Top 3 Ways to Add LinkedIn Connections and Why You Should Care
Recently, I used the 3-degrees of Kevin Bacon analogy to describe how your searching ability is limited to your LinkedIn network, the group of people connected to you via 3 degrees of separation. This is precisely why it is imperative to add connections and grow your network; for every connection you add, your searching ability increases.
Check out your network stats to get an idea how many people are in your network out of the overall LinkedIn population which is currently about 36 Million. If your network is less than half (17M) you have some work to do.
3. People You Already Know: Webmail Contacts
LinkedIn's Webmail Contacts Importer can automatically check 15+ webmail providers for potential connections.
The Gmail contacts importer works well. Look to the right of each contact name for a small LinkedIn logo icon, which signifies they are already registered members. Deselect the ones that don't have this icon unless you want to send them a message asking them to join.
2. People You Should Know: Colleagues and Classmates
On the bottom of the home page is a section devoted to people you may know from companies you used to work or schools you've attended. This is a great way to pick up 5-10 connections per week. Take 5 minutes and update your profile by adding past companies and schools you've attended, with years, in order to see more suggested connections!
1. People You Should Meet: Open Networkers
An Open Networker is a person who uses professional networking sites not just to keep in touch with contacts they already know, but also to create new contacts, connections, and new business opportunities. Open Networkers therefore gravitate towards professional networking sites to take advantage of the speed and efficiency the internet has enabled them to make new business connections.
In practice, connecting with someone is equivalent to exchanging business cards, and sharing partial visibility to the names and titles of people in your rolodex. It doesn't imply you trust them with your life, or you'll turn around and write them a recommendation.
There are hundreds of LinkedIn groups that have popped up to support the needs of LinkedIn Open Networkers (a.k.a. LIONs). Joining these groups gives you access to discussion boards where people post what type of people they'd like to connect with, specific business projects they might be working on, or questions for the Open Networker community.
The third way to increase your connection count and grow your network is to join these LinkedIn Open Networker groups and find new connections. Once accepted to a group, you can start a new discussion thread introducing yourself and other members will send you invites to connect.
Sampling of LinkedIn Open Networking Groups
LIONs™ LI Open Networkers™ [LION]™
Leading International Open Networkers (LION)
InvitesWelcome.com (Open Networkers)
LION500.com (Open Networkers)
What are some other tips you've used to make more connections and grow your network on LinkedIn?