How to Network on LinkedIn – 10 Do’s and Don’ts for You to Consider

13 mins

Networking on LinkedIn is one of the main features of the platform.

But, if you’re just starting out, networking on LinkedIn can be confusing.

How do you find new people to connect with? How do you communicate without being annoying or coming across as sales-y? What do you write in your connection request or follow-ups to get people to reply?

These are all valid questions you might have as a beginner and we’ll explore them in-depth below.

But even if you’re a seasoned networker and know your way around the platform, be sure to keep on reading still as we’ll explore some subtle do’s and don’ts many people miss and how to use LinkedIn automation to skyrocket your networking efforts.

If done well, networking on LinkedIn can provide a ton of benefits, whether you’re looking for a new job or want to start generating leads.

With over 760+ million users on the platform, you can start networking with people all over the world today. And with a meaningful connection request (which we’ll teach you how to write below), you can connect with most people whether you know them personally or not.

In short, whether you want to make some sales or start generating leads, all of it begins with networking.

Here’s what we’ll cover below to help you master networking on LinkedIn:

  • How to network on LinkedIn when you don’t know where to begin
  • 5 most popular and proven ways for using LinkedIn to network
  • 10 Do’s and Don’ts to Consider When Networking On LinkedIn
  • linkedin networking

How To Network On LinkedIn With Strangers You Don’t Know

Using LinkedIn to network might seem overwhelming at first.

Mainly because you don’t know people on the platform and you want to grow your network.

So, where do you begin with LinkedIn networking?

We cover practical steps below. But before we get there, let’s take a look at some general steps that cover the “how” behind your LinkedIn network.

For starters, networking allows you to meet new people and expand your circle.

It also allows you to build relationships with people within your industry or people that could help you in some way.

So, it’s important you network with the right people, and not just about everyone.

For example, some of the most popular steps for using LinkedIn to network include:

  • Connecting with people who share mutual interests – One of the easiest ways to find people on the LinkedIn network is to use the platform’s built-in search features. With it, you can filter for people based on their location, industry, job role, and more. The more mutual interests you have with someone, the more likely they’ll be to connect with you!
  • Joining LinkedIn groups within your industry – LinkedIn groups are another great way to find like-minded individuals. Similarly, you can filter for groups based on industry and job areas. From there, be sure to be proactive and reach out with people in the group. If you’re both in the same group, they’ll also be more likely to connect with you.
  • Attending and participating in LinkedIn events – There are a ton of virtual events being held every day on LinkedIn. All you have to do is seek out the ones that interest you, attend a few, and introduce yourself. We explore this step in more detail below, so, be sure to keep on reading.
  • Creating content and engaging with other people – Finally, once you gain some traction in your LinkedIn network, you should strongly consider creating content based on your LinkedIn content strategy. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert and as people start liking your content, you can reach out to connect.

Now, let’s take a look at some actionable steps you can follow to grow your LinkedIn network.

5 Most Popular Ways For Using LinkedIn To Network

Before we get started on the do’s and don’ts, let’s first explore some of the most effective ways to network on LinkedIn.

These may seem obvious, but you have to start somewhere.

We’ll be looking at some advanced networking tactics as well as subtle mistakes to avoid in the do’s and don’ts section below.

So, let’s begin.

1. Connection requests

Sending a connection request is the most obvious and direct way to start using LinkedIn to network.

To send one, all you have to do is head on over to someone’s profile and click on the Connect button.

Though, make sure you always include a personalized note (ideally, a hyper-personalized one)!

This is a common mistake many people make even if they have already many connections on LinkedIn. And we’ll explore what you should write in the next section, so, keep on reading.

using linkedin to network

Just getting started on LinkedIn and want to gain a quick boost in your connections and networking opportunities?

Check out our guide to importing LinkedIn contacts from your address book, phone contacts, and more. And what you can do with this information for outreach.

