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4 Ways to Make High-Quality Connections on LinkedIn Moves the needle for you, your brand, and your business.

By Josh Steimle Edited by Heather Wilkerson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For decades, business professionals have been repeating the mantra, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." While skills and expertise go a long way, a strong professional network can go even further in helping you build your dream career.

Luckily, professionals today don't have to build their networks all on their own. Business people can use LinkedIn to make connections, build a network, and advance their careers. Sadly, many people don't know how to use this platform to their advantage.

Some people assume a large network of connections will be the key to their success, however, if you want to see your career take off, it's essential to make high-quality connections. When you connect with the right people on LinkedIn, you'll start to see how valuable your professional network can be.

1. Find your niche

When you're new to LinkedIn, you may want to post content that appeals to a broad range of people in order to grow your network. But you should resist that urge. There are already thousands of people sharing vague content on LinkedIn trying to appeal to everybody.

If you want to stand out, post content that's highly valuable to a specific group of people. While many people will look past your posts and forget them, the people who really matter will remember and engage. Those are the types of people who are likely to become your high-quality connections.

BlackRock, an investment firm, proved that niche content works when they posted content about advanced topics that would appeal to only a certain audience that was familiar with the financial planning and investment industry. The company generated $17 to 18 million in revenue with LinkedIn activity alone by using this content strategy.

The strategy BlackRock used to generate revenue is easily transferable to individual users hoping to drive higher quality connections. Determine who you're trying to reach and create content just for them. You'll see your connections become much more engaged as you do this.

Related: 5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche

2. Take advantage of creator mode

Creator mode is fairly new, so many people are unaware of how to use it and how much it can benefit you in reaching a wider audience. When you enable creator mode, LinkedIn more prominently displays your content. After about two months of using creator mode, your reach and engagement will grow.

One of the main benefits of creator mode is that your community of followers should grow five times more quickly. When you're in creator mode, the "Connect" button on your profile changes to "Follow." This signals to people that you're a thought leader with important ideas to share. Creator mode will also increase your reach by 15% if you use hashtags in your content and in your profile.

The button to enable "Creator Mode" is found on your dashboard, which can be found by visiting your profile. After enabling this feature, you'll also want to select five topics or hashtags you post about most frequently. Be sure to highlight these topics in your profile, so people know what you have to offer.

3. Add a few hashtags to every post

Hashtags are a perfect way to get your content in front of the right people. Hashtags allow you to categorize your content and link it to other relevant content. According to Richard van der Blom's annual roundup of LinkedIn algorithm updates, three to five hashtags are the perfect amount. Make sure each of your hashtags is relevant to your content, though.

One of the best ways to use hashtags effectively is to connect yourself to current trending news. This is called "newsjacking." When a news story is trending and all the people you want to be connected to are discussing it, use a hashtag to piggyback on those trends, and get some great traffic to your content.

It's also a good idea to link your content with hashtags when you're posting a series. For example, if you're posting daily tips for content marketers, try using a relevant hashtag to connect each of those related posts.

Related: How to Get to the Top of LinkedIn's Search Results

4. Create unique content that provides real value

You want your LinkedIn connections to remember your unique qualities. When they see your name, they should be able to instantly remember what sets you apart from all the other people out there. To do this, you have to create unique content. Posting fluff won't build you strong LinkedIn connections. Your content should provide real value that no one else out there is providing.

Some people think they should keep their secrets to success to themselves, but it's exactly this type of content that will bring you the best type of connections. Provide your followers and connections with all of your formulas and methods, completely free. It may seem like you're getting nothing in return, but when you start seeing the quality of your connections increase, you'll notice it's more than a fair trade.

You'll notice the quality of your connections increasing as you post content that offers insight that can't be found anywhere else. When people read your content, they'll begin thinking of you as an industry expert, and they'll be excited to connect and engage with you on LinkedIn.

Josh Steimle

Speaker, writer, and entrepreneur.

Joshua Steimle is a speaker, writer, and CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency with offices in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

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