The Missing 'Link'! How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network, Organically (Dorien Morin van Dam)

Dorien Morin-van Dam


So you are on social media! Congrats.

But…you aren’t sure about LinkedIn. Last you heard, LinkedIn was an online resume builder.

If that sounds about right to you, stick with me.

As of 2022, there are about 800 million LinkedIn users. And while, sure, you can use LinkedIn as an updated resume (or CV if you are European), there is so much more to it!

The ‘definition’ of LinkedIn

Let me start by answering the follow two questions:

  1. What is LinkedIn?
  2. What is it not?

LinkedIn is a 24/7 worldwide networking party!

Yes, you heard it correctly: LinkedIn is a networking party. The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect like-minded professionals with each other for the purpose of learning, networking, and collaboration.

LinkedIn, however, is not a dating site—or a sales site, for that matter!

Sure, LinkedIn is great for lead generation. LinkedIn even has a tool called “Sales Navigator”—but believe me when I say that the majority of active LinkedIn users do not want to be cold-called, cold-messaged, or sold to.

Let’s explore 5 tips for using LinkedIn like a pro (as in professional!):

5 tips for using LinkedIn to grow your network

The more people you know, the more you know.

Funny how that works. If you are new to LinkedIn, your goal should be to connect with new people weekly to learn from them.

There is one caveat: it has to be the right people. Connecting is not about numbers (quantity) but about finding the right people (quality).

Ready?

1. Make in-person connections LinkedIn connections

One easy way to connect with more people on LinkedIn is to connect your in-person networking strategy with your online networking strategy!

How do you do that?

Each time you attend an event, conference, workshop, or training live and in-person, invite those you meet to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Simple right? It’s a great way to grow your network with the right, targeted people!

LinkedIn makes connecting with people you know in-person super easy! They have given everyone a QR code on their profile for this very purpose.

On the mobile app

  • go to the search bar
  • tap the search bar
  • you will see a QR code icon appear on the right side of that search bar
  • click on that icon to open a new window with your very own QR code

Use the QR code during any in-person event.

POWERTIP: Save the QR code as an image to your photo gallery or make it your phone’s screensaver for instant access.

2. Comment on other people’s content

When you are first looking to get active on LinkedIn, posting your own content can seem, well, intimidating. My tip is to start commenting on other people’s content first. This will accomplish several goals.

You’ll be:

  • Doing research, as you will encounter all types of content;
  • Getting to know people in your industry;
  • Having fun conversations;
  • Making new connections through these comments;
  • Understanding the “lay of the land” on LinkedIn;
  • Finding out what NOT to do (and this is valuable—see Tip 4!)

I suggest you dedicate 10-15 minutes each day to reading and commenting on LinkedIn. Add it to your calendar as a daily to-do item.

Before you do this, though, make a list of people you want to connect with. Create a spreadsheet with a clickable link to the profiles of:

  • Industry leaders
  • Peers
  • Mentors
  • Thought leaders
  • Local connections
  • Event organizers
  • Anyone else you eventually want to connect with

Each time you go to LinkedIn, just check to see their content first and comment on it.

Some will connect with you, others might not. (You’ll also need this same list for Tip 5!)

Once you’ve got commenting on other people’s posts dialed in, it’s time to produce some content!

3. Post consistently

There are so many types of posts you can create to get traction on LinkedIn.

One of the best tips is to create a posting schedule, and stick with it for at least a month or two. Whether that means posting twice per week or seven times per week, stick with your schedule.

Once you start posting, keep track of your profile data (profile views, search appearances, followers, post impressions) to see if you are headed the right way!

As far as content ideas, start by sharing your expertise. It’s easy to talk about things you are an expert in, isn’t it?

Types of content to create and post include:

  • Picture posts
  • Video posts
  • Documents
  • Link posts
  • Articles
  • Graphics
  • Events
  • And more!

That question about what not to do on LInkedIn? I will answer that next!

4. Get personal—but do not share private details!

I do business with people I know, like, and trust. How about you?

A great way to get to know people is to read about their hobbies, families, and weekend fun, as well as their business, travel, promotion, conferences, and more.

Sharing personal stuff allows us a peek behind the curtain of a professional’s life—and that is a good thing.

Sharing struggles, celebrations, defeats, and triumphs is a great way to connect on a new level with those in your community.

However…

I strongly urge you to consider not sharing private stuff.

:white_check_mark: Your father died. Personal. Relevant. On point.

:x: Your father is dying. Private (for him and you).

:white_check_mark: Your daughter got into the college of her dreams. Personal. Celebration. On point.

:x: Your daughter is abusing drugs. Private (for her and you).

Many on LinkedIn toe the line between personal and private. A good rule of thumb is to write your post—but don’t publish it. Instead, walk away and go make yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Drink it and reread what you wrote. If you still feel that posting this content is a good idea, go for it!

5. Seek out your ideal clients, mentors, and thought leaders

Once you have the art of commenting and posting down, it is time to reach out to your target audience, thought leaders, and potential mentors with a connection request.

Step one would be to grab that list (mentioned in Tip 2) and start reaching out to connect with those you’ve been commenting on (if you’ve not already connected!).

When you send a connection request, do two things:

  1. Do it on desktop
  2. Add a note to let them know the reason you want to connect (“We have XYZ in common,” “I love your content,” “We both live in XYZ,” “I read your book”)

Doing this on the LinkedIn mobile app is a bit more complicated, which is why I recommend using your desktop for making these connection requests.

The value of LinkedIn lies in whom you are connected to!

Build your network, one connection at a time.

Value each connection. Get to know them. Interact.

TIP: Do not be afraid to un-connect if they turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’ve done that more times than I can count.

I’d love for you to connect with me! Send me a connection request and add #1thing about yourself you want me to know, and ask me #1thing about myself you’d like to know!

Happy Linkin’!


Dorien Morin-van Dam @dorien
Organic Social Media Specialist | International Keynote Speaker | Certified Agile Marketer | Community Manager | Content Marketer #StrategyTalks :studio_microphone:


Tell Us Below:

Do you go into LinkedIn with a strategy, or do you just sort of wing it?

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Great tips Dorien!

I used to not have a clue how to use LinkedIn and then I had a chat with a CEO about how they used LinkedIn. I don’t necessarily throw out connects willy nilly, but I do tend to send connects even without a note.

I do try and connect with those that I find interesting or are in the industry I want to be in. I also post relevant industry news, so if they check my profile they’ll see the benefits of connect/following me,

3 Likes

It drives me crazy that on the mobile app you have to do a completely different process to send a request with a note—I often forget to! Trying to get better about this, especially since the note also gives ME context for why I’m connecting with them, which helps later on.

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That definitely makes sense! Yes, it’s definitely more of a pain. For mobile they should streamline it even MORE than the site.

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@eternalkaz sounds like you are rocking it on LinkedIn! Have you grown your reach and audience?

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@christine I second that! I was connection with people at a conference and don’t like that the process seems more complicated than it should be.

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Recently, yeah. If I get a decent hit post, it’ll reach 5-10k impressions with decent amount of like and shares. Of course those are on the far range, although I’ve grown my network 2x since I really started being more consistent.

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LinkedIn has many silos (they say for security reasons) and unfortunately those departments do not collaborate, hence the differences between mobile, desktop, iOS, android, windows, etc. Gives me GRAY HAIR!!!

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