Top 11 Rules For Effective Networking on LinkedIn

October 3rd 2022

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Why Effective Networking on LinkedIn Is Essential For Your Career.

When you are starting out as a professional or if you’ve been a professional for a short while, LinkedIn may have come across your radar. It is the quintessential social media platform built for professionals of all fields. With the platform being so widely used, it has become a great platform for connecting with others in your industry or even reaching out to new fields.  Networking is the key part of building any career today. Your social capital is the only asset that consistently grows over a lifetime, and the benefits from your network grow like compound interest. For more reasons why networking is essential in your professional life, please check our articles “10 Good Reasons To Build Efficient Networking Strategies and Treat Networking as a Mindset” and “How To Live a Good Life? A Note On Confucianism and What Can It Teach Us When It Comes To Building Professional Networking Strategies.” The potential for professional growth using LinkedIn is almost unlimited but requires networking. While you can still go to a party and shake hands in person, LinkedIn networking can be done from the comfort of your home, and from anywhere in the world.  Despite that ease of access, simply talking to and connecting with others can be a challenge for many. There is more nuance to networking via LinkedIn than just making a fancy profile and waiting. Therefore, in this article, we are going to share some tips with you that will help you effectively network on LinkedIn.

Rule #1 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Connect with People Whom You Know.

A large part of networking on LinkedIn is simply being visible and active. So, in order to do just that you will want to “connect” and “follow” people. Actively connecting is pretty much the LinkedIn version of inviting people to friends on Facebook. If you are just starting out on LinkedIn, you should consider first adding the people you know in real life such as current and former colleagues or family and friends. Thankfully, LinkedIn also has a feature called “people you may know”. It’s a very helpful feature for networking as it suggests people you share the most common connections.  Mind that the more people in your LinkedIn network, the higher number of people you can connect with. It pays off to be an active networker and invite any person you know to contact you on LinkedIn. This means that when you are just starting out with networking, it can start very slow. But as you progress, you will grow exponentially!

Rule #2 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Connect With People in Your Industry (and In the Industry That You Aspire To Join).

After adding all the people whom you actually know, you should move on to people within your sector of the market, or the sector you would like to join next. For example, if you want to become an actor, you might consider following Jennifer Lopez. Perhaps even more important than following people is following reputable companies and organizations on LinkedIn. Using the acting example again, you might want to connect with a school that teaches your craft like Acting Out. This is a great idea to follow people and companies from your industry to make better connections and stay up to date with new developments. How to find people and organizations to connect with? It can be done by just finding active profiles, groups, companies, and people on LinkedIn by using the search bar. Of course, LinkedIn is not only about networking but also you learning new aspects of your field that you didn’t know before and broadening your horizons. These big names in your business will be active and share content on their pages. You can engage in conversations in the comments section and gain even more contacts there. Beware of the number of comments though, as you don’t want to be seen as a spammer. As a rule of thumb, try to keep less than 10 comments per thread a day and don’t message people every hour of every day either. That’s just creepy and turns them away from you. Never forget common sense.

Rule #3 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Create a Well-Thought out and Complete Profile.

Success on LinkedIn takes more than making a nice profile. However, your profile is extremely important. When you aren’t around, you want visitors to still see a page representing you that intrigues them and that they can interact with.  That’s where your profile comes in. It tells people all about your business, your recent activity, but more importantly your skills, your style, your personality, motivations, and whatever else a fellow professional might be looking for when selecting a freelance expert, a business partner, or an employee. Another side of keeping your profile looking good is regular updates. You should be posting regularly about whatever is new for you professionally such as company events, thoughts on a business topic, professional insights, et cetera. Keep it professional and non-controversial if possible. If you are interested in creating an amazing LinkedIn profile that stands out, please check out our article “10 Steps to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile.”

Rule #4 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Indicate Your Primary Intentions.

