Networking is about developing relationships with others—the process of exchanging information to build relationships, and in turn, expanding our social bubbles.

LinkedIn Networking helps both businesses and professionals establish relationships. Whether your goal is boosting brand awareness or linking up with other industry leaders, companies continue flocking to the platform to bump shoulders and further advance their earning potential. If you’ve just signed up and want to know more ways of networking for your business, we’ve got you covered! As part of our 8 part series, the IMG team covers everything you need to know in our Beginner’s Guide on How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network (Fast!)

Four LinkedIn Networking Tips That Will Grow Your Business

1. Request To Connect

Like a Friend Request on Facebook, sending someone on LinkedIn, a connection request is critical to growing a successful network. Start building up your comfort zone and reaching out to people you already know, such as acquaintances, former coworkers, and so forth. From there out, try branching out and sending requests to professionals and companies working in the same industry.

But before you do, here’s a quick tip—do yourself a favor and send people you don’t know a brief introductory message with your request to establish credibility.

2. Browse The ‘People you May Know’ Section

LinkedIn’s ‘People You Already Know’ section suggests plenty of familiar faces probably already circulating within your social stratosphere. Connecting with people that you’re acquainted with makes breaking the ice more manageable and provides you with a common ground that you can use to your advantage.

How do you connect if it’s been a while? Let’s say, an old coworker, but it’s months, if not years, since you guys last spoke. In this scenario, you should go ahead and address the proverbial elephant in the room. Acknowledge the time gap. There’s no justice in pretending, putting on a charade as if you guys meet up on Thursdays to sip lattes together. Please don’t kid yourself. When reconnecting, it’s best to write with sincerity, touch on the common ground you do have, and most importantly, be honest.

3. LinkedIn Search

By clicking the tiny magnifying icon at the top of the page, you can search for a specific person. Or, utilize LinkedIn’s filter to narrow down your results and find leads based on company, industry, or location criteria.

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups allow you to use keyword targeting to improve reaching the right industry professionals based on relevant interests such as niche. And don’t just stop by joining. Make sure to engage, post, and comment in groups to drive traffic to your page.

Networking Best Practices

Complete Your Profile

Make sure your LinkedIn page is fully completed, with all sections filled out, and that you’ve added an appropriate-sized picture and cover photo (read here for more on that) before jumping on the networking bandwagon. Your page should reflect your brand’s message, speak to your target audience, and include a call-to-action at the top and a direct link to your Company webpage or portfolio.

Post content (often)

Source: LinkedIn

Posting stale and mind-numbing content will give you a less-than-favorable following, zero engagement, and result in empty pockets for your business. Instead, spend the extra time crafting content that compels even the most distracted scroller to stop and click whenever they see your name pop up in their LinkedIn feed. Include rich visual media, such as photos and videos.

Create a content calendar when starting an organic content strategy to help with content ideas and ensure you’re keeping a regular posting schedule. Stay up-to-date on news and the latest industry trends to stay relevant. Post things you know your target audience would devour, and then do it often.

If you’re interested in learning more, click here to read more tips on optimizing your content.

Personalize Messages

You’ve received those messages before—impersonal and manufactured for mass consumption. It starts with a generic greeting, blabbering on about how you can be part of the AMAZING benefits offered, and blah, blah—the end.

How do you feel after reading that?

Probably not great. Maybe un-special or even a little annoyed, hmm?

The same goes for LinkedIn. The next time you send out a message, don’t forget to personalize! Not only does this improve the chances of someone reading it, but it increases the rate of receiving a direct reply. Address prospects like you would be an old friend. Even if someone you’ve never spoken to before. Greet them using their first name. Ask them how they’ve been or what’s new. Take it a step further and peruse their profile to find any additional talking points, “congrats on that new job” or “Wow, impressive article you wrote on climate change.”

Remember when writing to be polite, work the common ground you have, and add touches of personalization (don’t include anything private information not mentioned on their page).

Comment to Spark Engagement

Like other social networking sites, commenting on a users’ LinkedIn post is a great way to spark engagement. Let people know your thoughts whether you disagree with an article’s point of view or love the special effects of a video someone posted. Sharing feedback opens up a conversation, increases visibility for your brand, and boosts traffic by enticing people to check out your page.

Comment all you want, but keep it respectful! And, refrain from name-calling, derogatory terms, or any insults in addition to knowing what topics should remain off the table.

Connection Types

More of a visual learner? Watch our webinar on LinkedIn networking for beginners or check out our guide on monetizing your LinkedIn connections here.