How to Network on LinkedIn with a Strategy

“My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score.”

Harvey Mackay, author

Ok, you have a LinkedIn profile set up…. now what?

I think that is the question a lot of folks ask themselves, but do they ever figure out the answer. While there is no correct way to network on LinkedIn, there are some great strategies.

Here are five tips to network strategically on LinkedIn:

  1. Connect with people in your industry and target companies
  2. Look for people who you have known or worked with in the past
  3. Don’t forget to engage with people already in your network
  4. Share your insights and educate people on what you do by posting
  5. Join a group relevant to your job and/or industry

First, I want to demystify the whole networking thing. So many folks get worked up about the thought of networking. I get that, really as I use to as well. But then the truth hit me like a brick to the head. Networking is simply talking to another human. Conversations really about anything can lead to business discussions. Why do you think so many men have business deals on the golf course?!

Several years ago, I was going to monthly networking luncheons to market my business. I hated these luncheons. I knew that none or very few of the people there were ever going to be my client and honestly I felt like I was wasting valuable time. So I stopped going. Then, I realized that sitting at home (I worked out of my house) was also not getting my anywhere. Then, I decided I would look for groups I was actually interested in joining. These groups were not networking groups, but instead groups that centered on activities that I enjoyed. For instance, my background is in political science so I joined the League of Women Voters.

Now, you are probably wondering how is that networking… All of those women had jobs or businesses or knew lots of people who did. So my conversations then were based on mutual interests that could naturally turn to business discussions. This is all the same for those in job search as well. People at specific networking events are ALL looking for a job, so instead you want to find the people that would be your next boss. There is no booklet that tells you where these people are, so there is research involved.

Now let’s look at specific activities on LinkedIN you can engage in. In every connection you make, look for common interests and start your conversations of with those common interests. That method helps you find talking points and will be easier to maneuver.

Connect with people in your industry and target companies. Spend 30 minutes a day looking for people to connect with that work at your target companies.

Look for people you have known or worked with in the past and connect with them on LinkedIn. This is a powerful tool especially if you had lots of work experience with them. These contacts can easily turn into referrals for you.

Engage with people already in your network. Download your current connections list and then choose 5 people per day to reach out to. You can tell them you are wanting to catch up with everyone or find out more about them.

Share your insights and educate people on what you do. THIS one I can not stress enough. Educating people on what you do through weekly posts and comments on other people’s post is a huge gamechanger. LinkedIn IS a social media platform for business and the intent is to share your knowledge and insights with others. Weekly posts help you stay in people’s minds and build your expertise. Out of sight is out of mind.

Join a group relevant to your job or industry. For starters, pick one group to join on the LinkedIn platform. You want to pick a group that is not too big (100,000 + is too big), but then not too small (500 or below is too small). Block 15 minutes 3 times per week to go inside the group and comments on others posts then push yourself to make a post once a week.

All of the above tips when done on a consistent basis will drastically improve your network value and can (and will) lead to opportunities for you either regardless of your objective. Get up every day with a plan. Put the work in every single day regardless of how you feel or if you think it will work. Consistency and not overthinking are the keys to success on the LinkedIn platform.