Now, if you’re wondering where to find a list of people who fit your ideal customer persona and how to start networking with them, here’s what you need to know:

2. LinkedIn searches

This may also seem obvious but we can take it one step further to make sure you’re connecting with leads you might not have access to otherwise.

As you might know, you can filter your LinkedIn search results to connect with even more specific people.

This is probably one of the most direct and effective ways for using LinkedIn to network. You find people who fit your description (industry, job role, etc.) and reach out.

For example, you can filter for people who work in digital marketing and are based in the same city as you. People who work in a specific company, industry, or provide a specific service.

how to network on linkedin

But one thing many people don’t know is that you can use advanced LinkedIn search filters to narrow down your search results even more.

You can use the following boolean operators to narrow down your searches even more:

  • AND – If you want to see results that include all items in a list. E.g. “marketing” AND LinkedIn” for people who mainly work with LinkedIn marketing.
  • NOT – To exclude a search term from your results. E.g. “sales NOT manager”.
  • OR – To see results that include one or more items in a list. E.g. “marketing” OR “growth-hacking”.

Not bad, right?

Depending on your target audience, you can customize these filters and network with only relevant people.

Check out our LinkedIn outreach safety article for more networking and outreach hacks you can use.

3. ‘People you may know’ section

Once you start gathering some connections, you can use this networking hack to find more people instantly.

Simply go to My Network and scroll down until you see the “people you may know” section.

linkedin network

Here, you’ll find:

  • People you may know from your university (if your education section is filled in).
  • People you may know from similar job roles.
  • People you may know mutual LinkedIn groups.
  • People in the same industry as you.
  • People you may know based on your profile (LinkedIn’s recommendations).

This is a great ‘quality over quantity’ approach as you’re more likely to find relevant people worth networking from your niche here.

If you have an optimized LinkedIn profile (see step on this below), LinkedIn will recommend your people based on different factors.

It’s very easy to reach out when that happens. Especially if you have many mutual connections with someone within your LinkedIn network or you simply mention that “LinkedIn suggested we connect” in your outreach message.

4. LinkedIn events

LinkedIn events are one of the best ways to network on LinkedIn because nothing is holding you back from connecting with most people who attended the same event as you.

This is especially the case if you’re new to LinkedIn and not sure where to find like-minded people.

Simply go to My Network and scroll down until you find the “Online events for you” section.

If your LinkedIn profile is filled in and you already have a couple of connections, LinkedIn should suggest some events for you based on your industry.

linkedin networking

But if that’s not the case, all you have to do is enter keywords related to your niche in the LinkedIn search tab and switch the filter to ‘Events’.

using linkedin to network

There, you’ll find different kinds of events with as many as 1,000+ attendees.

You can network with the people organizing the event, the attendees, or share your thoughts during the live event and people will want to connect with you!

Another networking hack we’ve tried with LinkedIn events was scraping LinkedIn events.

Here, we scraped this event and reached out to people who attended.

how to network on linkedin

This way, we reached a 55% acceptance rate and a 66% reply rate. Check out our full guide on how to scrape LinkedIn events for more info and the exact outreach templates we used that you can copy.

LinkedIn events are great for networking because you can find just about every type of event idea:

  • Networking events for like-minded people.
  • Online workshops.
  • Webinars.
  • Product launches.
  • Meetups, conferences, and more.

You can scrape and automate this yourself by following the steps in the above-linked article, or to get started, consider attending webinars on the platform and participating organically. From there, reach out to people who also attended the webinar to grow your LinkedIn network.

5. LinkedIn groups

Last but not least, LinkedIn groups are another popular networking tactic.

Why’s that?

LinkedIn groups allow you to reach a targeted audience of industry professionals and establish relationships with people by having something in common (the group, same niche, etc.).

All you have to do is type in keywords related to your industry and you’ll find loads of LinkedIn groups to choose from.

linkedin network

Though, consider narrowing down your search even more and being as specific as possible if you want to stand out in a group with many members.

To recap so far, it’s important to have something in common with someone when using LinkedIn to network.

