With over 187 million profiles in 200 countries, LinkedIn has become the fastest growing social media network for professionals. But there are still several kinks to work out in the system. For example, the June 2012 leak of millions of user passwords created quite a controversy. Still, it’s the No. 1 network for professionals to network with each other and search for jobs.
There’s one area of LinkedIn that hasn’t quite caught up with the times, and that’s the connecting process. Adding someone outside your 3rd-degree connections is very difficult, and actually requires you to purchase the site upgrade. This is to protect the individual from not having to deal with unwanted connection requests.
So what’s a person to do if they want to expand his or her LinkedIn profile and connections, but they don’t want to look like a stalker? Check out these surefire ways to improve your profile and make new connections.
#1 – Join Groups
81% of LinkedIn users currently belong to at least one group. That’s quite a big percentage of people you can reach by just joining groups that are of interest to you. It’s important to remember, however, that the purpose for joining groups is not to promote your business or service. Instead, it’s to connect with people in your industry and learn from each other. While we are all looking for new ways to sell, making the initial connection is far more important in the long run. Once you’ve made the connection in the group, and someone has shown some interest in what you’re posting, that’s when you can connect with them and present your business through your messages.
#2 – Find People In Similar Fields
It’s very easy to search for people within your industry on LinkedIn. Fortunately, with the endorsement process, and with recommendations becoming very popular, you’re able to search through whom your friends have recommended for certain positions and make connections that way. Also, you’re able to see the people who have given your friends certain endorsements, and that’s another great way to find people who would potentially benefit from your product or services. You can also do a blanket search for companies and skills and use that to see who fits those qualifications.
#3 – Connect with 2nd-Degree Connections
Sure, you might not directly know a person, but if you share an acquaintance, you could introduce yourself by saying, “This person is actually a good friend of mine,” or “I’ve worked a lot with this person.” Perhaps you’ll find making the connection beneficial. You’ll want to make sure you’ve at least got that one connection in common. Connecting with people outside your network requires a program upgrade, and if you list someone as a connection, LinkedIn is going to assume you know their email address. It’s best to just not connect with anyone that you don’t have a connection to.
#4 – Connect with Companies
2.6 million companies currently have LinkedIn pages. That’s roughly 10% of all businesses, and you can bet that number will continue to rise. If you’ve taken the time to search through companies that influence you and connect with them, you’ll find that you now have the ability to connect with some of their employees, depending on how tight their security levels are. With this, you can now establish a relationship with a company and learn more about it and how it works. This is especially important for maintaining a competitive edge.
#5 – Comment on Articles In the News Section
New articles are posted on the home page of LinkedIn rapidly. They’re a great way to connect with others. Consider commenting on articles and reposting them to your own timeline. People like to connect with others who share a common interest in certain subjects. Once you’ve established yourself as someone who comments on good content, and reads good content, you’ll find that connections will start forming faster and faster.
Once you’ve taken these 5 steps, you can sit back and watch the LinkedIn connections roll in. One easy way is to use your email contacts imported into LinkedIn to find people you frequently email. Another is to post your LinkedIn profile on your other social media networks and connect through them. What methods are you currently using to find new connections?