People who visit your profile should have no problem with reading your primary intentions. Are you looking for a job? Are you looking for freelance gigs? Or perhaps, you are looking for employees at the moment? This should be clear after just one gaze at your profile.  Therefore, consider using badges, such as the green “Open To Work” badge or the purple “Open To Business” badge. A few years back, LinkedIn users were unwilling to use badges as they believed they looked needy and desperate. Now it became so common that it is no shame at all. Using badges will help you especially once you take part in discussions on LinkedIn. When people share your views and find your points on a given subject matter insightful, and at the same time they see your “Open to Work” status, they might naturally start thinking about vacancies at their workplace and get motivated to help you. Or, they might even have a vacancy for you at hand! Lastly, make sure that you encourage people to contact you in your profile. You can use the phrase: “I can help you with XXX” or “Please contact me if you have any issues or questions related to YYY and I will be happy to help.” Most people have reservations about contacting strangers and need a little bit of encouragement. 

Rule #5 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Engage With Your Network Often.

Keeping up to date is an important part of any endeavor and to make sure you understand all the latest developments in your industry. But to be honest, networking on LinkedIn can be overwhelming: all the connections and networks and activities, events, groups, et cetera! LinkedIn is a social network after all. You need to know that LinkedIn doesn’t promote ghost membership in their groups. Therefore, if you are inactive, they can remove you from any group after a period of time. So, make sure to log in often, keep your posts updated and relevant, respond to people’s messages and comments, and create your own messages and comments for others. Focus on your crowd, so to speak, and just keep connecting with them in any way possible is what it all boils down to.  At the end of the day, everyone is interested the most in themselves. Therefore, being friendly and offering information is the biggest secret to attracting people in general. LinkedIn is no exception. So, engage often and engage well. This is a muscle and you will want to train it as often as possible for the health of your network.
Furthermore, contribute actively by creating your own content! You can write short LinkedIn posts containing no more than 700 characters, or write full-fledged articles of arbitrary length. Remember to pin some of your representative creations in your LinkedIn profile, in the “Featured” section. Lastly, be positive! If you like another user’s post or insight, put a “Like” on it! Or, write a favorable comment underneath. You might make someone’s day this way. If you have critical comments, share it in a private message, not on the wall.  Also, remember not to say ANYTHING negative about your current or previous workplace! You can be sure that your management will find out about it… and they won’t be happy. To learn more about how to keep high standards in your behavior in a professional environment, especially while changing jobs, please check our tutorial “Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process. How to Change a Job Without Ruffling Any Feathers.” Of course, staying active on social media takes a lot of time and can be addictive. Therefore, schedule your activity appropriately. For more advice on how to manage your daily social media activity, please check our article “5 Rules for How To Make Social Media Benefit Your Career.”

Rule #6 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Personalize Your Interactions.

Now that we have a lot of the surface-level, superficial “connections,” we should now be working on deepening them. Your connections won’t mean much if you don’t talk to people.  Therefore, once you add someone, especially someone you could potentially work with, view their profile and try to assess their personality. If they use a friendly and casual tone, it works best to use the same tone while contacting them.  So, personalize your interactions by using their own tone and way of speaking, and being willing to be the first to reach out and say hello. It can be uncomfortable at first but this too is a muscle and soon you will be talking to people easier and easier. So, how to reach out to new potential contacts on LinkedIn? What to write on this occasion? Messaging comes easy especially when you have any common contact with the person whom you are contacting. In that case, you can address them, for instance, in the following way:  Dear AAA, I was advised to connect with you by my mentor and friend BBB who speaks very highly of you. My name is CCC and I help DDD with EEE. Could we possibly connect? With kind wishes, CCC” If you don’t have a personal connection, just come up with any positive statement that you might give about the other person, and use it as an argument to connect. Compliments always work for people!

Rule #7 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Watch Your Spelling!

Furthermore, show your diligence and attention to detail by viewing and editing your LinkedIn messages, especially if they are important for your professional development, for instance when you are writing straight to a recruiter.  Remember that you only have 60 minutes for editing before your message is locked! You won’t be able to change your content after that. Of course, for the same reason, make sure that you never show negative emotions or rant in private messages on LinkedIn. It will leave traces of your unprofessional attitude or behavior, and you certainly don’t want that!  

Rule #8 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: Choose LinkedIn Over Email If You Can.

