LinkedIn is one of the best places on the internet for professionals to connect and network. Sure, you could connect with hundreds of people and never interact with them, but what’s the point of that? That’s hundreds of missed opportunities to grow relationships with business allies or potential customers. We’re going to teach you the best ways to use LinkedIn for networking, from beefing up your profile content to building meaningful connections for your business.

How to use LinkedIn for networking

Make sure your profile is 100% complete
According to LinkedIn, when your profile is fully filled out, you’re 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through the site. It’s also just good practice to fill out as much of your profile as you can. When you’re connecting with people to build your business or your career, they’ll want to know as much about your background and experience as possible. 

Use some of the contacts you already have
Did you know you can import your email contacts into LinkedIn? You can connect with dozens of people you already know in one fell swoop. So why is this beneficial for networking with new people? When you connect with someone, you can see his or her publicly available connections as well. It’s a good place to start if you’re looking to expand your network of trusted professionals.

Customize your connection requests
Anyone can click the “Connect” button and an invitation will shoot out. If you’re getting a handful of connections a day, no one is going to remember your request unless you make it unique. Adding a message along with your connection request will make you stand out. You don’t have to go all out, just make it simple. A friendly note, a reminder of where you met before, or a comment on what you have in common can help build a better relationship.

Comment, like, and share
A great way to get some visibility on LinkedIn is by engaging with your connections through a like, a comment, or sharing their posts. By commenting on someone’s post, your connection’s connections will be able to see you and engage with you. This will help you grow even stronger connections. Your foot will already be in the door with this person, and hopefully, they’ll want to hear more of what you have to say!

Send messages
Once you have some connections, it’s time to start flexing your networking muscles. Messaging on LinkedIn allows you to have chatroom-style conversations with your connections. Plus, you can tell if they’re online because they’ll have a green dot beside their profile picture! For the best results, don’t start out with your elevator pitch. Act like you would if you were meeting someone at a networking event. Get to know their background and skills, and then, you can go into how you can help each other or if you know anyone who can help them and vice versa.

Plan to meet offline
After a few messages back and forth, ask to meet for coffee! Face-to-face is always a better way to get to know someone and make a strong connection. You’ll have a better opportunity to talk about yourself and your business. After meeting a handful of people, you’ll find yourself meeting up with connections of connections, building your network, and hopefully, finding new business and expert minds to pick if you ever run into an issue.

Networking is always awkward at first. Using LinkedIn as a networking tool takes the hard part out of meeting new people. Go forth and connect! 

For more helpful resources on networking, check out our networking resources page.