When you hear the word LinkedIn, what are the first words that pop into your mind? Networking? Strangers? Well, you’re 100% right.
You can’t build your LinkedIn network without including strangers, like someone you briefly met at a conference- no matter how intimidating it feels.
But if you’re new to LinkedIn, networking can be pretty confusing. Lucky for you, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to answer all your LinkedIn networking questions. In this blog post, we’ll explore the following:
- Whether LinkedIn is a social networking site
- How-to tips for using LinkedIn for networking
- The Do’s and Don’ts of sending a LinkedIn networking message
- Steps on how to send a networking message on LinkedIn
- And a bonus: templates for networking messages on LinkedIn
Let’s start networking!
How to Network with Strangers on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn currently has over 875 million members, which means more opportunities for you to grow your professional brand. But if you’re new on LinkedIn, you might wonder how it’s different from most social networking sites.
According to research, approximately 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly, and 49 million people seek job offers on this business-oriented platform. Furthermore, companies hire at least six people per minute, and 77 job applications are submitted per second.
Therefore, it’s evident that LinkedIn is the perfect social media channel to build your brand, unlock job opportunities, and find talented employees. To fully utilize this resource, you must invest time and care to optimize your profile and leverage the right networking strategies.
How to Use LinkedIn for Networking?
Using LinkedIn to network efficiently is not impossible. While it might take some while for you to get comfortable, there are several steps you can follow to ensure personal and professional success:
- Finish and optimize your profile
- Reach out to other LinkedIn users
- Send an outreach message
- Give and request recommendations and endorsements
- Leverage LinkedIn groups to get exposure
- Create engaging and informative content
- Boost your organizational and professional profile
- Ask for informational interviews
9 Tips on How to Network on LinkedIn
Now, let’s go through the top nine tips you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile and expand your professional network:
Complete Your Profile
The obvious step after making a LinkedIn account is finishing your profile. But surprisingly enough, only 50% of LinkedIn users have a complete profile.
So, before you try complex strategies, ensure your LinkedIn profile is 100% filled out. That means no gaps, no blank spaces, and no question marks. Why? Because LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes a complete profile.
Complete your profile with Octopus CRM LinkedIn profile writing service to stand out among others!
So, ensure you fill in the following sections in your LinkedIn profile:
- A headline
- A profile photo and background picture
- A compelling summary
- A job title
- A country and zip code
- Past work experiences with relevant dates
- Education sector
- Volunteer work and other hobbies
- Five+ relevant skills
Related article: How to Improve LinkedIn Profile
Define Your Networking Goal
Before you dive into LinkedIn, consider taking a step back and asking yourself, “why?” Why do you want to network on LinkedIn? What’s your primary purpose?
Being clear about your goals will keep you hyper-focused on connecting with the right people. Try using the SMART acronym to start setting your objectives.
With the SMART criteria, you can refine your goals and make the ideal decisions for your time and effort:
- Specific – Question whether your goal is clear enough for you to start inviting people to connect in a week.
- Measurable – Identify whether you can measure your objective, such as how many invites you send per week. Or, how many LinkedIn users respond to your requests?
- Attainable – Determine if you can attain your goal within a predefined time.
- Realistic – Figure out if your goal is achievable or if you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Timely – Identify whether you can attain your objective in a timely fashion
Here are several objectives to get you started:
- Attracting new customers
- Positioning yourself as a thought leader
- Connecting with influencers within your industry
- Hiring talented employees
- Connecting with new sponsors
Connect with People and Interact
Another excellent way of networking on LinkedIn is connecting with people you may or may not know.
Start by making sure you have people you know, including friends, family, and colleagues, in your professional network. They know you best and can describe your work ethic and who you are as an individual.
Check the “People You May Know” feature on LinkedIn to connect with people who attended the same school or college as you, work in similar industries, and live in the same city.
Reaching out to strangers or people you haven’t talked to in a while can feel uncomfortable. But having real-time conversations can help you foster deep connections. Remember to include a personalized note instead of sending a generic message to start a valuable discussion.
Post Engaging Content
Like other social networks, LinkedIn lets you post text updates and links with captions, images, and sharing options. If you plan to grow your professional network, ensure you post educational and compelling content.
You might also record or upload videos to LinkedIn to share industry-relevant insights, personal experiences, and interactive sessions to grow brand awareness. Consider using built-in filters and stickers to give your videos a professional touch and add captions for people watching without the sound.
Furthermore, LinkedIn allows you to publish full articles. The content appears on your profile, and other users can share it with friends and colleagues. So, leverage LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform to showcase your expertise and build brand identity.
Lastly, use SlideShare to create attention-grabbing presentations and infographics. Crafting visually appealing slides helps keep your reader hooked and makes it easy for them to digest complex information.
After you’ve connected with your friends and colleagues, it’s time to expand your online network and take it to the next level. Your LinkedIn network is what you make of it, so start gathering relevant connections to generate leads, find a new job, seek employees, etc.
