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Are you having trouble finding new candidates and prospects? Do you need to re-invent your recruiting and sales pipelines? If so, you need to tap into your 2nd-degree LinkedIn connections. They’re a direct pathway to expand your reach and influence without breaking the bank, investing in a new tech stack that your team may find daunting.

Identifying Centers of Influence (COI) is one of my favorite ways to uncover potential high-quality connections. Your Centers of Influence are a small group; people you know, like and trust and who know, like and trust you. They are natural connectors, and they use LinkedIn with a level of proficiency and ease. Their connections may include people that you should connect with and know. They can, if asked, introduce you. I find that few people ask for introductions. It seems to be a combination of not being comfortable asking or not sure of the mechanics on LinkedIn. No doubt, lots of opportunities remain undiscovered.

Beyond COIs, you need to identify your 2nd-degree LinkedIn connections to expand and add value to your network continually. Use LinkedIn’s filters including location, industry, company, and school if you’re a Basic member or more filters if you’re a Premium or Sales Navigator member. Notice your mutual connections. The more mutual connections, the stronger your tie to that person.

Rather than ask for an introduction, send a personalized connection request mentioning you have several common connections and mention one or two by name. If you notice they have little information on their profile or less than 100 connections, it may not be worth reaching out to them since they may not be using LinkedIn regularly.

If these are 2nd level LinkedIn connections and you don’t know them, DO NOT hit the Connect button and send off the default message. Take five seconds and personalize your connection request. You can personalize from your mobile too! Please give people context for why they should connect with you. More on this in an upcoming Quick Tip.

By the way, if you’re a Premium member, you may decide you should send them an InMail. Don’t, right away. While InMail is useful, it poses a challenge because some people don’t know how to accept it. Even if they accept and respond to your InMail, they’re not connected to you or a part of your network. The customary goal should be to connect, not just correspond.

Your 1st-degree connections are the gateway to a more extensive group of people who should (if they are the right people) bring value to your network. 2nd-degree LinkedIn connections are the gateway to a strategically diverse network. Please note, this post isn’t about connecting with everyone indiscriminately. It’s about expanding your network with thought and intentionality.

Finding, connecting with and nurturing 2nd-degree LinkedIn connections is a worthwhile endeavor if you are the face of your organization, focused on recruiting, business development and sales. Everyone in your organization should understand they have a responsibility to help in recruiting and business development.

This kind of connecting and networking is a significant paradigm shift for most people and most companies. It’s the rare CEO or President who sees this potential. And, it’s not because they are strong leaders or visionaries, it’s because they’ve networked in smaller doses throughout their careers and they haven’t taken the time to dive in, understand and leverage LinkedIn for this or any other purpose. Their mindset shift is the first step to embracing a philosophy of opportunity and highly encouraging their teams to do the same. An executive endorsement is one of the elements of a healthy organizational presence.

Rather than assume anything, let me say, please carefully consider what you post. The posting on LinkedIn is reasonably benign and focused, as it should be on professional events and topics. I hope that never changes. There seem to be more “grown-ups” apologizing these days for inappropriate comments, missteps and a lack of civility than any other swath of social media users. Let me say that, not every thought, position or opinion needs to show up somewhere.

Be the person people want to have in their network because you’re:

  • relevant and smart
  • engaging
  • adding to the conversation
  • a good social citizen
  • and above all, a genuinely authentic person

Let people see enough of you through your profile that they know you’re a good bet to connect with on LinkedIn and potentially in person or by phone.

Nothing will turn off your 1st or 2nd-degree LinkedIn connections more than the person who’s screaming from their LinkedIn or other social media channels about everything. Just don’t be that person.

Hold on, there’s more.

What’s your take away from this post? What’s one thing you can do today or tomorrow to further your network in a meaningful way? Let us know.

If your company hasn’t figured out how to leverage LinkedIn for branding, sales and recruiting, you need to read the post below. Sign up to be one of the first to have access. 

Finally, A Better Way to Master LinkedIn is Here

Sell More Through the People Who Know, Like and Trust You

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