Making random connections on LinkedIn will yield random results. Strategic networking is what will make sense for your business and those you wish to connect with.
As with all networking opportunities, showing up is just the first step to getting started. Having a LinkedIn profile is imperative for online networking with your business peers. But you need more than just a profile; you need to begin making connections that matter – connections with your clients, prospective clients, decision-makers, influencers, and industry insiders.
Who to connect with
If you’re feeling uncomfortable with the idea of virtual connections, begin to build your network in a low-risk way. Connect with your present and past coworkers, mentors, and trusted friends.
Once you’ve gained comfort with the basic idea of connecting, start building and enhancing your circle with the other types of contacts such as prospects and influencers.
How to search for people you know
- Type your client’s name into the search bar.
- Once you see their profile, select it, and click Connect on their profile.
Once they accept your connection request, you will be able to direct message with them, and LinkedIn will add their activity into your feed. You can now keep track of and interact with your connections in a meaningful way.
How to follow Company pages and see all employees at the company
- Type your client’s company name into the search bar.
- When you see their page in the search results, select it, and click Follow on their page.
LinkedIn will now add any client company news into your feed. You can use that information to stay connected to what’s going on at the organization.
To see and connect with other individuals at the company,
- Click on “See all employees on LinkedIn” in the banner on the company page.
- This will pull up all the connections associated with the company.
- Decide who you’d like to connect with and click Connect on their profile.
How to use search to find more connections
To search for connections you may not yet know, LinkedIn offers search functions to expand your professional network.
Type in the search bar for something of interest:
- Are you interested in connecting with other industry professionals? You can search by industry.
- Want to add CEOs, CFOs, and/or HR people? You can search by job title.
- Want to add prospects? You can search by company.
- Want to connect to local businesses and professionals? Search by location.
LinkedIn will return your search results. You can 1) scroll through the results list, or 2) click on the filter buttons at the top of the page to narrow your choices. When you find people who are a good match for your criteria, click Connect on their profile.
How to add a note
When connecting on LinkedIn, you should always customize your request by adding a personal message. When you click the Connect button, follow the prompt to Add a Note.
Generic connecting without a personal note isn’t nearly as effective as taking the time to say hello and include some information about what inspired your connection. Not only does adding a personal note make you more likely to have your connection requests accepted, but it also separates you from the competition and lends credibility to your invitation.
Custom invites also make it much easier to start building a real, live connection with that person.
Not sure what to say when connecting? Check out our LinkedIn connection templates