Remember that the best time to connect with people is after you meet them or speak to them over the phone. You might feel awkward or forget half the details a little too late. So, make the follow-up part a habit, find them on LinkedIn, and hit the “Connect” button.
You can ensure better results by adding a personalized note reminding you who you are, how you met, and why you should connect. You can also start connecting with people you haven’t met by crafting a message and mentioning something you share in common or find interesting.
Define Your Ideal Connections
Like businesses need a robust ICP to boost sales, you must define your perfect connections to grow your network. If you’re unsure about who your ideal connection is, you’ll end up wasting time and resources.
By defining your ideal connection, you can successfully find the right LinkedIn profile and connect with people skillfully.
Look the Part
It’s no big news: first impressions matter, especially in business. And the same is true on LinkedIn.
Keep these three tips in mind if you want to create a lasting impression on your LinkedIn followers:
- Say goodbye to your go-to photo with your favorite party shirt and invest in getting a professional headshot of yourself
- Leverage LinkedIn’s headline to describe what you do and what makes you stand out within 220 characters or enjoy disappearing in the millions of people doing the same thing as you
- Don’t just mention your job experience; showcase examples of expertise, write a killer description, and prove your experience
Use the LinkedIn Summary Section to Tell an Exciting Story
The summary section either helps you stand out or makes you vanish in the swarm of LinkedIn profiles. Differentiate yourself by sharing your story of how you got where you are today.
Write in the first person and use a conversational tone to keep the reader hooked. In today’s competitive world, it’s not enough to say, “I’m an expert at …” You need to describe your approach, prove that you understand your customer’s problem, and how to solve it.
Consider using bullet points, concise paragraphs, and short and sweet sentences to create an eye-catching and compelling copy.
Observe Professional Etiquette on LinkedIn
Success on LinkedIn starts with creating a good reputation and depends on maintaining one. That means you must stay professional, avoid posting personal material, and steer clear of gossip and trolling.
Furthermore, ensure you ask for and make introductions only if you believe both parties will benefit. Also, be mindful of how you speak, what you say, and to whom you talk about a particular organization.
Networking on LinkedIn [Best Strategies]
LinkedIn networking involves discovery, new opportunities, and building relationships. Having a networking strategy in place can aid you in meeting your personal and professional goals.
Here are the five best strategies to start networking on LinkedIn:
Optimize Your Profile
If you haven’t found the time to do it, here’s a reminder to start optimizing your profile using LinkedIn SEO.
Every person you send a connection request will click on your profile to learn more about you and your brand. They’ll check your profile picture, banner photo, “about” section, skills, work experience, and other sections.
So, ensure your profile reflects who you are, what you offer to your ideal buyer, and what makes you different from your competition.
Recommendations are personal testimonials that showcase your unique abilities. Focus on collecting up to five and ten by requesting past or current colleagues. Ask them to highlight particular achievements or attributes they found impressions on instead of making generic comments.
On the other hand, endorsements are notifications that prove you possess a particular skill. They might lack the impact of a recommendation, but they play a critical role in helping you establish yourself as a thought leader.
Use LinkedIn Events
LinkedIn events are excellent and effective networking, particularly for those new to LinkedIn.
Start by clicking on the “My Network” feature and locate the “Online Events for You” section at the bottom. If you’ve completed your profile and earned a few connections, LinkedIn will suggest several events.
But if it doesn’t, enter keywords related to your niche and click on the “Events” filter to find exciting events relevant to your industry. That way, you can network with the people organizing the event and attendees or share your thoughts and stories during the live event.
Try the LIONs Method
You might try the “LION” method if you’re a newbie. LinkedIn in Open Networkers are users who open and accept any invitation to expand their reach and grow their network.
The LION method is valuable for users who want to prospect for leads or conduct research on companies and individuals.
Don’t Forget to Use Visuals
Complement your content with high-quality imagery to attract readers and keep them hooked for longer. Additionally, adding visuals to your LinkedIn profile helps convey your message clearly and successfully.
Here are several places you should add vibrant and attention-grabbing visuals:
- Use a precise and professional picture of you on your profile image
- Add a visually appealing and informative image on your LinkedIn banner
- Incorporate eye-catching imagery to make your articles and blogs more compelling
You don’t need to stick to boring photo stock images; instead, you can also publish:
- Live shows
- And more!
How to Network on LinkedIn Correctly?
Technology is advancing, trends are changing, and LinkedIn is constantly evolving.
Ensure you use LinkedIn without offending anyone or embarrassing yourself by keeping these tips in mind:
- Optimize and complete your profile
- Write high-quality, informative, and captivating content
- Write personalized and compelling outreach messages
- Engage personal connections
- Remember that quality trumps quantity
- Join LinkedIn groups and engage with other users
- Research a LinkedIn user’s company profile
- Connect with strangers in your industry and niche
- Get endorsements and recommendations
- Share your insights and stories by posting regularly
- Optimize your work experience
- Join LinkedIn events to meet like-minded professionals
- Showcase what makes you qualified and stand out
How Not to Network on LinkedIn
Now, let’s discuss the don’ts of networking on LinkedIn:
Forget LinkedIn is a Professional Site, not Tinder
Here’s a pro tip: don’t add LinkedIn users because you like their looks.
Avoid crafting messages with cheesy starters like “Hello, Gorgeous.” Don’t give compliments based on a person’s looks or ones unrelated to business. Not only will the person ignore your message, but you might also get marked as a spammer.
On social media sites, news travels fast. You’ll also earn a reputation as a creep or weirdo. People will avoid connecting with you, let alone doing any business.
Not Engaging on Comments
Every comment and share is a new opportunity to grow your network.
If someone comments on your LinkedIn post or replies to you, ensure you always reply. For instance, you can:
- Ask what stood out to them from your post
- Thank them for taking the time to respond and/or for supporting
- Inquire about their experiences
- Offer constructive criticisms while having a professional discussion
- And so on
Be Dismissive, Abusive, or Rude of Other’s Content
Everyone on LinkedIn is giving their all to achieve their goals. For some, it means establishing themselves as thought leaders by creating high-quality content; for others, it means attracting customers by publishing relevant posts.
If you’re someone who often posts industry-relevant content, you would know the time and energy it requires. So, when you come across people trying to grow their brand through content creation, be supportive.
You don’t need to agree with every post, but make the process easier. If you see someone posting factually or ethically inappropriate content, let them know politely without being dismissive or abusive.
Start Spamming People
Sending irrelevant, impersonal, long messages full of jargon is the quickest way of chasing away prospects, diminishing your reputation, and turning off readers.
If you keep sending cheesy, salesy messages that only spam other uses, nobody will answer back or find your offers interesting.
Save your Messages and InMails for significant business outreach and establishing deep relations. Your network will appreciate engaging in insightful conversations regarding industry-relevant topics instead of getting spammed.
Remember to personalize your outreach message if you want to connect with a stranger. How? Try these tips:
- Define your ICP and how to find them on LinkedIn
- Discover the primary pain points of your prospects and structure your outreach point around it
- Ensure you always send a follow-up message
Ignore Job Proposals and Invitations
You never know when the ideal job opportunity will hit you.
So, even if you’re satisfied with your current job role, don’t ignore job proposals and invitations. Don’t let them sit in your inbox; respond politely and professionally.
No matter if the job offered to you doesn’t match your future goals, reply to them in a timely fashion. You might find other company departments exciting and need to reach out in the future.
The Benefits of LinkedIn Networking
If you haven’t caught on by now: active networking is key to brand growth.
While you may feel awkward at sending an outreach message to a stranger, this simple step can help you learn about people in your industry.
Not just this, but it also offers the following pros:
- Strengthen business connections
- Get fresh and practical ideas
- Create buzz around your brand and products/services
- Unlock job opportunities and advance your career
- Access career advice and support
- Get new perspectives
- Develop long-lasting relationships
Use Octopus CRM LinkedIn Automation Software
Maintaining an active presence and earning a good reputation on LinkedIn requires a lot of time and effort. To grow your professional network, you must engage with like-minded professionals, join groups, attend events, send personalized outreach messages, and so on.
Sounds tough! But what if there was a secret, easier, and much more effective way of growing your LinkedIn network – one that wasn’t as time-consuming? That’s where Octopus CRM LinkedIn automation tool comes into the picture.
Octopus CRM is the innovative LinkedIn automation tool that helps you grow brand awareness and maintain brand identity by automating mundane tasks. The all-in-one automation platform sends personalized outreach messages to users that match your ICP. Moreover, it automates follow-up texts to keep your audience engaged and grow your network.
Grow your brand and increase conversions by taking advantage of Octopus CRM’s networking features. Send hyper-personalized messages and images to warm up to customers and drive engagement rates.
LinkedIn Networking Message Template
Are you having trouble writing a personalized and compelling outreach message? Here are a couple of LinkedIn networking message templates to shake up your creative juice:
Example # 1: A Stranger in Your Industry
I’m looking to connect with like-minded professionals, especially those on the revenue-generating side of things.
I am looking for industry specialists and have seen your work in __________ (your industry). I’m reaching out to you to connect with like-minded professionals.
I would be delighted to make your acquaintance.
Have a good day!
Example # 2: A Colleague
Although I haven’t ever gotten the chance to work with you, I’ve heard so many reviews about your ____ techniques and ability to work with demanding clients. Hopefully, one of these days, I can catch you in action.
I’ll catch you in the break room!
Example # 3: A Former Co-worker
It was such a pleasure working with you at _______ (company name) from ______to _______ (date). Your _____ skills were best in the office, but can you imagine (insert a witty sentence)?
If you do have the time, I’d love to catch up and learn more about what you’re doing in your new role at _________ (new company).
With LinkedIn boasting the largest professional network, it’s no surprise that all marketers flock to it. Use this comprehensive guide to start networking and create meaningful connections.
Follow the dos and don’ts of networking and our step-to-step guide to growing your professional network. Remember the strategies discussed to discover new opportunities, build lasting relationships, and hit your professional and personal goals.