Like any social network, success on LinkedIn takes time and effort. I have 30,000 first-degree connections, and it took me several years and daily effort to reach that plateau. If you're looking to grow your LinkedIn network, and build your reputation on the platform, here are some basic tips that might help:
1. Make sure your profile says something about you
No one wants to engage with someone who is basically anonymous with no picture and very few details regarding work history. Put some stuff in your profile - tell people who you are, where you've worked, what positions you've held, and what you've accomplished. It'll be much easier to connect with people and grow your network.
2. Customize your profile URL and share it with contacts
Share a link to your profile with contacts so you can connect with them and build your network (you can even add it to your email signature). But don't send the standard link that LinkedIn assigns you - change it to something like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname, which looks more professional. It's quick and easy. Here are the instructions.
3. Let people know you're open to connecting
Does your profile indicate to visitors that you're open to connecting? If not, perhaps add a line that says something like "If you also work in the retail industry, feel free to send me a connection request. I enjoy networking, sharing my thoughts, and learning from others. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to reach out!"
4. Post regularly in your home page feed
I would recommend posting every day, or at least a few times a week - as long as you're providing value (if you're wasting people's time, they'll realize it quickly and unfollow you). Share your knowledge, pass along valuable content, ask questions, and engage with your connections. Your network won't grow if you don't participate.
5. Reply to comments on your posts
If you're posting just for the sake of posting, people will quickly see that. Make sure you're providing value to your network and participating in the discussions. If you don't reply to comments, or at least like them, then don't expect people to comment in the future.
6. Act on other people's posts
Share the love. You like it when your posts get recognized, right? Do the same for others. When you see something of value, either like it, comment on it, or share it. (But don't respond to those "Just wondering who can see this - like or comment so I know" posts. They're scams designed to gain traction on LinkedIn.)
7. Reach out to people you'd like to connect with
How do you know who you'd like to connect with? If you're active on LinkedIn, you'll know. Send a personalized connection request that briefly explains why you'd like to connect, and watch your network grow. Remember, your community is only as valuable as the people who are in it.
8. Get involved with LinkedIn groups
Yes, many of them are abandoned or full of spam. In the case of retail-related groups, most of them get swarmed by tech companies who push their products under the guise of blog posts. But there is still value to be found - you just need to know where to look. I keep a pretty tight lid on my groups, Retail Careers USA (50,000 members) and Retail Careers Canada (14,000 members) - feel free to check them out and get involved.
The more engaged you are, the more your network will grow. It takes effort and consistency, but the results will be worth it.
Best of luck!