People on the platform get many connection requests and messages per day. Many of them being direct sales pitches.

So, if you want to get the most out of LinkedIn networking, it’s important you’re transparent and mention the real reason for outreach.

Now that you know some of the most popular LinkedIn networking features, let’s take a look at some networking do’s and don’ts for you to consider.

10 Do’s and Don’ts to Consider When Networking On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is constantly changing.

But at its core, the essentials of LinkedIn networking stay the same.

If you want to start building relationships and grow your LinkedIn network, the below list of 5 do’s and don’ts can help you get started.

The list will touch on how to network on LinkedIn in terms of:

  1. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Writing content.
  3. Creating personalized connections.
  4. Engaging with your LinkedIn network.
  5. Leveraging outreach and LinkedIn growth-hacks.
  6. Engaging with comments.
  7. Sharing posts from people in your LinkedIn network.
  8. Personalizing your outreach.
  9. Using personality as part of your LinkedIn networking.
  10. Using automation to speed things up.

Let’s begin with the do’s of networking on LinkedIn.

1. Do optimize your profile

Not sure where to begin when networking on LinkedIn?

The answer is simple: Your profile.

Everyone you’ll want to network with will at some point clicks on your profile to learn more about you.

Then, they’ll go over your banner photo, profile picture, your ‘About’ section, work experience, and so on.

Sounds judgmental?

It’s natural!

The point is, your profile should reflect who you are and what you offer to your ideal customer persona.

As you can tell, this profile clearly shows the benefit of connecting for agencies and growth hackers. And with a custom banner image, it’s as optimized as it gets.

linkedin networking

Check out our guide to steps to prepare before launching LinkedIn outreach campaigns to learn how to do that and other ways you can prepare for networking.

And check out our LinkedIn summary examples for inspiration on what makes people want to connect with you.

2. Do write content

Ideally, this is something you should be doing daily.

This can either be content in the form of LinkedIn posts or articles that demonstrate your expertise in your niche.

You can use content to:

  1. Increase your reach and have more people connecting with you through inbound marketing.
  2. Use it to follow up with your prospects (send them an article asking for their thoughts or feedback).
  3. Promote yourself, your services, and grow your brand.

Check out some of our other LinkedIn marketing solutions you can use for content creation, promotion, and of course, networking.

3. Do take the time to write personal connections

There’s nothing better than a personalized connection that explains what you do and why you want to connect with your prospect.

Additionally, this is a great way to stand out on LinkedIn and to show your prospect you really do care.

Ever received something like this?

using linkedin to network

This is guaranteed to be automated and shows that they didn’t take the time to go through my profile. Many people send out “shotgun blast” messages like this and hope it works.

When sending connection requests to the network on LinkedIn make sure you’re prioritizing quality over quantity.

Not sure what to write in your connection request or where to check to personalize your messages?

Check out our top connection message templates to learn how to connect with almost anyone and how to use personalization when networking.

4. Do engage personal connections in your LinkedIn network

So, once you’ve connected with someone, then what?

Many people ignore them and move on.

If you really want to gain meaningful connections when networking, make sure you’re engaging each person you connect with.

How do you do this?

Simple. You go through their profile until you find something specific or personal you can bring up, and then, ask a question related to that.

This will show you’re actually interested and that you’re taking the time to build a relationship when networking.

This might be time-consuming but can be one of the most effective LinkedIn lead generation strategy if done well.

Consider engaging with their content too.

If you create content as well, they might be more likely to engage with you back.

Then, over time, once your content gets more and more engagement, people outside your LinkedIn network might see it and connect with you on their own.

5. Do leverage outreach and growth-hacks

LinkedIn networking is an art as much as it is a science.

In other words, you’ll want to leverage different growth hacks and outreach strategies if you want to find something that works for you best.

You can:

  1. Define your audiences and your ideal customer persona.
  2. Focus on generating demand.
  3. Build relationships.
  4. Come up with a personalized offer depending on your prospects.
  5. Start capturing demand

And more.

