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How to expand your professional network on LinkedIn June 3, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Social Media.
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Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a network increases in proportion to the square of connections.

(The following text is from a note I wrote in response to a sincere letter from one of my professional contacts on LinkedIn who asked me how I am able to expand my network of professional contacts on LinkedIn to such a great degree in such a short amount of time. There are ongoing debates about quantity vs. quality that rage online. I am of the school that you need a high quantity of high quality connections in order to experience the benefits of “Network externalities” or “Network effects”, in much the same manner as I have written about regarding Twitter. A large network allows you to see deep within organizations, check out potential employers, potential hires, and find out so much more than just having a few professional connections affords you. The point of networking isn’t to have communications amongst people already in your address book or the people you currently work with; The point of networking is to expand your professional horizons and connect with people you don’t know but would like to.)

Hi Jim –

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any requests or questions – I love to help any of my professional contacts!

There are a couple of simple techniques you can use to increase your connections on LinkedIn in order to expand your professional network:

1. Research and read articles and blog posts from the LinkedIn experts: I highly recommend Guy Kawasaki’s articles on LinkedIn, and there are many others that are just a Google search away. I read many of these articles and it helped me tremendously.

2. Join Groups on LinkedIn and post connection requests there (if they are allowed) – in LinkedIn groups where they are not officially allowed, you can usually get away with starting a discussion and then placing your connection request at the end or in your signature. This is a very effective technique.

3. If you have a personal blog, place a link to your LinkedIn profile there, as I have done:

https://hubtechinsider.wordpress.com/my-technology-experience/

and then you can get lots of connection requests from that avenue. People like to connect to people in their field of interest or vocation.

4. Start incorporating LinkedIn connection requests into your other online communications (email, facebook, twitter, etc.) to gain more connections.

5. Work on getting your present and past friends and work associates to link with you on LinkedIn.

6. I highly recommend joining an organization known as TopLinked.com, now known as OpenNetworker.com – for $10 / mth., you will begin receiving many requests for connections. I recommend you do research on LinkedIn using the sources I described above in order to decide if a vastly expanded network of professional contacts on LinkedIn is for you. I find that it helps greatly in providing an enhanced “vision” into companies and organizations that you just cannot get with a small number of connections. One of the points of networking is to expand your professional horizons, and that doesn’t really mean connecting to people you already know. Opennetworker.com is also a way of networking, not just some paid service. It means leaving your connections open for viewing on LinkedIn, providing introductions for people from your network of professional contacts, and providing help to people who sincerely request it as you have done. Provide help, information, and networking to your connections. Be a good networker by putting in the effort. It also means never hitting the “I don’t know this user” button; If someone requests a connection you’d rather not be connected with, simply archive the request. Someone reached out to you — don’t repay their efforts with a rude act like hitting “IDK”, as it has repercussions on LinkedIn for people who are simply trying to expand their professional horizons.

Having a large professional network can bring you benefits down the road that you are not even aware of at present. It has already brought me alot of joy. Think of what is called “Network externalities”, or “Network effects”. These concepts are behind the very underpinnings of the World Wide Web and the Internet. Start using them to your advantage.

I hope this helps; Thanks for your nice note Jim!

– Paul

(By the way, if you are currently on LinkedIn and would like to connect with me, please don’t hesitate to send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn – thanks for reading my blog!)

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About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. You can subscribe to Hub Tech Insider’s RSS feed in your RSS feed reader. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m the Senior Technical Project Manager at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

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