Once you have a complete and up-to-date profile that is authentic, relevant, and compelling, it’s time to start using LinkedIn for networking.
Hopefully, you avoided reaching out to new contacts and accepting connection requests until your profile was in tip-top shape. You need to assume that people will check out your profile when you are connecting. And with many connections, that’s your first impression. Remember the advice from the 1980s Head and Shoulders commercial: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
When it comes to networking in LinkedIn, there are two primary functions – just like in real-world networking: Building your network and nurturing relationships. I’ll cover both in this post.
Build Your Network
In growing your network, you want it to be both diverse and concentrated. On one hand, you need to benefit from the power of diversity in networking (here’s a great post that explains why this is important) – yet you must also make sure you have a concentration of connections to people in your sphere of expertise. LinkedIn lets you meet both needs at once.
Before we go further, I want to explain an important part of LinkedIn that will impact your thoughts on networking. Many people I speak to only want to connect with people they know. That strategy appears to play it safe, but it will work against you because of how LinkedIn is programmed. If you want to show up frequently in searches and you want to see the maximum number of full profiles, you need to be promiscuous in your connections strategy. Ignore LinkedIn’s advice to only accept connection requests from people you know. That may help them sell Premium subscriptions, but it won’t get you found.
If you’re still feeling a little queasy about being an open networker – accepting most connection requests – it should allay your fears to know that LinkedIn makes it really easy to remove, block, or report a connection. So any connection request you accept can be disconnected.
With that in mind, it’s time to build your network. There are four primary ways to do it: See the 4 ways, Nurture your network, and the complete Forbes article