Using LinkedIn to build professional connections can be a powerful tool in your business arsenal. LinkedIn boasts millions of members, and your profile on the site has a huge array of ways to showcase your professional talents and accomplishments. I’ve talked before about how to put together a great profile that will help you get found by other people who might be good connections. But who exactly should you be connecting with?
Like I said above, LinkedIn has millions of users. So should you accept connection requests from everyone who sends them? Probably not. While LinkedIn is a professional website, it is not free from spammers and people who are not looking to make actual connections. LinkedIn is a good place to be selective when it comes to saying yes to connection requests.
In order to attract the right kind of connections, here are a few things you can do to your profile:
- Figure out a strategy as to how you want yourself to be seen on LinkedIn. Do you want to paint yourself as an expert in a particular field or niche? If so, make sure that you use the right keywords when it comes to your summary and work descriptions.
- Think about your target audience. Are you looking to join professional groups or have them notice you? Tailor your content as such.
- Think about how much time you have to spend making connections on LinkedIn. Once you have a time frame in mind, you can come up with a game plan.
So how do you decide who to let into your LinkedIn network? Here are a few tips:
- I generally say yes to anyone that I know. You can take this strategy, or you can be selective in who you add. Just be prepared for questions or reminders from colleagues or acquaintances who you have chosen not to add to your network.
- If the request is coming from someone who you don’t know, take a minute to look over their profile. Do you have something in common? Maybe you went to the same college, had the same major, or worked for the same company in the past. Maybe you have a mutual friend or professional connection. Vet the person who is asking before saying yes or no.
- Don’t feel bad about saying no. It’s fine to keep your professional network relatively closed. If you don’t see any value in adding the person who has requested to join your network, then don’t!
When building out your connections on LinkedIn, remember that you are in control. Follow these tips above and you’ll be on your way to building meaningful connections.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.