That’s a question I’ve been asking my clients over the past few years. And in these days of social distancing, where the majority of our interactions happen online, the question has never been more important.
Here are the answers I get from the majority of people:
- I don’t know
- Never thought about that
- Maybe 10 to 15 percent
That tells me most people aren’t being very strategic in adding connections to their LinkedIn networks. That answer also means they need a little tuneup on how to strategically grow their networks. And there’s no better time than now to perform that tuneup!
Who Should Be in Your Network?
Let’s start with this idea. Connections are the gas in your LinkedIn tank, and every time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, it affects the quality of your network—just like the quality of the gas you purchase affects how your car runs. In other words, not all connections are created equal.
Most people add connections haphazardly, but to be highly successful on LinkedIn it’s important to develop a strategy for growing a dynamic network that will help you reach your most ambitious goals.
Everyone’s situation is unique, but here are some general suggestions that will help you understand your target audience, what types of people you should connect with, to strengthen your network and help you grow your business, find a job, enhance your brand, or assist your favorite nonprofit.
Who Can Help You Find a New Job?
- 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 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 Your Volunteer Efforts?
- People who volunteer for or sit on boards of similar nonprofits
- Individuals who work at large corporations, foundations, etc. and tend to support nonprofits
- People who are involved in groups that have large volunteer pools (e.g., religious organizations, schools, clubs, etc.)
Who Can Help Your Side Gig?
- Individuals who are the direct decision-makers for the purchase of your products and services
- People who are indirectly involved in the decision to purchase your products and services
- High-ranking officers at the companies that purchase your products and services, even if they’re not the direct decision-makers
- Leaders of your industry associations and/or people who manage industry events
- Individuals who are well networked in your region
Are you strategically improving the quality of your LinkedIn network by connecting with the right target audience? If you are, you’ll be better positioned to find a job, enhance your brand, work as a volunteer, and get leads for your side gig.
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.