When I am hired to write LinkedIn profiles for my clients, one of the pieces of advice I give them if they are just starting connecting on LinkedIn is to build to 60 and then 100. You set a goal of 60 connections and work hard to get there. From there you go to 100. The savvy net connector will continue to build from there until they are growing regularly at a comfortable rate.
My own LinkedIn growth
My LinkedIn profile was initially launched in 2006. But I was afraid to connect. Frankly at that point, I was an early adopter. The story of my initial LinkedIn journey is here. I set up my LinkedIn profile and connected with no one.
In 2007, Joe Jacobi and Bob Campbell, friends from my whitewater world invited me. I said yes but I told them both that I still didn’t really know what LinkedIn was but sure, I would connect with them.
I paid attention to what my career industry friends told me about LinkedIn. I especially listened to what Jason Alba was saying in those early years. Eventually, I got it. Most people today don’t have a reason to putter around worrying about what LinkedIn is, by now LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are part of our daily conversation even if you don’t use them yourself.
Adding Connections on LinkedIn
However, many people have issues with connecting. Some of it is the same confusion and fear I felt, not exactly knowing who to connect with but some of it comes from not wanting to take the first step.
When I write a LinkedIn profile for someone, I check back to see if they are using my advice to work toward that 60 connection first step, then the 100 goal.
When I see their connections still at 15 to 19 after a month, I wonder why they paid me to help them write the profile. The effectiveness of LinkedIn begins with you building connections.
It gets easier. The more people you connect with, the more suggestions LinkedIn gives you for other people you may know.
Potential easy ways to grow connections
- Upload an address book from Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo or other email programs. You don’t have to send invites to all of them but then the list is there and you can get started. LinkedIn will search your address book for people already on LinkedIn and let you know they are there.
- If that makes you uncomfortable, pick a letter of the alphabet from your address book and use the people search function in LinkedIn to see who is there. This will be much slower but it will keep your contacts separate while you are figuring it out.
- Search for companies that you know you have contacts in and see if there is a listing for some of the connections you already know you could easily connect with.
- Check out organizations you might know people in and compare the members to the LinkedIn people search function. I just searched for Kiwanis and narrowed it down to my city, Wausau, WI. It generated many people who had Kiwanis in their profile.
Give these a try and see if it makes it easier to grow your connections. This is the first step in making LinkedIn work for you. How has it worked for me? I first started gaining connections on LinkedIn that generated new business in 2008 and that continues today.
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