Building your LinkedIn network has many advantages. More connections lead to more conversations, which in turn leads to more business. Think in terms of contacts, clients, influencers, prospective clients and highly networked people. LinkedIn will then work better for you. You can accept up to 30,000 connections; however you only (initially) have 3000 contact requests (you may be able to increase this).
When you make an interesting new contact, check to see if they belong to LinkedIn. If they do, put in a connection request.
The search function only allows you to search for people within your network, the networks of each of your contacts and their contact’s networks. If you have not joined by accepting an invitation to connect with someone who is already on LinkedIn, you will need to build your personal network from scratch, by connecting via email.
* You can do this by clicking the Connect button on a members’ profile page (you will be asked for their email address).
* Search results – Click Connect to the right of the person’s information.
* Via My Network / Add Contacts within the navigation bar
If you have accepted an invitation to link with someone who has already established a personal network on LinkedIn, you will instantly have access to their network. The quickest way to build your network is to connect with people who are already on LinkedIn. You can do this by emailing some of your contacts, providing them with your LinkedIn URL and asking them to connect with you.
Extracted from A Guide to Using LinkedIn by Nigel Temple.