Last month, I wrote about the ways advisors can optimize their LinkedIn profile (Read: How to create a professional LinkedIn profile)

Now, I’m going to show you how you can attract more leads and clients using your LinkedIn connections.

Once you have completed your profile and ensured it speaks to your ideal clients and industry connections, you’re ready to begin using the platform as a powerful lead generation tool.

Read: LinkedIn proves social media stocks work

1. Find current contacts

Use LinkedIn search to find your existing business contacts and connect with them. Pull out your little black book and start sending connection requests one-by-one. Though it might be a bit tedious at first, it’s worth the effort.

TIP: Don’t send invites via email. Always search through LinkedIn’s website and send connection requests through the site. Importing your email contacts to send invitations wastes your limited amount of LinkedIn invites (3,000 total), so avoid this practice.

2. Use advanced search

Once you’ve exhausted all of your existing contacts, you’ll need to start looking outside your network. And advanced search can help you do this. Though certain features are only accessible to those with paid LinkedIn accounts, you can still access key features from the free version. These include filtering by industry, relationship and location.

advanced search

3. Nurture connections

Always strive to reach out to your connections. If lawyers are part of your target market, make the effort to send them relevant articles they might find helpful, for instance. It gives you a simple reason to connect in a way that isn’t self-serving or promotional.

Read: Social networking is the future of business

4. Join relevant groups

LinkedIn groups are a great way to target prospects in a specific niche. Search for local groups if you typically advise clients in your area, and always search using keywords relevant to your business and industry.

NOTE: The maximum amount of groups you can join on LinkedIn is 50.

joining groups

5. Engage your LinkedIn groups

Once you’ve joined a few groups, you need to start relevant discussions to engage the members. Make sure you choose a topic that lets you give your advice and showcase your expertise. In addition to connecting with prospects, advisors should proactively connect with their existing clients and potential strategic alliances or referral partners on the network.

group discussions

6. Become a leading authority

Groups are also a great place to drive highly-targeted traffic to your blog—creating a blog is one of the fastest ways to establish yourself as a leading authority in your industry online. You can also gain traffic simply by publishing a regular blog and sharing posts within relevant LinkedIn groups. All content should be of the highest possible quality since you need to focus on showcasing your knowledge and credibility.

Read: Social media: Is time of the essence? and Business blogging: Nothing to fear

7. Give recommendations

The best way to get recommendations on LinkedIn is to give them, so don’t hesitate to offer your praise. But remember: you can harm your credibility by recommending people who don’t provide good service, so only make recommendations for top-notch people connections.

recommendation

8. Watch your connections’ status updates

Take advantage of every good opportunity to connect with your contacts by watching status updates on the LinkedIn homepage. Whether it’s a great post or a promotion announcement, make sure to quickly comment on status updates. You’ll remain top of mind and your clients will know you care.

9. Send personalized follow up messages

Whether someone is connecting with you or vice versa, you should always follow up with a personalized thank you message via LinkedIn.

TIP: Check out their profile first to see if there are any common factors or interests you can draw on. That way, the message won’t seem like an automatic reply.

Read: 10 tips on building your network

messages

10. Use LinkedIn’s endorsement feature

Use this feature to give a one-click credibility boost to your connections. Similar to recommendations, you’ll receive more endorsements if you’re open to giving them.

11. Connect other people

If you have connections that could create a strategic alliance, don’t hesitate to connect them. By actively promoting your existing connections, you’ll position yourself as a viable referral partner. And the more you promote others, the more they’ll promote you and your services.

Read: Using social media to build trust

Melonie Dodaro is the founder of Top Dog Social Media. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer.