LinkedIn is a social medium made for promoting your business and career via professional communication. Doing so requires a solid network of connections. Building a network doesn’t take aggressive marketing, and you don’t need to be a LinkedIn LION (LinkedIn Open Networker). With these few best practices in mind, you can be a successful networker on LinkedIn.
1. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile represents you on the network. Having it complete will allow people to find out the things they might have in common with you. Your headline, cover photo, and profile image are essential as well. Those are the things that follow your name around parts of LinkedIn, like in the feed. Your profile photo is like a billboard, and the headline is the tagline. People will hold on to those things as they see your presence around LinkedIn.
2. Connect with the Right People
When you’re setting out to build a network on LinkedIn, you want to start with the My Network page. LinkedIn will automatically suggest professionals you may know from your job, previous employment, school, and other common interests. LinkedIn allows you to connect with people via a Connect button next to most names on LinkedIn, which will automatically send them an invite.
How Does Connecting on LinkedIn Work?
While scrolling down the My Network page and connecting with every familiar person you see might seem like a good idea for building your network, there are some pitfalls. Clicking the Connect button from this page will instantly send the invite, but it doesn’t mean the other person will accept. Once a request is rejected, it can’t be sent again.
Pro Tip: Add a Message to Your Requests
You can improve your chances of getting an accepted request by writing a message with your request, which does a couple of things:
- It increases your chances of being accepted. Because LinkedIn wants its users to have a good experience, the platform will penalize you if you accumulate too many rejected requests.
- Sending a message explaining why connecting would be mutually positive will also start your new relationship on the right note.
3. Engage with Pages and Hashtags
Directly connecting with other professionals is the most forward approach to building your network, but other strategies can also be helpful. Ultimately, building a network on LinkedIn is about being active and engaging with others.
Below the list of suggested contacts on the My Network page is a list of pages that LinkedIn thinks will match your interests. Following a page allows you to view its contents from your feed. Before long, you’ll begin to notice a familiar set of people engaging with posts from pages you follow. You might be interested in connecting with these people based on that mutual interest. The fact that you both follow the same page makes it easier to write that introductory connection message.
Hashtags work similarly. LinkedIn will serve any content related to hashtags you’re following. Like with pages, engaging with related posts and the others who engage with them will give you a good idea of who could turn into a meaningful connection.
Successful LinkedIn Networking Takes Time
Ancient Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither are LinkedIn networks. To make the most of your LinkedIn network, you want to have it filled with people with whom you have professional commonalities. Building this kind of network takes time and consistency. Spending five to 15 minutes, three times a week, expanding your network can be fruitful in the long run.