If you've had a LinkedIn profile for some time and aren't doing much there, you would have noticed the elusive 500+ connections club on LinkedIn.

Firstly, let's define what a connection is on LinkedIn in comparison to what a follower is on the platform.

On LinkedIn, a connection is when you both are connected to each other 1st degree. When you send a connection request to someone and they accept your connection you both automatically also "follow" each other.

In contrast, you can simply follow people without sending a connection request, which essentially means you will be subscribed to their content and you will see it on your feed and they will not see yours.

How to get 500 connections on LinkedIn?

We will always recommend that you try to build an engaged audience on any social media platform in particular on LinkedIn.

“Your network is your net worth.”

You may have heard the saying “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. At SHIELD we believe this to be true, and we have seen the benefits time and time again from individuals having a high-quality network on LinkedIn.

If you're a business looking to generate leads or somebody looking for a career change, your time on LinkedIn can both educate and inspire you. It’s also the number one platform to grow your personal brand.

Don’t get caught up in trying to achieve a connection figure or a follower count, because it is far more important that you have a quality network and an engaged audience.

Here are some practical ways to build your audience in the right way:

1. Make sure that you're connected with people of interest

If you're looking to expand your audience on LinkedIn, consider friends, family, past colleagues, current colleagues, mentors and anybody else that you know. Make sure that you are connected with them on LinkedIn.

Most people have a LinkedIn profile having formerly formally used it as an online CV, but as we know, LinkedIn is becoming much more than that. It is a social media and content platform with an incredible opportunity.

Because the organic reach on LinkedIn is so high, it is essential your content receives engagement because this allows it to be seen by others networks of people. Therefore, it is advantageous to have a foundation of your connections to be people who know you and will support you because they will be putting your content in front of other people.

2. Show up regularly

A long term strategy for building a high quality audience over time is to post consistently. Check out our article here on how to post more content on LinkedIn.

If you're showing up consistently on LinkedIn, posting content and providing value to your audience, you will experience audience growth. The value that you provide and your follower account grow in proportion.

3. Be proactive

An important part of growing your audience is to make sure you are not complacent and waiting for good things to happen. It is essential that you are part of the community on LinkedIn, both by engaging with other's content and creating your own. Nobody has ever grown a powerful, authentic, and organic audience on any social media platform without being a part of the community and without providing value.

Therefore, it is essential that you are proactive with sending out connection requests yourself.

We would not advise that you send out 100s of connection requests a day(LinkedIn is known to restrict accounts that send too many connection requests!). It is essential though that when you see good content and when you were inspired by other people on the platform that you connect with those creators to build out your audience in the right ways.

Sending a short note with your connection requests to explain why you're reaching out is a great practice. It is always a compliment to receive a direct message which is sincere and compliments either their content, something you saw on their profile or a common interest. This doubles up as a great way to increase the likelihood of someone connecting back.

4. Start meaningful collaborations

It is a great idea to collaborate with people that you know or people that you've come across online, who inspire you or whose content is of interest. This could be creating content with somebody in your industry to share knowledge, insights or different perspectives.

Collaborations are great because it means you are exposed to someone else's audience who will immediately trust you, as a recommendation from somebody they enjoy. This is a great way to be put in front of more of the right people, regardless of your reasoning for posting content on LinkedIn.

Don't forget that behind every headline and picture is a person.

The benefits from having 500 connections on LinkedIn are the same benefits you receive from being surrounded by inspiring people in real life.

See you soon 👋Joe