How to Grow your LinkedIn Connections

With over 250 million users, LinkedIn is a social media heavyweight that’s often overshadowed by other social media hubs like Facebook and Twitter. In this video you’ll learn how to tap into this massive social media network by growing your connections: one of the most important metrics for getting you and your business seen by other LinkedIn users.

Video Transcript

Hey. What’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean, from Quick Sprout. In this video, I’m going to show you how to grow your LinkedIn connections, which is really important for getting more people to see your profile and to see content that you share on LinkedIn.

Your first step is to evaluate your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s a profile that people will be very, very likely to connect with. To do that, click on Profile, and you just want to take a quick look at your profile and think of someone who doesn’t know you, maybe you met them briefly at a conference, or did some business with them, and see how they would feel about adding you as a connection. The first thing you want to take a look at is your headshot. You obviously want a more professional clean picture on LinkedIn than you would on a site like Facebook or Twitter, although obviously, it’s great to have a professional headshot everywhere, but it’s very, very important on Linkedin because this is a professional network. You want to make sure that your headshot is very professional and you’re looking people straight in the eyes with a smile on your face, because that’s going to make it more likely that people will add you.

Next thing you want to do is take a look at your headline. Your headline is just the little description of what you do below your name. This is really important, because sometimes when you add someone as a connection, they may not quite remember who you are, and this headline can jog their memory and help them remember who you are, and then they’ll be more likely to add you. With your headline, what you really want to do is include keywords that people would search for if they’re searching for what you do. In my case, SEO, digital marketing, or content marketing. If you’re a real estate agent, you want to include the keyword ‘real estate’, not only to help, like I said, jog people’s memory about who you are and what you do, but also to rank highly on LinkedIn. You have to be careful not to keyword-stuff and go too far.

Here’s an example of a profile that is pushing the envelope. This Sotiris Spyrou is ranking on the first page of LinkedIn for the keyword ‘SEO’, which as you might imagine, is very competitive. When you actually look at this profile, if you’re like me, you’d be very reluctant to add him as a connection. First of all, the headshot isn’t very professional; you can’t really see who it is. More importantly, the headline is keyword-stuffed; it has the keyword ‘SEO’ multiple times, it even has stars in here so it’ll stand out more on LinkedIn results. This may help you rank in LinkedIn. The problem is people are going to be very unlikely to add you as a connection with a headline and a headshot like this. That’s really, really important for people when they evaluate you and determine whether or not to add you as a connection. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, people are very, very particular about who they add as a connection on LinkedIn, so you want to make sure that this is all good to go.

Your next step to getting more connections on LinkedIn is to start sending out personalized LinkedIn connection requests. For example, let’s say that I wanted to add Suzanne to my network. I click on the profile, and then click on Connect. By default, LinkedIn shows this very generic message which everyone gets, and everyone has seen this message a million times if they’re active on LinkedIn. What you want to do is make sure that your message stands out. You want to say something like, ‘Hey Suzanne,’ use their name, and then remind them of where they know you from: ‘We used to work together at X. I’d just like to connect with you.’ It doesn’t really matter so much what you say as long as it’s personalized and isn’t that generic message. This alone will increase your conversion rate of the number of people that connect with you by 100% because everyone hates seeing that generic message, especially people that are maybe busy on LinkedIn, maybe you don’t know them that well, or maybe they’re an influencer in your industry and they’re more particular about who they accept and they don’t know you that well. What you want to do is choose however you know them, and then just leave a little personalized note like this.

Your next step is to join groups on LinkedIn, participate in those groups, and then make connections with the other people in those groups. To do that, hover over Interests and click on Groups. LinkedIn will recommend some groups you might be interested in based on what you do, like B2B Content Marketing. If you want to find more groups, you can just search for groups using keywords. If you’re a real estate agent, you could search for things like ‘real estate’.

Once you’ve joined a group by clicking Join, we’re going to look at one right now, which is the Small Business Marketing Network. Once you’re in, you want to participate in the group a little bit, so share other people’s content, share some of your best content, participate in discussions like Sandy Glover has here. Once you feel like you’ve maybe made your presence known a little bit, you want to start making connections with the people in the group. For example, if you were … had a discussion with Don or commented on something Don shared, you want to click on Connect. When you add someone who’s in a group that you belong to, you’ll notice that there’s a new option under How Do You Know That Person, called Groups. What you want to do is click on that, and then write a personalized note that mentions the fact that you’re both part of the group. ‘We’re both members of SBMN.’ Then you want to put, ‘I really like the stuff you’ve been saying over there and I just wanted to connect with you on LinkedIn.’ The fact that you’re both in the group, it may sound like a trivial thing, but it’ll actually increase the conversion rate of the connection request that you send out significantly more than if you just randomly tried to connect with people or connecting with second degree connections. Just the fact that you’re both in the group and you write a nice little personalized message like this will increase your conversion rate quite a bit.

Once you started joining groups, participating in groups, and then sending out connection requests to other members of those groups, you want to start adding connections from your email address. To do that, hover over Network and click on Add Connections. Then you want to choose whatever email provider that you use and put in your email here, and then click on Continue. Then you want to choose your account. In this case, choose this one, sign in, allow LinkedIn to access your Gmail account, and then it’ll take some time to look through all the contacts that you’ve made via that email.

Once LinkedIn has done its thing, you’ll see something like this. By default, LinkedIn selects all the people that it found, and you definitely don’t want to do that. Remember, you want to send out personalized requests to each person. What you want to do is uncheck Select All, and then select one at a time and add these connections one at a time for the people that you actually know. If you select all and send out 186 or maybe 1000 requests, and all of a sudden hundreds of people say that they don’t know you, that puts you in LinkedIn jail where you’re not able to add any connections for people that you don’t know their email, which can make it hard to build connections with people on LinkedIn groups and things like that. You want to be selective about the people that you add as a connection.

That’s all there is to adding connections on LinkedIn. The first step is to create a really attractive, professional profile that’s not keyword-stuffed, and then participate in groups and connect with people there. Finally, you want to link LinkedIn with your email account so then you can find connections using that. Thanks for watching this video. I’ll see you in the next one.