One of the reasons to join any social media network is to increase your reach to new prospects and widen your circle of influence. LinkedIn.com makes it really simple to expand your network by simply using the tools they have available to both free and premium account users. With over 225 million users and growing, you can’t miss out on using LinkedIn to grow your reach and expand your network.
* Know your target market – It’s important to know what your goal is when connecting with people and who your target market is in terms of people to connect with. You can have more than one target on LinkedIn such as your target market to sell your products and services, and your target market of people with whom you want to partner, and even a target of people from whom you want to learn.
* Improve your profile – Keep on top of your profile by checking it for accuracy and improvement possibilities at least quarterly. Use keyword-rich bulleted points rather than sentences in your profile summary. Within your experience, use keywords to describe what you accomplished and what you do. Fill out the profile as completely as possible; don’t skip any element.
* Invite people – Put your LinkedIn profile on your business cards so that people know where to find you and connect with you. Also, use the invitations that LinkedIn allows to invite others to your network. LinkedIn provides tools such as being able to use your address book in multiple email clients to choose people to invite. Don’t send out a block invite to anyone, though, do take the time to send out personal invites.
* Get people to invite you – Put your LinkedIn profile link in the signature of your emails, and in any directories you’re a part of so that people can invite you to their networks. Become an open networker so that you can receive a wide range of invites from people. Do be selective in accepting invites, but this is a great way to expand your network.
* Join groups strategically – Groups are a great way to expand your network on LinkedIn. Join groups focused on the topics that you feel are most likely to consist of your target audiences mentioned above. You’ll immediately be connected to all the members, but you can go further and invite stand-out members to your network and be open to asking them to invite you.
* Create your own groups – Another great way to expand your network on LinkedIn is to create your own groups. LinkedIn lets anyone create groups on their network, even those with a free account. What’s more, within the group you can promote your website via RSS feeds while helping to build your personal network. People who join the group will ask to connect with you.
* Use tags – Each of your contacts has a section called notes and tags. You can use keywords to tag each new connection. It helps to keep connections organized and allows you to send out messages only to those whom you’ve tagged. There are default tags, and you can create your own. Tags will help you remember people so that you can build better relationships. A good idea for tags might be where you met, the group they’re part of, or what target market they fit in.
* Try Advanced search – At the top of LinkedIn there is a search window; beside it is the word “Advanced.” If you click that it will take you to a page where you can customize your search on LinkedIn. You can search by location, company, industry, and so forth. If you are trying to connect with a specific type of person, do your search from here.
By using all the tools available to you on LinkedIn, you’ll soon expand your network with just a little work each day.