I always say that LinkedIn is like a plant that keeps growing and you have to water it in order for it to flourish.
That means not just buying a plant and putting it on your windowsill – or creating a LinkedIn profile – and not actually sending connection requests, liking posts or sharing updates.
You actually have to water a plant – and that means also cultivating your LinkedIn presence and network.
Getting from 100 connections to 500+ can seem impossible. But if you divide that number over many weeks or months, it won’t seem so insurmountable.
And of course quality always matters more than quantity when it comes to your LinkedIn connections and posts.
Here’s how to build a strategic plan for finding contacts, building your network and increasing your connections on LinkedIn. When you’re ready to take the next step, here are 15 ways to be more successful on LinkedIn.
Using this framework, commit to growing your network by five connections per week. I know you can!
- Add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature – this will drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile and facilitate new connections. Be sure to customize your vanity URL so it’s easy to remember and looks clean and modern. Here’s a step-by-step video on how to customize your LinkedIn URL.
- As we move back to in-person events and conferences, be sure to make the most of these opportunities. Follow up by connecting on LinkedIn soon after meeting someone in person to continue the relationship.
- Follow your former firms/companies, alumni groups and trade associations on LinkedIn (as well as other social platforms) and search for contacts you may know through their LinkedIn company pages.
- Review your connections’ connections – who do they know who you know? Then connect with them. It’s perfectly okay to reconnect with people with whom you haven’t been in touch in a long time -especially in a post-Covid world when many of us are seeking to develop relationships again.
- Utilize LinkedIn’s ”People You May Know” feature – the more you use it and the more connections you have, the better it works. I find this to be a great tool to use especially on the mobile app.
- Go through your Outlook address book and make sure you are connected to important contacts on LinkedIn and vice versa.
- Just like optimizing your website for SEO, LinkedIn enables you to do the same with keywords so that you can be found in searches on its platform. Strategically use words that describe what you do.
- Connect with individuals who have viewed your profile (if you’re in the same circles).
- Leave thoughtful comments on posts you like. You don’t have to be connected to those people. It’s a great way to build your brand. Engaging with your connections puts your profile directly in front of them – so like and share their posts and congratulate them on their successes, especially your VIP connections (such as referrals and clients).
- Images increase engagement on LinkedIn posts – people connect with people – so don’t be afraid to use your likeness in your social posts.
- Congratulate the successes of your network through the notifications section. Monitor job moves, promotions, job anniversaries and other professional milestones and use them to reignite relationships.
- Posting content on a consistent basis creates additional opportunities for engagement, essentially providing you with more opportunities to disseminate your content across home page feeds. Don’t be too concerned about being too visible by regularly posting. LinkedIn’s algorithm (along with user habits) makes it difficult for your network to see every post.
- Join the alumni groups of former firms/companies and schools, which can help you reestablish and grow relationships that can lead to new business and referrals.
- Post a status update on LinkedIn when you travel to another city for work or for a conference so you can easily connect with others who are also in the area.
- Join and post content of value in LinkedIn groups. When used strategically, LinkedIn groups can help amplify your content and connect you with the right people.
Always remember that LinkedIn is at its heart a community.
So if someone in your network (a 1st degree connection) likes, shares or comments on one of your posts, their connections (your 2nd degree connections) may also see it in their feed. If that person likes it or comments on it, you should send them an invitation to connect with you. They may do it, but why wait? It’s a missed opportunity if you don’t connect with people who like your content as I mentioned above. Make this of regular part of your LinkedIn content strategy – you already have a connection point with them.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, don’t worry that you are too visible to your network by posting every day.
LinkedIn’s algorithm makes it very hard to spam people – there’s really no way for every connection to see each of your posts.
Plus, if you are providing value, your network will want to hear from you (some people may even be following you using the new bell feature to receive your notifications when you post). If not, they can unfollow you or just keep scrolling their news feed. Just keep being you.
Building a strong LinkedIn network won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Online networking has never been more important to stay top-of-mind and build connections, your brand and business, especially on LinkedIn, the most important business social media platform today.
For more inspiration, take a look at this blog post in which I talk about how LinkedIn has directly led to new business and opportunities for me.
Which of these tips have worked best for you and which will you try today?
PS – if you have any tips on how to keep an orchid alive, please include them in the comments (yes, I’ve tried the ice cube).
Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, recruiters and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for small and mid-size law firms. Over her nearly 20-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram (@stefanemarronelegalmarketing), sign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on JD Supra.