How to Get More Connections on LinkedIn: Powerful Tips
According to a Pew Research study conducted in 2022, roughly 31% of U.S. adults use LinkedIn. The social media platform has become synonymous with professional networking and a way for people to advance their careers.
However, while many people utilize LinkedIn, not everyone uses it to its full extent. When used correctly, the site can be a great place to market yourself, your personal brand, or your small business. You must be active on the platform and be proactive about building your network of connections. In this article, we’ll look at ways you can make LinkedIn work for you.
Making LinkedIn a Habit
To get the most out of the platform, you must make a habit of using LinkedIn regularly. Many people create their profile and then leave it, only revisiting it when they have a new connection, a message in their inbox, or when they need to update something on their profile. Unfortunately, this basic use of the platform isn’t going to do you much good.
Daniel Coleman, career coach and assistant director of the Shevet Glaubach Center for Career Strategy and Professional Development, teaches about building a lifelong LinkedIn habit through the use of the Katz LinkedIn Challenge. This experiment, conducted with graduate students, demonstrated how being active on the platform can make a major difference in advancing one’s career.
The challenge participants were charged with fully building out their profiles to ensure they utilized every feature to enhance their visibility and discoverability. Surprisingly, this is not something that many people do. Instead, many users fill out only the basic information on their profiles just so they can use it when applying for jobs.
The Katz challenge also had the students use the platform daily, making an active effort to network and search for people to connect with.
By the end of the challenge, Coleman found that nearly 60% of participants had significantly improved their visibility on the app and made an outstanding number of connections. A few even reached LinkedIn’s “magic” 500 connections.
All of this is to say that it’s really not that hard to grow your network on LinkedIn and make the most of it. You simply need to make a habit of using the platform regularly and ensuring your profile is fully built out with as much content and information about you as possible so people can discover you more easily.
Another issue that could restrict your potential when using LinkedIn is failing to connect with a more diverse audience. The more people you surround yourself with from divest backgrounds, the more opportunities you create for yourself. So if you don’t have a group of diverse connections, you are limiting yourself.
If you think of this in the same way it can affect an entire company, it makes sense. When there is a lack of diversity in the workplace, it can have numerous negative impacts. Having a workforce that isn’t diverse can lead to discrimination issues, result in restricted viewpoints which can hinder innovation, and lead to a lack of support from people who aren’t pleased that the company isn’t more inclusive.
Similar things can happen to you if you don’t have a diverse network of connections on LinkedIn. You have to think of yourself as your own personal brand, whether you run your own small business or not. On LinkedIn, it’s all about selling your brand to people so they want to connect and work with you.
Thus, if you fail to diversify who you are connecting with, people will notice, and it could lead to a lack of support. When you limit who you connect with, you are also limited to only their viewpoints, but if you diversify your connections, you open yourself up to more ideas and more opportunities.
Marketing Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn
Continuing with the idea that you are your own personal brand, you must do as other brands do to spread awareness and gain followers — market yourself. The concept of social media branding is nothing new, but you might not have considered it as something you need to do for yourself.
Every day, you likely come across several brands marketing their products and services on social media. As most consumers use these platforms, digital marketing is crucial to growing a business or personal brand — which makes social media marketing just as important for you.
If you want to grow your business, meaning if you want to open yourself to more opportunities and advance your career, you must market yourself like brands do to build your network of connections.
The first step in doing this is establishing your brand identity, which we essentially already talked about. On LinkedIn, establishing your identity is done by fully building out your profile, ensuring there is as much information on it as possible to show others who you are, what skills and experience you have, and anything else that shows why you are someone they should connect and work with.
Beyond creating your brand identity with your profile, you also need to actively promote yourself, like brands do when they advertise. Of course, this isn’t to say you should go create ads about yourself, but you should still find a way to put yourself out there to build awareness. And on LinkedIn, this is done by writing posts.
Just as brands use content to market themselves, you as well should create content to engage with people and draw them to your profile. What you ultimately choose to write your posts about is up to you. It can be specific to the line of work you do, about things that are trending in your industry, or it can be your thoughts on other things going on in other industries.
You can post about anything, really, but the idea should be to write things that people will want to read — things that will get people to pay attention to you and think that you are someone to keep an eye on.
You can also use tools to optimize your posts to increase engagement, like the Chrome extension, AuthoredUp. This tool allows you to preview your posts before publishing and format them to ensure they are more appealing and readable to your audience. It also has a hashtag feature that suggests hashtags to help you improve visibility and reach.
Though LinkedIn is a digital platform, the concept is no different from in-person networking. Before LinkedIn, people had to network by making a plan and being proactive about putting themselves out there to make connections. And the same goes for LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn platform brings everyone together in one place, meaning it makes it easier and more convenient, but you still have to put the effort in to make it work. So, to get the most out of the platform, consider these networking tips that people used to use to make connections before LinkedIn was around:
Know your goals and objectives for wanting to connect with others. Just as you wouldn’t walk into a networking event in person without a goal for who you want to connect with, the same goes for LinkedIn. Take some time to think about your objectives for wanting to network, and use that to guide you so you are making more purposeful connections that mean something to you.
Know what your approach will be. Again, if you were to attend a networking event, you would likely rehearse what you are going to say to people to get their attention so they’ll want to connect with you. Do this as well before reaching out on LinkedIn. You can certainly just send a simple request to connect, or you could send them a message letting them know who you are and why you want to connect, which shows you’ve put thought into it and means they are more likely to pay attention and want to connect with you.
Engage with your connections. Once you have made a connection, the work isn’t over. To keep that person in your network and to genuinely make something out of the connection, you need to reach out to them and engage with them. Set up a video chat with them to talk or shoot them an email. Or, if they live close to you, you could even set up a time to chat in person over coffee. The point is to keep in touch with your connections and maintain a relationship with them so they will remember you when they have an opportunity in mind or vice versa.
Building your network of connections on LinkedIn is all about the effort you put into it. If you simply create a profile but then never do anything else to engage on the platform, you might get a few connections here and there, but ultimately you won’t get anything useful out of it. You must be proactive about making connections, which means fully building out your profile, actively reaching out to others, and building awareness by authoring posts. Once you build a regular habit of doing these things on the platform, you should find that you start to make more meaningful connections that can help you in your career.