Now that you have completed your profile based on the earlier blog post, the next step is to connect with other people you know.
Step Two – Connections
Connections are the lifeblood of your LinkedIn account. Why have more rather than fewer connections on LinkedIn? The theory is that the more connections you have, the more your name will appear in LinkedIn searches and the more chances you have of being found by your target audience and the more business you can generate for your business. I know it has worked for me in this way.
How to connect with people you know?
LinkedIn provides tools to do this as a bulk function, such as uploading your entire address book, however, I didn’t follow that format. Whilst it took some time, I sent ‘invitations to connect’ with people that I knew (or had on my database) with an individual personalised message. The upside of this way? I was able to connect with many people quicker than sending out a generic bulk message. I was also able to re-connect with people. A great excuse to touch base again.
Once you have connected with people you already know, the next step is to connect with people that you don’t know and this is where it gets tricky. There are no hard and fast rules about this process and there are some people who keep their LinkedIn networks as ‘closed shops’ and there are others who widely promote themselves as LION (LinkedIn Open Networkers). The unfortunate thing is that this is trial and error and I have had success and failures with this over time.
So, how do I connect with people that you don’t know? LinkedIn provides a box that lists ‘People you May Know’ and there are occasions that I spot someone of interest in that list, I highly recommend though, writing a personal note to them saying why they should connect to you. It is perhaps similar to sending SPAM. I connected today with someone who has a very high profile in the media. I sent a personalised message introducing myself, why I wanted to connect and presto, they are now in my network.
The other way is to start ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on status updates of people in your connections network. When you do that, you comments appear within their networks and you are then exposed to a wider audience, and people will find you. This is a much slower process but can be highly effective.
There is much more to LinkedIn than this, however this will get your started and help position you favorably on this social media tool.