When on LinkedIn, you not only transmit your messages but also show yourself as a person. Also, we live in a strange world where people often spend more time on social media than on their email accounts. Therefore, if you have a choice, contact people via LinkedIn rather than via email. Many LinkedIn users think that the only solution they can count on is the InMail feature that comes with the LinkedIn Pro account. However, it is not true! You can write personal messages (up to 300 characters) every time you invite a new person to your contacts on LinkedIn. What is also beautiful about writing personal messages next to invitations on LinkedIn is that, you do not need permission to contact anyone this way. These days, using someone’s personal email address might break the strict GDPR rules, especially if you get this address from a third party. But, you can go on LinkedIn and message any user freely and without constraints. Invitations via LinkedIn might be even more successful than traditional emails as your potential contact can check your whole professional curriculum before taking the decision to accept your invitation.

Rule #9 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: If You Need Professional Advice, Ask Openly on Your Wall!

It is not a disgrace to openly ask for help or information on your LinkedIn wall! You will be surprised how many people will start helping out and dropping their solutions onto your profile. What will help you is also a cognitive bias: we tend to like people whom we helped before MORE, as we subconsciously expect returning the favor.

Rule #10 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: LinkedIn Is a Good Means of Communication With People With Following.

LinkedIn is often a nice blindspot when it comes to contacting “respected people” or “celebrities.” An authority in your discipline who is bombed with messages via Twitter or Instagram might notice and accept your invitation to contacts if you find them on LinkedIn — just because it is NOT their primary destination for networking and they get few messages there.  Of course, before contacting any authority, you need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete, you write an engaging personalized message next to your invitation, and you mentally prepare for rejection (authorities are typically selective with people after all). 

Rule #11 For Effective Networking on LinkedIn: If You Still Need More Networking Options, Subscribe for LinkedIn Premium.

Many professionals wonder: if I pay for the LinkedIn subscription, do I get more benefits? Will it help me in networking? Well, yes and no. Yes, LinkedIn Pro offers a number of benefits. However, you will still need to do the heavy lifting for yourself as you actively network to bring your career to the next level. So, what does LinkedIn Pro have to offer? Well, there are four different options:

1. Premium Career for individuals.

The most often chosen option which you can recognize by the golden LinkedIn symbol at a user’s profile. It offers 5 InMail credits, as well as the opportunity to browse other users’ profiles incognito, get applicant insights while posting jobs, message any other user directly, and full information about who viewed your profile.  It also offers unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning, an e-learning platform developed by LinkedIn that helps learn all the skills necessary to land jobs and develop skills and get professional certifications such as Lean Six-Sigma, Scrum master and such.

2. Premium Business.

This is an option for businesses. It offers all that Premium Career offers, plus, additionally, business insights and unlimited people browsing. It helps businesses get detailed business insights and further expand your business.

3. Recruiter Lite.

This solution for recruiters offers all that Premium Business offers, plus, additionally, advanced search options, automatic candidate tracking, recruiting-specific design, integrated hiring, and smart suggestions. It helps recruiters find and hire talent.

4. Sales Navigator.

This solution for businesses helps generate leads and build the base of clients. Among all the paid plans, this one offers the most options. It offers all that Premium Business has to offer, plus, additionally, a standalone sales interface, custom lead and account lists, lead recommendations and saved leads, and real-time updates and alerts.

Conclusions: Is Effective Networking on LinkedIn Hard?

Can LinkedIn make you thrive in your career? Well, remember that there are many different ways of networking. LinkedIn is good for creating horizontal, shallow connections but you will need to work in real life to convert them into deep, meaningful connections. Please read more about networking in width versus networking in depth in our article “Make Strategic Networking a Part of Your Career Development Plan: The Depth vs The Width of Your Network.” These are the best tips for networking on LinkedIn. Just keep in mind a few basic rules: connect with people you know, connect with people in your industry, make a good profile, engage often, and personalize interactions. If you keep them in mind, you will be able to network like a pro with nearly anyone. Your network will be blooming in no time. If you need more advice on networking on social media, please find more information in our article “5 Rules for How To Make Social Media Benefit Your Career.”

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2022, October 3rd). Top 11 Rules For Effective Networking on LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/top-11-rules-for-effective-networking-on-linkedIn

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