Before we start let me tell you this. I would not talk about how to optimize your profile or how to write your job responsibilities to attract recruiters. There are so many great resources talking about this that it won’t make sense to repeat it.
Instead, I will talk about the thing that you may be missing and everything you can do right now. The listed ideas are easy to implement. They even won’t require you to write long descriptions, direct messages., etc. You need the mouse or touchpad, and that’s it.
This resource would work best for you if you would implement the steps while reading the guide. If you are not sure about the effectiveness of the step, you can do your own research. OK, now it’s time for the first step with a small intro.
What is LinkedIn used for and Why LinkedIn growth is Important for me?
Linkedin is primarily used for professional networking, for career development and for sales (B2B mostly).
It is important to take into attention that Linkedin works in two ways:
- It’s a social network
- It’s a search engine
I didn’t say something new with the first statement. Let's talk about the second statement. Most search engine general rules apply to LinkedIn. If you ever have been contacted by a recruiter or by a salesperson, chances are that they found you with the search functionality of the platform. You can improve your discoverability on the platform by following the suggestions in this guide.
If you are not convinced that you need to grow on LinkedIn. Think about this. Why do you have a LinkedIn profile in the first place? You can apply for any job with a private CV. If you have a filled Linkedin profile then there’s a reason for this. Having done that you can make it even better.
So now that we divided our guide to two sections, let’s start with the social aspect of Linkedin.
LinkedIn as a Social Network
Connections are a strong indication of your profile’s strength both for people and for LinkedIn’s algorithm. The LinkedIn algorithm would like your profile if you are well-connected. For example, your profile would appear in more searches if you have a lot of connections.
Make sense, right? Linkedin even hints that with the 500+ badge.
When you pass 500 connections, the connection number for you and for a person with more than 20.000 connections will be the same (500+)
Let’s test that the search algorithm prefers people with more connections.
[image with search result in different country where all results have > 500 followers ]
If your account is small LinkedIn gives a hint about the number of connections after which your account will look decent on the platform.
Guessed the number already? OK, this number is 500. After you’ll have more than 500 connections you would look like an influencer in the eyes of people visiting your profile. The default “Connect” button would be replaced with “Follow”. As a result, Not only your profile would look authoritative but also a lot of people who don’t know you but are interested in you content can follow you. What kind of Content you might ask? We will talk about this in the next paragraphs.
Sending connection requests
I would assume that you already have sent connection requests to people you know. If not its a great way to start. You don’t even need to write a message why you want to connect with them.
Now, let’s connect with strangers… Many people over think this. They write messages that are not effective for many reasons. Worse that that they use templates and forget to change your name.
You need a message when you have a project to offer, you sell something, and obviously since this LinkedIn hire the person.
If you want to just connect with the person you don’t even need to write to write reason of connection reques. Here’s why.
The person would either like to connect with you or not. Hardly, the amazing message would make difference. They would connect with you only if that connection will give them value. Here are some examples why the person would love to connect with you.
- You have an exceptional career and achievements. Connecting with people like you of course makes sense.
- You have a great career and you are connected with a lot of people the person knows. You may have attended the same university. When asked the person can tell why they have connected with you.
- You have a lot of connections. You are networker. We want to have networker friends, right? Why not to have networker connections?
- You provide values with your posts. When the person would connect with you they can read something new from you.
- They open to the connections and like you they want to increase their network.
Perhaps, I missed some points. But the goal is not to cover every possible value that people can expect from you want they accept the connection request. Every situation is different so it’s on you to decide.
Because they would look for the value they can check your profile. Guess what? You profile would tell more about you them the message. They might also check you activity and decide if they want to connect with you or not. So you got why you don’t need to introduce yourself.
Request without a message is called a blank connection request. Brlank connection requests work. Of course not all would work. There are easy ways to increase this percent. Here’s how.
Note, some of them look like hacks but they look perfectly natural.
- Before sending requests make sure that you have enough high quality recent posts on your wall that clearly show what are you posting about. This will increase the chance of content based connetions.
2. Visit the profile of the person and then send the blank connection request. The person would get notifcation that somebody visited their page and send an connection request. That would tell you that the request is not of of the blue and the person sending it actually checked you profile got interested and then send the request.
3. If you want to connect badly enough. Say, you want to connect with an investor. You can start connecting with people in their network. We’ll continue after the graph. Know that a stranger (a person that isn't and wasn't you colleage) would not like to connect with you if they would not be expecting value from your following posts and interactions with other people. Note, if you have a strong network that would also help you. For example, if I connect with a person with a strong network, I would decrease the connection graph distance (say also in a easy way) to many other strong professional. People are more likely to accept connection request if they have mutual connections. More’s better. Niche works here as well. For example, if I see all your connections a designers, then I conclude that you are active member of designer's community.
(insert connection stats and graph here) showing the frequency of 1st level connection 2nd level connections and 3rd level connections.
This graph would help you understand social dynamics. You are less than 3 links away from suprising high amount of people. If you are too in the network graph from the person you want to reach that you have less chances to connect with him. Also, high profile people receive massive amount of connection requests. if you have a lot of mutual connections with them your request would be ranked high in the queue of the requests.
But that is not the verdict. Here’s how you’d work on this topic.
you would find people who potentially would like to connect with you and who are connections with James. Here’s how. You go to Network tab and run a search. Enter an arbitrary keyword. If you are an SEO. The a reasonable keyword would be an SEO. The returned list will bring people who work as SEOs. Now, click on filters. Add a filter 1st level connection with James. Ok now we are looking at the James Connections without even visiting his profile. Not that we could alos do the same by visiting his profile and opening the connection lists but this way James would find out that you have visited your site. But hold one we are here for another reason. So you can investigate the connection list of James and send conenction request to people who you think are great matches with you. So we did a “due diligence” on the James’s connections list and sent several connections requests. Its a right to to go to second level connections!
