see an interesting discussion or comment, more often than not they’ll look at that person’s profile to see who they are and what they do (remember that point about keeping your profile looking sharp and up to date?).

So, if you see an open to a conversation that you have expertise in, get involved! Give your opinion and state your case but remember to remain professional at all times, you never know who might be scoping you out as a potential candidate or, if you’re a business owner, who may be interested in the services your company has to offer. 

7. Set some goals

As with any strategy, if you’re hoping to get somewhere in particular, then there’s a goal in mind. Examine this goal and make sure it’s achievable for you. Aiming to get to 500+ connections in a month may be an impossible feat, meaning you lose momentum and interest in your quest.

Try setting some manageable goals and a plan each week or month to get you where you want to be.

Mine might be something along the lines of:

  • Connect with 20 other marketing specialists this month to gain insights and share knowledge

Or, if I were looking for work:

  • Connect with 10 local marketing agency contacts in senior or hiring positions this month

It may help to follow the SMART goals set of rules, just make sure they follow these points:

Smart Goals – Spindogs

So remember; get your profile looking tiptop and up to date before you start your mission to expand your network, don’t be shy, get involved in groups, have conversations and reach out to people you’d like in your network, set yourself some goals and get growing… happy networking!

If you’d like to speak to one of our digital marketing experts about growing your LinkedIn business profile, get in touch below. We’d love to hear from you!

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