I just spent a really long time writing an answer to someone’s question on LinkedIn … and just when I went to click “Post” – the question had expired! D’oh! So rather than my efforts being all for nothing, I thought I’d post my answer here :)
The question was:
How do you get 20,000 contacts on Linkedin?
I see people boasting 20,000 contacts + on linkedin. It has taken me years and I still don’t have 500, granted I did not really go for it until a few days ago. However, if I had put double the amount of effort, I would have had maybe 1000. And that’s a lot of time. Unless Linkedin has been around for roughly 60 years!! So, what are the tricks/tips? By the way, I am well-aware of the relevance issue. So, I am not looking for reminders. If you have any genuine explanations on this(sorry, I cannot think of another word), please answer. Thank you, Darren.
The main reason I built up my network (12k) was because when I wanted to connect with someone, I couldn’t. LinkedIn makes it really difficult to communicate with people if you are not connected with them in some way. ie. one example is I want to move to Bali and I want to connect up with local expats who are in the same industry as me for advice and networking. Having more connections gives me an “in” to “get introduced” to a connection I may not of previously had access to.
The added benefit of having a large network is that once you are connected to someone, you also have a link to all their connections – whenever that connection comments on your status updates/answers, etc, you come up on ‘their’ activity stream for their connections even if they are not connected to you, so you get the added benefit of more exposure to people who might be looking for your expertise, etc.
The disadvantages of having a big network is the HUGE amount of spam. :(
But back to your question on specifically “how”… I built my network by:
1.) Joining LION groups and connecting with people who have a large network (I’ve removed myself from all of them now) but just by joining all those groups, hundreds of people will start connecting with you each week, and if these “LION’s” engage on your status updates, you get that added benefit that I previously mentioned
2.) Putting my email address in my profile summary so that the first thing people see is how to connect with me easily – they don’t have to stalk me to get my info, I’ve made it really simple for anyone who wants to connect with me to get the info they need to do it
3.) Making it clear that you welcome new connections is important as people are scared that you are going to click on “I don’t know”, so you have to spell-it-out that you welcome new invites if you want people to feel comfortable connecting with you.
4.) I made this mistake earlier and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone – but it did boost my network extremely fast, I joined an opennetworkers group that shared a list of other open networkers. The problem is that everyone’s emails were contained in a spreadsheet – you can probably guess that the spreadsheet has been shared around black hat sites and abused by the same members (adding you to their autoresponders and so on)… my spam for my open networks email account is ‘out of control’ – I wish I had never joined it and do not recommend this to anyone.
5.) Optimize your profile with keywords relevant to the types of searches people you would like to connect with would search for. Fill out your profile to the max, and with every section, make sure you include relevant descriptions containing those keywords. The higher you rank in the linkedin search results, the more “eyes” on your profile & the more connections you will get (also make your profile “stand-out” in the search results by optimizing your Professional “Headline” section)
6.) Add your LinkedIn button/link everywhere – your email signature, your twitter account, your facebook account, pdf’s, forum profiles, etc.
7.) Have a couple of blog posts about LinkedIn on your website, and at the end of the blog post invite people to connect with you (note: I didn’t create the blog posts just to get connections, it was a happy by-product where I’ve received thousands of new connections due to my LinkedIn posts).
And I haven’t done this but it will work – if you create slideshows, videos, webinars, pinterest infographics, and so on about LinkedIn – you are likely to get the same response, a surge of new connections.