Modily the filers and now select only the second level connections. Note if you think it’s too early to connect with a lot of James first level connections. You can start with second level connections.
You can even continue to third level connection depending on how many people you want to connect with.
Don’t make this too long if the connected requests are not accepted during a week most probably it’s a not. Even if after a week you don’t have any mutual connection with James you can send the request anyway.
If James does not answer this connection request that’s no problem. You would be following him. If you are interested in growing your network it is better to send connection request than follow because connection request can be accepted.
Now, you can start the plan B. The Plan B is commenting on Janes posts. If you comment regularly she will start notice you. You can become more virtually connected with the person that the stale connections Jane has. Maybe you would connect in LinkedIn. You can send the request again with a message. Or you can DM them in other Medium. You would have a feeling of connection and Jane might remember some of the public conversation she had with you.
Connects instead of follows
Send connection request to the accounts instead of follows. LinkedIn would show the follow button in the search section if a person has more than 500 connections. To connect with them you need to visit their profile click “more” and the follow. Remember that you would follow them and receive updates from them even if they would not accept your request.
If you are searching for connections in the groups the default button there is the message. Again if you want to connect with them you visit their profile and send the connection request from there.
Connect with people from whom you would learn
It is always a good idea to connect or follow people from whom you can learn from. Since LinkedIn growth migh interest everybody who visits the website regularly. Here;s what I’d suggest.
Connect with LinkedIn coaches. First of all there’s higher change that they’ll connect with you. They would understand why you are reaching to them and would be happy to grow their network. You will learn a lot from them just by opening your main thread, by their posts and by following what they are doing.
4. Know that Linkedin is a career portal and not pure niche social network. Decision on what to post is yours but better you go deep in niche specific forums or on Twitter instead.
You can write about your niche but I think that it makes sense to write in a way that would interest everybody in your network. If your network is too niche you can create a lot niche specific topics. However, I think that you should strive to have non-niche constrained network. That’s posting only niche specific topics would make your profile not that interesting for people with other professions.
When to place attention good accounts that you follow you would get idea what kind of posts perform best.
Don’t measure success of your posts with likes. Currently, LinkedIn is one of the best scoail networks with the organic reach. The reason there a so few content creator compared to the number of people frequenting the portal.
Even if your post would not get any likes you’ll get decent number impressions. Many people in your network would see your posts. Plus, people who will visit your profile might check your posts as well.
The problem is they don’t know what to post. Resharing posts of other people rarely help. Posting random content as well.
Be startegic with likes. Look at this screenshot for a moment
This is what a visitor sees when they want to check your posts.
I think that LinkedIn wants to boost the newest posts and that’s why it shows your most recent likes and comments even if you liked a million of things. Until, youse won’t click on the post button they would not see your posts.
What that means for you that you need to be strategic about the likes. For example, I won’t think that liking dog or cat photos in the LinkedIn helps your profile. You can like these pics without pushing the like button anyways. If you care about what people see on your activity feed it’s better to engage with and comment on posts that are related with what you do.
However, if you are commenting a lot then you can like whatever you want. For example look at the Linas Belunias activity feed. Everything you see is the replies to the comments. He gets a lots of comments and replies to every single comment. He can like million of other things before answering to comments. If he leaves answering the comments the last thing of the activity session his profile visitors would see his posts without even filtering the post.
By the way if you get a comment to your posts reply it in any case even if it’s just an emoji. If you reply to every comment to double the engagement. Plus, if the person will get back to you and you reply you would get more than double engagement and possibly would build raport with the people you are communicating with. This is so obvious, still so few people are doing this!
If you post only on your profile you’re limiting the chances of your growth. It’s a good idea to comment on other people posts. This way many people would see your comments and some of them would check your profile if they’d like what you say.
Comment on the posts where you think many of the people in your target market are hanging out.
6. Cross the 500 mark if you haven't done so. After 500 LinkedIn will hide the actual number of connections and your account will look like other accounts.
7. SECRETS do not include 1. (way to check follower count) 2. See how interesting people grow their account by recent connections.
Send connection request to alumni of university.
We covered about outbound techniques on growing on Linkedin. Increasing connection count and being active when communicating with other people publicly or in DMs is beatiful. But we need to drive traffic to our profile. If you do the right things than your profile will appear in lot more searches inside LinkedIn and it will appear on Google.
To understand how we can increase our chances to be found In Linkedin let’s check how the search works. Let’s say I search for people who do Technical SEO. I put technical SEO in the search box and press enter.
If you want to a lot of visits to your profile you’d like to appear on the first page of the search results right? Let’s analyze why some people overtook others appeared on the first page of the search results.
First of all the search would be dependant on the person. This is true with almost all search engines. There are personalizations in some degree for good reasons. You’d be more interested in people you are closer to you connectionwise or geographically.
In this example there’s not a lot personalization and I am ok with the default area. If I would like to change the contry it’s a filter.
So the people on the first page have techbical SEO in both pages. Note that, Linkedin highlights the technical SEO word in both places by this the platform hints us why it liked these profile and place on the first page.
In order to increase visibility in Linkedin Search it can help a lot if you would use keyword of your recent position in your tagline.
The next Steps
This was the first part of the Guide, follow the blog to get notified when the part 2 of the Linkedin Growth Guide will be released