The winner of the searching aspect of the LinkedIn game is generally the person who has a lot of connections. However, please continue to keep in mind that when you first start using LinkedIn, I recommend you only add to your network people whom you know and trust.
Because when you add a new contact, you put your extremely valuable personal LinkedIn network in his or her hands.
Remember, it is your personal LinkedIn network. It is a possession you have worked your entire career to build. And when you add a connection on LinkedIn, it is like handing your Outlook database to that individual. So you must be able trust that new contact to treat it as professionally as you would treat his.
And once you start getting more comfortable with the way LinkedIn works? Start selectively adding people you may not know… but would like to get to know.
Everyone’s situation is unique, of course. But here are some general suggestions that will help you understand what types of people you may want to connect with to strengthen your personal LinkedIn network.
Who Can Help You Enhance Your Brand?
- People who have had similar career paths to yours
- Leaders in your industry associations
- Individuals who have large networks (LinkedIn or otherwise) concentrated in your region or industry
- People who work for some of the well-respected companies in your region and industry
Who Can Help You Advance Your Career?
- People who work in your industry and region
- People who work for companies you are interested in
- Recruiters who specialize in your industry
- Consultants and experts in your industry
- Human resources professionals who work at your target companies
Who Can Help Your Favorite Nonprofit?
- People who volunteer for or sit on boards of similar nonprofits
- Individuals who work at large corporations, foundations, etc. and tend to support nonprofits like yours
- People who are involved in groups that have large volunteer pools (e.g., religious organizations, schools, clubs, etc.)
- People who work for media outlets
Who Can Help You Grow Your Business?
- Individuals who are the direct decision-makers for the purchase of your products and services
- People who indirectly help make the decision to purchase your products and services (strategic influencers or people from the company who weigh in on the decision)
- High-ranking officers at the companies that purchase your products and services, even if they’re not the direct decision-makers
- Individuals who hang around with the people listed in the first two bullets (probably deliver similar services to the same purchasers)
- People who are recognized industry experts
- Leaders of your industry associations and/or people who manage industry events
- Individuals who are well networked in your region or industry
- Experts who provide educational content for the industry
Improve the quality of your personal LinkedIn network by connecting with the above-referenced people. At that point, you’re strategically positioned to enhance your brand, find a job, assist your favorite nonprofit, or grow your business.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.