The LinkedIn community is alive and well in 2021, with over 750 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. LinkedIn can literally transform your career and life for the better – if you know how to use it, that is.
Here are some LinkedIn networking strategies that leading business people use to make connections, build their businesses, and get maximum value from this amazing platform.
Rules of Engagement
“Most messages sent on LinkedIn are cookie-cutter, copy/paste scripts that don’t stand out or make a strong impression. People see the standard intro message and they aren’t impressed. In fact, it’s a little disrespectful because it shows you don’t really care! If you’re reaching out to an important contact, take a minute or two to make a personalized intro. It goes a long way.” – Michael Jankie, Founder of Natural Patch
“When you meet someone interested in your industry in real life – a conference, event, wherever – be sure to follow up on LinkedIn if they use the platform. It’s a quick and easy way to boost your credibility, and if your profile is on point, you’ll have a much easier time moving the partnership in the direction you want.” – Dylan Arthur Garber, Co-Founder of Audien Hearing
“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” – Writer and Artist Michele Jennae
Master the Platform
“Take time to formulate a solid summary for your profile page. This summary is an expanded version of your headline and should detail your career. Be sure to mention how long you have been in the industry, any leadership positions you have held, and accomplishments you have had along the way.” – Craig Carter, CEO of Jack Mason
“Your profile is the center of gravity for success on LinkedIn. I suggest getting professional photographs done, reaching out to colleagues for references, and doing everything in your favor to make your profile appear more reputable and legit. It doesn’t take all that much effort to be in the top tier of the LinkedIn user base, so just follow the steps.” – Lori Price, Co-Founder of PixieLane
“If you’re not social-media savvy, starting on LinkedIn can be a little strange. Take the time to learn how the platform works, what you need to increase your visibility, and what others expect when reaching out for offers or making pitches. You’ll need to endure some trial and error at first, but your efforts will pay off sooner than you think.” – Marc Atiyeh, CEO of Pawp
“Most of the same networking guidelines and etiquette will apply to LinkedIn, so don’t go trying to reinvent the wheel when reaching out. Create a personalized message, explain why you’re contacting the person, and keep things light but professional. You’ll quickly expand your network and become a highly-ranked user on the site.” – Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing at EnergyFit
“Just like other social media sites, the LinkedIn platform is always evolving and seeing updates from the developers. When they introduce a new feature – like webinars, video, or anything else, – be the first to try it out and learn the ropes early on. That way, you’ll never be behind the curve when new trends take off.” – Courtney Buhler, CEO and Founder of Sugarlash Pro
“A great way to form more connections on LinkedIn is to make your profile stand out. Have a professional picture and a headline that catches people’s attention. There are millions of LinkedIn profiles and you want to stand out – in a good way.” – Lauren Picasso, CEO of Cure Hydration
Creation > Consumption
“Less than 5% of users on social media sites account for more than 90% of the content created. Wrap your head around that statistic and you’ll see why it’s so important to be active on websites like LinkedIn. Just by virtue of being consistent, you can use the site’s algorithm to your favor and be positioned as a thought leader or influencer.” – Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit
“Posting content is essential to building a strong following on LinkedIn. Create engaging, creative, and meaningful content for your network to read. If done correctly, this content will be shared within others’ networks and your influence will grow.” – Darren Litt, Chairman and Co-Founder of MarketerHire
“A great way to connect with others is by sharing their content with your connections. This helps build a connection between you and them and will help turn an initial connection into a more serious business relationship. Find people you respect and share their content with your network.” – Chris Gadek, Head of Growth at AdQuick
Never Stop Networking
“Today, some businesses and marketers have neglected their once-important LinkedIn accounts, turning off their updates and rarely checking in. However, for those looking for effective, targeted ways to network, LinkedIn can provide opportunities that you may not find through other avenues – and it’s free, at that! But for LinkedIn to become truly valuable, you must look at each connection as a possible mutual collaboration and, at the very least, a like-minded entrepreneur or business owner with whom you can exchange ideas and information. If you become more active on LinkedIn again, you may just be surprised at the positive outcome.” – Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB Sports
“Networking is a life-long pursuit that really has no finish line. You need to keep your social skills sharp and always be on point in your communications. LinkedIn will help take your network to the next level, but you also need to put in the effort and remember the principles of networking that make the highest impact.” – James Ville, Chief Product Officer at GunSkins
“We instinctively stick to our own industries and circles of influence when connecting on LinkedIn, but I encourage professionals to branch out into different areas of the network to see what they can find. Today’s business world is far less fragmented and more fluid. You never know which connections can lead to great things down the road.” – Chris Riley, Founder and CEO of USA Rx
“Even if you aren’t actively searching for a new job or making a career change, LinkedIn is a hugely valuable resource for education and exposure to new ideas within your own industry. Stay active on the site and be part of the community. If you do eventually decide to make a move of some sort, you’ll have a vast network of opportunities and people to connect with.” – Nancy Belcher, CEO of Winona
“Joining LinkedIn Groups is an effective way to find others with similar interests. As you grow your network, you will have the most success growing your network with people with similar interests, jobs, and hobbies as you. Utilize these groups to find people to connect with and grow your network.” – Jordan Nathan, CEO of Caraway
“Networking on LinkedIn doesn’t end when you’ve made that initial connection. Keep in contact with people in your network so that you stay relevant and in the spotlight. Be active in threads and conversations. Add content to your page and develop a unique voice. When it comes time to ask a favor or make a proposition, you’ll have a major advantage.” – Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite Toothpaste Bits
“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” – Speaker and Author Bob Burg
Connect, Create, and Conquer
The fundamentals of LinkedIn aren’t especially complex, but like all social media sites, it’s easy to learn and difficult to master.
Apply these strategies, keep learning the nuances of the site, and stay consistent. Before long, you’ll be a top user on LinkedIn with a global network of allies and opportunities.