There are several ways to develop your network on LinkedIn.
- Start by importing your Outlook, webmail or Gmail contacts:
- Export the contacts to a .csv or .vcf file – check the instructions in your email Help
- In LinkedIn, select Connections from the main menu
- Select Add connections
- Select your email client and enter your email address
If you have a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL address the contacts will be automatically recognized.
If you click for ex. Gmail, LinkedIn asks you to enter your Gmail address
If LinkedIn was able to connect to your email account it will display the contacts you have that were found on LinkedIn and that you could add as connections.
If you want to make a selection of certain contacts first, deselect the Select all box
- Make sure you deselect the boxes next to the people you do not want to invite
- If you click Add Connections, the LinkedIn basic invitation is sent to all the selected contacts
- Then LinkedIn shows the contacts found on your address book who are not LinkedIn members and offers you to invite them if you click Add to network.
Another way of importing contacts is to sync your address books with LinkedIn
On the LinkedIn main navigation bar, Click Connections, Keep in Touch
The LinkedIn Contacts application opens.
Click the Settings icon. Here’s what you will see:
This shows the source of the contacts that you have, in this case for ex. Gmail, Yahoo, Linkedin, Outlook, and allows you to Sync, that is gather all the information related to contacts, calendar, email on Linkedin.
Clicking Refresh also fires off the sync.
Under Applications you may also sync for ex with Evernote or other applications you may be using.
The bottom part of this screen deals with File import.
You may import your contacts files from a variety of sources and formats, vCard, CSV, etc.
- Export your contacts from your webmail, Outlook or other email to a .vcf or csv file
- Sort your contacts and delete those you do not wish to import in LinkedIn
- Select the file you created by exporting and sorting your contacts
- Click the Import button
Another efficient way of growing your network is to become an Open Networker on LinkedIn.
There are those who are for this solution and those who are very much against it.
If you prefer to limit your connections to people you know, then this option is not for you.
If on the other side you want to grow your network rather fast, then you’d need to visit the following sites and join some of their programs. The paid ones allow you to receive invitations from thousands of members, without depleting your invitation store.
- LinkedIn Open Networker (LION)inviteswelcome.com
- Open Networker Alliance (ONA)www.opennetworkersalliancelist.com
- Top Linkedwww.toplinked.com
If you decide to subscribe to an open networkers’ list you take the following commitments towards all the open networkers who will send you invitations to connect:
- You will not indicate I do not know this person (no IDK)
- You will not report the person as having spammed you ( no Spam)
What are the benefits of an extended network?
- The more 1st level contacts you have, the largest your overall network (1st, 2nd and 3d levels), so the more people you reach in status messages, and the more visible you will be to your target market, and the more times you will appear in Search results.
- Your hidden market for jobs but also for leads is within your 2nd level connections
Another good way of growing your network is to become a thought leader by:
- Sharing interesting status messages
- Participating in LinkedIn groups discussions
- Creating discussions inside LinkedIn groups
- Creating one or more groups on LinkedIn
- Publishing long form posts on the LinkedIn platform (look for the pencil icon on your homepage status window)
Either way, as your network grows, you will receive more work opportunities and more business deals.