It’s that time of year again. The school year is upon us, and everywhere you look there are “back to school” specials and sales so kids can start the year with a fresh, new look. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s your chance for a fresh, new start in the social-media world.

Below are some helpful tips on how to build quality audiences on LinkedIn using your current contact lists (because starting from scratch with zero followers or fans can be hard).

Finding the right people to connect with on LinkedIn can be easy! Below are 2 great ways to get started.

1. Add Connections feature. LinkedIn allows you to upload your email contacts and will automatically search for addresses connected to a LinkedIn account. So if any of your current contacts have a LinkedIn profile, you can easily send them an invitation to connect.

2. Relevant groups. Try to join as many relevant groups as possible (ideally 15-30). Search for groups related to your physical location or industry or those that appeal to your current clients (who you will be connected to after you import your contacts). Once you are accepted, you can search the members of each group for people you would like to connect with. (Remember: When you do send them an invitation to connect, personalize it and make your case for why you should be connected.)

Following these simple guidelines will help you build up your networks. Just remember it’s the quality, not just the quantity, of people in your audience that makes the difference.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.