Need to strengthen your LinkedIn network? Add these 5 strategic types of people.

Now a Microsoft division, LinkedIn cannot be ignored by leaders who want to stay relevant. One of 3 executives checks LinkedIn daily.

Building your LinkedIn network of professionals is easy if your strategy is clear in your mind. It’s no secret that a strong LinkedIn network can help you:

  • Build a network of colleagues before you need them
  • Solve a challenge from your client or your boss with a trusted LinkedIn colleague by searching your network for the right person
  • Vet your vendors from many to a few finalists
  • Change employers for a new gig because your LinkedIn connection works there

What I suggest

  1. First of all, accept or ignore a LinkedIn invitation as soon as you see it (ignore discontinues the reminder.) Your delay may send the wrong impression to a person who may be important to your network.
  2. Let that someone know their relationship matters (or not) and show professional courtesy.
  3. Avoid the pile-up of invitations which creates a bottleneck for you (I’ve seen 180 invites with one client.)
  4. Invite all current and past clients to join your LinkedIn network. The LinkedIn algorithm suggests “People you may know” using the composition of your current LinkedIn network.
It’s different for everyone, but most of us can benefit from getting to know five specific types of people.

#1 The Networker Extraordinaire

 

You know who they are. They thrive on meeting people and connecting others for synergistic relationships. And their LinkedIn network of connections is very active. If you’re stumped about whom to call, these people seem to know everyone, and love to be a sounding board when you need expertise in a certain area, they can put you in touch with the right people.

How to nurture the networker extraordinaire

Invite them into your LinkedIn network of connections with a thoughtful invite. Example: “What the (bleep) – it surprises me that we’re not linked up here when I see you practically at every turn.” Introduce them to other interesting folks or invite them to events—there’s nothing better than meeting new groups of people from their point of view.

#2 The Insider

People who are like you, job-wise: those people who do your job at other companies. Send them a personalized LinkedIn invitation with your rationale; they’re great for brainstorming or meeting up at national conventions.
Keep the insider up-to-date with what you’re working on, share similar day-to-day challenges or get feedback about one of your projects. For example, you intend to announce a strategic initiative at the board meeting and want an iron-clad business case to win total support. You can search your LinkedIn network for the right leader and get input on your plan, confidentially.

#3 The Outsider

People tangentially related to what you do but do not have your current role, or have your same role outside your own industry. They can offer a broader perspective in many ways.
Since they are in a different industry, it’s been my personal experience that their perspective will be valuable because their angle of insight offers something you might not of thought about.
How to nurture outsiders
Join a LinkedIn group which interests your “outsider” professional. Or search for the outsider using these easy steps.

#4 Senior leaders

These are the people who have a position of influence or possess powerful titles and responsibilities.
Review the speakers at a national forum and send a LinkedIn invite with rationale about how much you learned from their session.
Consider finding and inviting these thought leaders by searching LinkedIn for your alumni from college or graduate schools.
Most alums love to link up with others from the same school. When I send an invite, I’ll ask something relevant like “How do you like the new campus addition?”
Or you have the LinkedIn option to “follow” this leader but not be connected within their network. Easy steps on how to follow are found here.

How to nurture a senior leader

I’ve found that a senior leader may be the front door to new introductions. Comment on or share their LinkedIn activity by looking up their LinkedIn profile and seeing their most recent updates.
Respect their time and energy, to preserve the relationship by not going overboard. Their time is at a premium so be authentic in why you are approaching them.

#5 The Newbie

People with less experience than you, like junior employees or interns, are those whom you can mentor.
I’ve found that these millennials will change employers frequently and may open doors at future companies important to business.
Although young, their insight is fresh and may be spot-on (or not) in scenarios that look different to someone more experienced. Lately, I’ve been seeking to mentor after decades in the business world, something you may be doing as well.

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