Making Quality LinkedIn Connections: 5 Best Practices

By on May 18, 2011

At first glance, creating great connections on LinkedIn may seem elusive for the person that doesn’t know many people on the platform. First and foremost, LinkedIn is a closed business network of professionals.

If you don’t know them, LinkedIn isn’t going to make it easy for you to make that connection. So how do some businesses have 5000 connections on LinkedIn? Here are some excellent best practices that will help you make more quality connections than ever before.

Before we begin: Why even bother finding the right connections on LinkedIn? Business connections can be enormously useful, to attract new clients, to get good recommendations, and to impress other industry authorities – so that one day they might be interested in doing business with you.

If you make the wrong or ‘easy’ connections, this will never happen. It defeats the entire point of being on a business network.

#1: Join Groups That Are Relevant To Your Industry

The most comprehensive way of meeting new people on LinkedIn, is to have a discussion with them before deciding they are worth adding to your network. To do this, answer as many relevant questions as you can, and keep the dialogue going until you have made a few connections with the people that take part in the discussion.

Then politely ask them if they’d like to join your network. Remember to keep your business goals in mind. Its nice talking to people, but if they aren’t relevant to your end goal, your time is better spent elsewhere.

#2: Browse The Connections You Have and Ask For Introductions

If you find a person you’d like to connect with, either for business purposes, or because they work in a similar field – ask your closest connection to them to introduce you. People on LinkedIn love to make connections, and if you’re friendly and honest, there isn’t a person in the world that would refuse (unless their connection refuses).

Even if you’re three times removed from this person, you still have common ground. Many people fail to make connections because they are afraid to initiate the contact needed to meet that person on the platform. But making connections is essentially a social activity, so get used to the idea of contacting people first!

#3: Don’t Accept Random Memberships or Invites From People

Your network is just as exclusive as the networks you’re trying to connect with. People with premier accounts will often send you invites to ‘barely’ relevant groups, or you’ll be invited to join networks that aren’t relevant at all. Remember that to keep your connections worthwhile, you must learn to reject offers from people.

#4: Sharing Recommendations Strengthens Your Relationships

If you’ve worked with a few of your connections on LinkedIn, offer them a recommendation. If you do, they will be more inclined to comment on your discussions, return recommendations and introduce you to people in their network that you may find interesting. LinkedIn is just as much a sharing site as Facebook or Twitter, and you need to have just as much interaction to attract connections.

#5: Find a Networking Event in Your Area

When you join authority groups, you’ll often be invited to networking events, or to participate in an online discussion off the LinkedIn platform. Take the initiative and attend these events. They are enormously beneficial when it comes to making real-life connections, and they will help promote your business beyond anything you can add to your profile on the network.

If you stick to these best practices, you’ll soon build a quality list of connections that will stimulate business growth and development. For every network there is a set of rules to abide by. With Twitter there are some things you can get away with, that you can’t on Facebook for example. Always stay on the right side of these rules to get more connections and grow your business network!

How do you meet people on LinkedIn? We want to know!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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