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Build Your Network

Once you have your profile set up, there are many ways to approach connecting on LinkedIn. While we strongly suggest you connect with a broad range of professionals – who might also become future clients or business partners – there are multiple approaches you can take. Social Media Sonar has four encompassing connection strategies:

1. The Lion – Lions are completely open connectors. They seek to increase their connections through actively sending out and accepting connection invitations. While I'm sure there are a few who take pride in touting the specific number, the majority believe that large networks lead to more opportunity.

2. The Turtle – Turtles are the opposite of lions. Turtles primarily connect with those they know well. They see value in having a tight network made up of individuals they completely trust. Their networks tend to be highly selective and can be counted on to pass on introductions, much like a private networking group.

3. The Hound Dog – A Hound Dog is someone who uses LinkedIn to connect to those they know and those they would like to know. They also accept invitations from those that would be beneficial to be connected to.

4. The Alley Cat – Alley cats only send invitations to people they know or people they have a specific reason for connecting to, but they accept invitations from just about anyone. They believe there is value in knowing your connections, but there are also unexpected opportunities that develop from establishing new connections – known and unknown.

There is value in utilizing all of these strategies, and we suggest you use your best judgment.

Who to Connect With? Who should you connect with on LinkedIn?

■ People in your industry

■ Possible new clients

■ Present and past colleagues

■ People you meet at conferences

■ Professional friends

■ Marketing experts

■ Industry and media influencers

Integration with Your Other Networks Often times, your connections on LinkedIn will differ from your fans and followers on your other social media sites. It's important to use LinkedIn to build your audience on your other sites, if they're relevant. You can easily send a message to your connections inviting them to check out your Facebook fan page or follow you on Twitter. We already discussed how you can target specific demographics with your connections; now that you have captured them, you can invite them to engage further through your other platforms as well. We call this cross-pollination, and it's a great way to build each of your social networks.

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