How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network the Strategic Way
You can grow your LinkedIn network strategically, rather than aggressively by taking a conservative approach. Conservative networkers add only people they know, and in some cases, they must have had at least a 15-minute conversation with them.
If you have a comfortably large network (any number larger than 143) and don’t require the gung-ho networking of a LION, a LinkedIn Open Networker, then you can afford to be a bit more picky about whom you connect with.
The magic number of LinkedIn connections is 143. If you have fewer than 143 connections, chances are you’re not going to have second- or third-degree connections in any of the companies you want to work for. If you have more than 143 connections, your next goal should be to get 500 or more connections.
Strictly speaking, LinkedIn prefers that you connect with only people you know. However, unless you’re networking like crazy and meeting hundreds of new people a week in person, this literal interpretation can get in the way. Another way to connect is to find new people online one-by-one rather than in bulk. And find those people in strategic places, such as from a group or alumni network.
Here are some steps you can take to strategically (and tactfully) grow your network:
Click on People from the drop-down menu next to the search bar at the top-right corner of your LinkedIn profile, and then click on the Advanced link to access the Advanced People Search page.
Type in one of your keywords in the Keywords field or simply use your industry, such as advertising or accounting.
Put LION in the Last Name field.
LIONs are more likely to accept your invitation to connect.
Click on the Search button.
Sort by Connections so that the people with the most connections in their network show up first because they’re the most valuable to you.
Your search results list people in your strategic area who are open to connecting with you. Take your time and look at each profile. If you’ve joined any of the open networking groups, you may already be members of the same group and can invite them without using an e-mail address.
Generally, if people include their e-mail address in their profile, it means they’re open to networking with you. Also look at the bottom of their profile at the Contact Settings section. Often, people say explicitly whether they’re open to new connections. Always respect people’s wishes.