Create your base
Every network has a core group of connections. It’s the people you see on a regular basis and who serve as the foundation to your professional network. Build your initial network by connecting with colleagues, clients, friends, and family. They’re your brand advocates and will help promote your business to their connections.
Reach out to fellow alumni
One of your past classmates could be just the person you need to take your business to the next level. Broaden your network by connecting with other professionals from your alma mater. Go to the Students & Alumni section of your university page and sort alumni by the years you attended to find fellow classmates.
Find new contacts in LinkedIn Groups
Groups are a great place to expand your knowledge around a given topic, find like-minded professionals, and build new business relationships. Join Groups that match your professional interests. Start engaging in conversations, and you’ll quickly find others you want to connect with.
Make connecting part of your routine
Anyone you come in contact with in your professional career can make a valuable addition to your network. When you make new business contacts at events, conferences, and meetings, cement the relationship by connecting with them on LinkedIn. You may not be in need of their help now, but they could be just the people you need down the road.
Search for contacts on LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn Search to quickly find the contacts you’re looking for by industry and location. Additional Premium filters like function, seniority level, and years of experience can further narrow your search down to the exact person. In some cases, someone in your network may already be connected with them, making it easier to connect through a warm introduction.
Once you’ve found potential connections on LinkedIn, there are several ways to reach out. If you share a mutual connection, engaging with a contact is as easy as requesting an introduction (look for the "Introductions" module on the right of their profile page).
Don’t have a mutual connection? No problem. You can reach out to any LinkedIn member using LinkedIn’s Premium messaging platform, InMail, which on average gets a response rate three times higher than email.