The number of connections you have on LinkedIn instantly signals how well networked you are. The larger your LinkedIn network, the more exposed you are to new networking and professional opportunities. So how can you go about adding more connections to your profile?
I have one tip for you (get mentally prepared because this is going to be revolutionary): send personal messages.
I cannot count the times I have received invitations to connect with people without knowing how they have heard of me. Some people would like to expand their professional network, they stumble upon my LinkedIn profile and click "connect." They might even know me from somewhere, but they still don't bother writing a line or two explaining how we might be connected. I don't accept these invitations. (And LinkedIn doesn't like them, either.)
However, I have accepted to connect with people whose names I don't recognize if they add a personal message. Some folks take the time to write that they enjoy my blog posts, ebooks or Twitter updates. I'd love to be connected with people who follow my work.
Of course, I am not arguing that everyone on LinkedIn behaves like me. People approach their LinkedIn presence in different ways. Still, the chances of you making a connection by adding a personal message are definitely higher than if you simple left the default "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." In fact, erase that message altogether. Instead, add an explanation of how you know the person and why would like to connect with him/her.
With more than 150 million member, LinkedIn is the word's largest professional social network. Start leveraging the power of this platform.