How To Find the Best Connections on LinkedIn

Why is LinkedIn the best social media tool for any business? Because it allows you to access the world’s professionals, a global pool of potential clients and partners. It  also helps you search and connect directly with your target audience. You can get in front of your ideal customer base, and build a relationship with them exactly where they are—on the web.

But emphasis on the word ideal. Be discriminating in making your connections, and build a network of engaged, relevant prospects and leads who care about what you have to say, and to whom you can provide real value.

So you want to spend a little time every day connecting  to people you know and people they know to build a quality network. Here are some tips on how to find the right ones:

  1. Build traffic from outside. Invite others to follow you by placing your LinkedIn profile URL in your email signature and other communications to customers and prospects. You’ve already identified them as people worth communicating with, so why not nurture that relationship further on LinkedIn? Reminder to include an icon and link to your company’s LinkedIn page as well to drive views and followers to it.
  2. Follow your clients and prospects. They’re on LinkedIn, using it to generate leads as well, so follow their company pages and connect with them.
  3. Be clear about who your clients are.  Be upfront about who you work with and the kind of services you provide them so that it’s easier to find your ideal clients–and easier for them to find you.
  4. Don’t connect with random people. Instead, search for companies and titles to narrow your criteria, the same way you’ve planned for people to search for you. Use the Advanced Search feature to further narrow down the factors that identify a target connection for you.
  5. Request introductions. Ask people that you already know to connect you with contacts of theirs who would be worth knowing. LinkedIn makes this easy to do, so utilize this approach.
  6. Be sure that your connection actually spends time on LinkedIn. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time on someone who isn’t engaged. 

    There are three identifying factors to help determine if someone is active on LinkedIn:

    A) Check that they have a profile picture on their profile. We’ve discussed the importance of a profile picture.  If they haven’t even put up a picture, then chances are they aren’t doing much else.

    B) See if they have more than 500 connections. 500 is a milestone; after you hit that number, your connections will forever be shown as the number 500+, whereas until that point you just have the actual number of connections—which doesn’t look good if it’s, say, 158. So a) work on that yourself, getting 500+ connections (it’s easier than you think when you expand to colleagues, past coworkers, college acquaintances, etc..) and b) use that number to judge valuable, worthwhile connections for yourself.

    C) Ensure that their profile isn’t empty. If their profile clearly hasn’t been filled in all the way, or if there hasn’t been recent activity, then it’s clear that this person hasn’t logged in a lot or isn’t updating. He might not even see your connection request!

  7. Use LinkedIn groups.

We’re all for face-to-face contact, and even highly encourage it, but large scale events such as  trade shows only happen once or twice a year. You need to be doing something the rest of the year to meet your sales quota, and LinkedIn can be your single best effort in that sense. Building the right connections is an opportunity to expand your reach to the people that matter to your company.