How to network on LinkedInFeb 09, 2024
Find Your Superpower newsletter 045
Read time: 5 minutes
Topics covered: LinkedIn coaching, networking, business development, LinkedIn strategy
This is the first time I’ve written a newsletter on a Friday instead of a Thursday because I had such a busy week.
I am so proud of my team and myself, and we definitely deserve the long four-day weekend starting today.
Here’s some of my team’s wins this week (besides many other smaller projects):
Completed two magazine issues for two clients, each of which was a monumental task in itself
Pitched for a project that required nearly 10 people working on it
Discovered that one of my colleagues who was supposed to leave for her masters program has deferred her start date, which means she will be joining us at our next company annual retreat
Bidding farewell to the year of the rabbit. Let’s hop into the year of the dragon!
Five steps to networking better on LinkedIn
Besides work, I am also preparing for my six-week virtual bootcamp which starts next week. You may waitlist for my next bootcamp: my first bootcamp sold 50% of tickets in the 48h early-bird discount phase and the remaining tickets in three weeks.
For this newsletter, I want to share about a topic that I believe I can provide you value on, which is, how to network on LinkedIn.
Frankly, many of us are doing this wrongly. And by wrong I don’t mean “not great,” but “super bad.”
To ensure we network effectively on LinkedIn in the year of the dragon, here are five simple steps to follow:
1/ Reevaluate and complete your LinkedIn profile
I bet you never thought this would be the first step to networking well on LinkedIn.
And sadly, many people don’t think this is a key step either.
They send out cold connection requests with an incomplete profile and incorrect public settings (in some cases, you can’t even view their full name or profile photo, making them look like spam bots), and they wonder why most of their connection requests get declined.
Ask yourself: is your full name, profile photo, headline, job and about section complete and publicly visible on your LinkedIn profile?
When someone scrolls through your profile, do you look like a lurker (zero posts, zero comments) or an active and supportive LinkedIn citizen?
And if you post frequently, are you a positive person with lots of interesting professional work-life anecdotes and stories to tell, or are you a mean-spirited person with lots of negative posts? The law of attraction suggests that high-value people want to connect with high-value people. So let’s show up as a high-value person ourselves.
2/ Make a list of the top 10-20 experts in your industry or niche
Please follow them.
NB: notice I didn’t say connect with them.
At this point, any cold connection request has a very high failure rate of close to 100%.
You may not know this, but LinkedIn has a 30,000 connection limit, and many top users may have nearly reached that limit. This means that they will have to make very tough decisions on who to connect with, as at some point they would need to disconnect with someone to connect with someone else. Every connection is therefore a lot more precious.
3/ Comment on their posts creatively and consistently
A big, big reminder to all of you amazing and lovely LinkedIn citizens who show up daily to support creators on the platform, please don’t just “like” posts.
When you only “like” a post, the post creator cannot interact with you, because they have to focus on responding to those who leave a comment. They may not even see your name pop up in the list of 100s of “likes”.
Sure, drop a “like” if you aren’t as invested in this particular creator, but if they are important to you (ref. list of 10-20 industry experts from step #2), why not add a valuable comment such that they cannot help but respond to you.
This is a 101-level implementation of the law of reciprocity. When you comment regularly (and kindly, please) on someone’s posts, they can’t help but like you back.
They start looking forward to your comment and when you don’t appear, they wonder where you went and even start missing you!
BONUS: other people will read your high-quality comment and follow you too!
4/ After 2-3 months, send a connection request with a custom message
After writing a bunch of comments and getting clear signals in the form of friendly and candid replies from the post creator, you are now approved to send a connection request.
I would guess that a couple of months have passed since then.
At this point, the post creator has a good sense of your character and your value to them (even junior executives can show a growth mindset and an interest to learn).
You may now send a connection request with a strong custom message that conveys sincerity and interest in their work (with specific examples).
Avoid a cold pitch like the one in this example below:
5/ Once they accept your connection request, you may now DM them
Congratulations! The industry expert has accepted your connection request and you are now their first-degree connection.
In your first DM to them, avoid a hard sell. Introduce yourself and show interest in their work. Say how much you enjoyed “XYZ” post they wrote.
Only after trust has been fostered will you then mention what you would like to talk about to them.
Please ask for consent. If they decline, then back off.
If they give you consent, gently suggest that you would like to discuss further by email/phone/Zoom/coffee.
Wait patiently for their reply. Don’t be pushy or aggressive. If they don’t reply, repeat step #3 and after a couple of months, send them another DM.
On this note, congratulations!
You are now networking better than 99% of LinkedIn users out there.
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(This offer ends on Sunday, 11 February, 12 midnight GMT +8:00)
Thanks for reading issue 045 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.
For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Find Your Superpower is subscribed to by 33,000 people on LinkedIn and email, and discusses the following three goals: (1) Making a career transition, (2) Professional branding on LinkedIn, and (3) Reinventing ourselves for the future of work.