Three people are hired every minute through LinkedIn. And in 2020, the platform saw a 55% increase in conversations among connections. These statistics alone should convince you of the importance of networking on LinkedIn – but how can you grow your LinkedIn network?
The social networking platform LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for cultivating solid relationships with coworkers, industry experts and companies — relationships that can positively impact your future professional success. And this platform is huge, boasting nearly 775 million LinkedIn users across more than 57 million companies (as of Sept. 6, 2021).
But maybe you find it tricky to network while working remotely; it can be intimidating and time-consuming when you’re already busy enough. Sure, there are apps like Slack to keep you connected to your team. Expanding your connections to people on LinkedIn, however, proves to be key to your remote work success.
That said, if you need a few tips on how to build your professional network on LinkedIn, you’re in the right place. Read on for five ways you can get started today. (Plus: a bonus tip that isn’t what you might expect.)
1. Optimize your profile
There’s a saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression. So, are you showcasing yourself and your skills to the best of your ability? Or have you let your LinkedIn profile fall by the wayside? To make a great first impression, start by optimizing your profile. Think of it as your digital resume — the first impression you’ll leave on potential connections, and maybe even your next employer.
One way to do this is to keep potential employers in mind when building out your profile. Here’s a helpful list to get you going:
- Use a professional photo and your real name, so you’re searchable. Regularly update your profile image.
- Share who you are in your LinkedIn headline, not just what you do. People want to know what makes you unique, not simply your job title.
- Tell your authentic story in your LinkedIn summary. What sets you apart? Build that “like, know and trust” factor!
- Add your skills and experience strategically. Share info relevant to the types of jobs you’re looking for and that helps showcase what you can bring to a remote team. Don’t forget to expand and refine this list as you gain more experience and expertise.
- Focus on incorporating relevant keywords (i.e., industry terms) throughout your LinkedIn profile so that you can attract more visitors from your target audiences.
- Reach out to past and present supervisors and team members to see if they’d endorse any of your skills or even submit a recommendation. Again, this boosts your profile SEO and alleviates any doubts someone might have when checking out your skills.
- Customize your public-facing URL. Use a variation of your name or your professional brand to stay memorable and maximize searchability.
*Unsure of the skills you should focus on? Our go-to list can help showcase your remote readiness.
2. Engage with current connections
Networking experts know the key to success is giving back and adding value to your relationships — instead of only thinking of how the other person can help. Take the opportunity to practice this mindset with your current LinkedIn connections.
Hop onto the platform and scroll through your feed. Dig into what your people are saying. Maybe they’ve taken on a new role. Cheer them on in the comments! Or perhaps they’ve brought a particular initiative to your attention. Ask a thought-provoking question. Start small and aim to do this weekly on a few posts from people you admire. Also, consider endorsing your connections’ skills. They’ll be much more inclined to return the favor.
You might be thinking, “I thought this post was about how to network on LinkedIn to get a job. Why do I need to focus my efforts on existing relationships?” Because with just a little bit of engagement, you begin to transform your connections into relationships. And you can also increase your exposure to their networks, ultimately multiplying your own!
3. Post relevant, consistent status updates
Want to future proof your career and expand your LinkedIn follower count? Stay relevant by consistently posting status updates to your LinkedIn profile.
Unsure about what you should post? Here are some ideas:
- Engage with one of your connections’ posts by sharing it and adding your two cents or takeaways. This doesn’t require much effort, and it’ll boost your reach.
- Shine the spotlight on a common misconception when it comes to remote work or your industry as a whole.
- Comment on trending industry news or data. What does it mean? How does it affect your day-to-day?
- Share your biggest win (or challenge) of the week.
- Give an inside look into your morning routine — or better yet, how you’ve found remote-work success. Make it unique. Add something people won’t expect or haven’t heard before.
- Ask an open-ended question. Watch the comments roll in!
Whatever you do, think about your audience (i.e., your current connections) — what might they be interested in reading? At the same time, how can you give them a closer look into your interests, career aspirations, skills and potential? That’ll influence your post-performance. Also, consider adding a photo or video to your post. And interact with anyone who comments. Show them you value their insight and support and continue building those relationships when networking while working from home!
4. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and participate in discussions
We’ve shared quite a bit about how to cater to your current connections. But what about expanding your network to people outside of your existing circle? LinkedIn Groups are a great place to start.
Think of them as virtual meeting rooms where you can find those in the same industry as you or with a similar skillset. Members can be colleagues and even potential future employers! So put your best foot forward. Join groups relevant to your field and engage on posts that catch your attention. Share your expertise by responding to questions others have asked. And avoid over-promoting! When you have something to say, focus on personalizing your response — catering to the person who posted versus using first-person verbiage. Again, this goes back to the idea of bringing value to your network.
Interested in finding LinkedIn Groups to join? Follow these simple steps:
- Type keywords or group names into the search bar and hit Enter.
- On the Search Results page, filter the results by tapping on Groups, or choose “in groups” from the prepopulated search results.
- Tap the group name about which you’re interested in learning more.
- Tap REQUEST TO JOIN and wait for your invitation to be accepted.
5. Warm-up your requests to potential new connections
Ever get a cold LinkedIn request? You open your notification only to see you have no mutual connections, and their message is pretty generic. So, you waste no time declining it. Don’t follow in their footsteps — warm up your requests!
Log in to your LinkedIn profile and tap the Network tab at the top of the page. Here, you’ll see the “People you may know” section(s) based on your roles (past and present), education, current connections and even group affiliations. Use it to your advantage!
There’s a good chance that either you already know them and aren’t connected yet, OR LinkedIn has analyzed the data from both of your profiles and determined some commonalities. But don’t just hit the “Connect” button and call it a day.
Instead, click on their profile page and tap the” Connect” button. You’ll see a box that allows you to add a personal note. Add relevance to why you’re reaching out — whether you noticed their recent work, heard their name through the grapevine or want to ask them a question. Make it about them and avoid selling here! Your efforts here will go a long way towards growing your LinkedIn network and establishing your personal brand.
And, without further ado, here’s that bonus networking for remote workers tip you waited so patiently for: Did you know that at Instant Teams, we have a community of nearly 450 remote team members? It’s literally where remote works, thanks to a super plugged-in, growing and engaging community. We even offer opportunities inside our RTM Slack channel to share your LinkedIn profile!