The truth is, you’ll have to experiment with different outreach tactics and strategies to see what works best.

Check out our top LinkedIn best practices to see some strategies that work in any niche and how to engage your ideal personas.

Now, let’s take a look at some don’ts of networking.

1. Not engaging comments

Every comment is an opportunity on LinkedIn.

If someone comments on your content, make sure you at least reply.

You can:

  • Thank them for the support.
  • Ask what they enjoyed the most from your post.
  • Ask for their own experience.
  • And so on.

A simple gesture, and a good networking habit to build early on.

2. Not sharing posts

Similarly, consider sharing posts and other people’s content if you want to build relationships.

This is a great way to get noticed and network with people who might otherwise be out of your reach.

Consider tagging people in your LinkedIn posts too so that you’re directing your audience to their profiles.

Eventually, they’ll reciprocate too and share your content back!


3. Not personalizing your outreach

One of the best networking and lead generation tactics you can leverage is personalization.

Whether it’s a connection request or a cold message in your automated outreach campaign to sell your services, you should always be personalizing your social selling messages.

Here’s where to start with that:

  1. Define your ideal customer persona and how to find them on LinkedIn (see the first section on LinkedIn searches and boolean operators).
  2. Consider some of the main pain points your prospects go through. For example, if you’re reaching out to agency owners, you can structure your outreach around their pain point of not having enough time.
  3. Finally, make sure you’re always following up. Fortunately, you can use LinkedIn automation (see step #5 below for more info on this) to save time.

4. Not using personality

Here’s a common misconception when it comes to networking on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a serious business and a B2B platform and you should always be serious when networking and doing outreach.

In reality, using some personality and even humor in your outreach is a great way to stand out. Even if you’re networking with business and B2B executives.

For example, one connection request we’ve had much success with in the past was:

“Hey (first name),

Haha, just kidding {first_name}.

Saw you’re also a fan of Sharon’s LinkedIn post about hyper-personalization.

Love it too!

Let’s connect.

(your name)”

This works because “(first-name)” doesn’t actually do anything, which makes them think your message is automated.

They will think you tried to use the first-name tag but it didn’t work!

Then, you use their actual name in the “{first_name}” tag (which grabs your prospect’s name from their LinkedIn profile) and throw some personalization to give them a reason to connect.

Most people might be surprised, but they’d be glad to connect.

Check our safest LinkedIn personalization outreach to see how we achieved a 72% acceptance rate and a 40% reply rate to the follow-ups with the template above (and our outreach targeting).

5. Not using automation

This is probably the biggest mistake when it comes to LinkedIn networking.

Because, if done well, you can leverage automation to fully take care of your LinkedIn networking for you!

Here’s how it works:

LinkedIn automation uses personalization tags to grab information from your prospect’s profile so that you save time repeating the same information.

For example, you can the following tags on Expandi:

  • {first_name}
  • {last_name}
  • {job_title}
  • {company_name}
  • Dynamic placeholder

Wondering what’s the <dynamic placeholder tag?

Essentially, it’s a custom tag you can use to personalize each message to the individual you’re messaging.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn automation and outreach is that you get access to your campaign results and analytics at a glance. So, you can see what’s working and what you need to fix.

how to network on linkedin

If done well, LinkedIn automation can be a great way to save time, start networking, and generate leads on autopilot.

You can adjust and use your outreach templates based on your campaign. And you can always A/B test different networking messages, depending on your campaign objective.

Check out our full guide to LinkedIn message automation to learn how to set up your first outreach campaign using Expandi today.


And that’s a wrap!

Hope you found this guide to networking on LinkedIn useful.

Whether you want to gain more connections, start networking, or simply generate more leads, you can get started using Expandi with a free 7-day trial and plan your outreach campaigns accordingly.

Need more help on networking on LinkedIn or not sure where to start?

Be sure to also check out:


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