How Executives Can Grow a Smarter LinkedIn Network

Leverage the power of a smarter LinkedIn network and build more profitable connections

September 13, 2016

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In today’s era of social selling, the most successful business leaders are social leaders. The corporate opinion of social media has shifted. Once considered a waste of the professional’s time, social networks now offer concrete and measureable opportunities to grow your business.

Socially engaged companies reap business rewards with access an extended network of prospects and opportunities. As we reveal in our Executive Playbook, studies show they appear more competitive, attract better talent, and leverage more sales through social channels. And that’s only the beginning.

A strong LinkedIn network opens doors—for brands, salespeople, and top executives. It establishes lines of communication with thought leaders, partners, and potential customers. The result? Boosted brand awareness, customer engagement, and overall sales, while providing access to the best insights in the industry.

But to benefit from a web of valuable LinkedIn contacts, you need adopt a smart approach to building your network.

A Smart Strategy Is a Targeted Strategy

If you’re active on LinkedIn, you might have received a connection invite from a stranger. You rack your brain trying to remember which networking event you met them at until concluding that you’ve never met this person before.

The lure of vanity metrics can tempt us to connect anyway—then watch our follower numbers grow. But this approach comes with risks.

Connections irrelevant to your business goals are unprofitable. And they can damage your reputation. Remember, connections are implied endorsements. Just like in the real world, you want to be careful who you endorse.

The real power of LinkedIn lies in developing a network of professionals who can help you achieve your business goals. This is achieved through careful strategy. But what approach is the most effective? First, start with your profile.

Create a Strong Profile

Your profile on LinkedIn serves as your online business card. It’s how potential connections find you, and first step in upping the quality of your connection requests. What’s more, it’s often the first impression of you and your business for new prospects and partners. Make it sloppy and it could be the only impression.

Complete profiles show that you’re active in the LinkedIn community and someone worth connecting to. Filling out your basic info—headline, profile photo, work history—should be a given. But don’t stop there.

This is an opportunity to sell yourself to your potential connections and customers. This isn’t a resume, so don’t be afraid to show a little personality and warm. Introduce yourself in the summary, speak about your proudest achievements and touch upon your future goals. And then add life to your profile with multimedia content that showcases your best work.

Find People with Power

With 400+ million users, LinkedIn gives you access to vast numbers of global and local business connections. But before you begin making connections, you need to identify prospects who can bring you real value and help you achieve your business goals.

Start with LinkedIn search. Using advanced search filters, you can zero in on the perfect lead or industry leader. This powerful tool lets you search by keyword, title, company, location, and current relationship to you. Upgrade to pro and you expand control over the results—filtering by seniority level, function, and years of experience, among others.

Explore your prospects’ activity (or follow them with Sales Navigator) and join relevant discussions. This helps put you or your brand in front of powerful players in your industry, as well as potential new customers.

Attract Valuable Connections

LinkedIn brings amble opportunity for building your reputation as an expert.

Use LinkedIn Pulse to write and share articles on trending topics in your industry, and to spark conversations with other thought leaders.

As you become known for quality curation of intelligent business insights, the quality of your connection requests will skyrocket as a result.  A new LinkedIn connection can be the beginning of a lucrative relationship, but only when nurtured. LinkedIn connections, like real-world business contacts, need attention if they’re to flourish.

So be sure you’re concentrating your efforts on worthwhile connections by planning your approach in advance. With a targeted strategy for growing a smarter network, you can expand your social influence on LinkedIn and beyond.

If you’re ready grow your LinkedIn Network, we have the ultimate 12-step blueprint to become a social leader. Download our Executive Playbook and start building a smarter LinkedIn network today.