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How to Network on LinkedIn Like a Shogun

Effective Networking Strategies for Growing Your LinkedIn Presence

If you’ve logged into LinkedIn today and got one of those messages saying, “Hey Sir” even though you’re clearly a woman in your profile photo, or if you feel uncomfortable reading comments where employees overflatter their bosses, you know this is Linkedin networking done wrong. This is what we’d call “toxic LinkedIn.

Is there a non-toxic LinkedIn? Yes, there is – people join LinkedIn because it is a space of knowledge and opportunities for those who understand the platform and navigate through it shogun-style. And by ‘shogun,’ we mean the art of patiently leveraging your LinkedIn game with the precision, strategy, authority, and effectiveness of a true expert.

So, how to network on LinkedIn? Let’s start with the winning strategies only.

How to Network on Linkedin: Prepare for the Long Game

Networking on LinkedIn is a long game. Therefore, you need to have patience.

Your profile page is the platform from which you want to expand your influence and create meaningful LinkedIn connections. It may take years to build a network, but if you use the available tools and act wisely, you will achieve your goal.

The time it will take depends on your activity. There are curious cases of people who have had the chance to appear before the right eye immediately or have built a vast professional network due to irresistible charm, but they are rare.

Think of Yourself as a Brand

You’re probably tired of hearing about personal branding, but there’s a reason for it – it’s the best way for people to see who you are, and what you can offer in case they ever need your expertise.

Through personal branding, you purposefully showcase your power, wisdom, and strategic skills to those who interest you.

This means your aim should be to develop your LinkedIn profile by nurturing your image and creating content to inform and educate people while building a solid reputation.

One example is Mario Peshev, the CEO of DevriX, who has 20K followers on the platform. He builds his personal brand and valuable connections by sharing helpful content and expert opinions that encourage active conversations. As a result, he has become a trusted figure who constantly encourages people to participate in discussions, join LinkedIn groups, and build relationships beyond mere connections.

Readers Also Enjoy: The Modern Guide to LinkedIn Outreach for Sales [2024] – DevriX

Hook the Right Connections

Before reaching out to people with DMs (the most popular networking strategy), remember you are playing the long game and should focus your strategy on attracting first. Rushing your game is one of the don’ts on LinkedIn and almost never leads to success.

The approach is the same one used by businesses and influencers:

Create a Customer Avatar

You can’t build a strong audience and network that consists of “everyone.” That means you have to identify your target audience. The best way to do it is to create a customer avatar.

You can make an avatar using a simple template. Find three to five people on LinkedIn who are similar to your target audience. Check their profiles to see their ages, hobbies, and how they use the platform. This will help you know them better and bond with your ideal followers on LinkedIn..

Customer Avatar

Optimize Your Look

An important part of your strategy is to optimize your presence for your target audience:

  • Headshot: Choose a professional headshot that says “I am an expert” without appearing fake and robotic.
  • Banner image: Create one (Canva can help) with a message. Communicate what you can do for your audience and how you can solve their problems.
  • Tagline: Select your position or value proposition.

Here is an example:

  • The About section: Remember that people are more attracted to what you can do for them rather than a long list of accomplishments. This section is just the right place to highlight the first, mentioning why you’re in a position to offer solutions.
  • Credibility: Many people check reviews before making a purchase, they also assess your brand. These are the scenarios where working with a branding and digital marketing agency pays off. You need to showcase credibility through recommendations from colleagues, publications, licenses, and skills.

Offer Value

A lot of tips on how to offer value on LinkedIn suggest sharing articles, participating in discussions, and creating your own content. And while all of these suggestions might work, a ‘shogun’ would be more selective and strategic.

You want to choose the best content and a process that is easily manageable and lasts for years. Being hyperactive for one month will burn you out, yield no results, and lead you to give up, leaving the ‘shogun’ game behind.

Find the Best Content Ideas

Before jumping to write what interests you, check if it is interesting for your target audience. The best content is where your interests meet with those of your followers.

You can use tools such as SparkToro to find out what your audience is into and then provide a fresh perspective on it. Additionally, you can search through LinkedIn collaborative articles created by AI to see how people from your niche contribute the most.

A basic knowledge of SEO is also important to increase your chances of appearing in the search results – learn how to use an online keyword tool like Google Trends and Ahrefs. You can use them for free. Finally, research hashtags to see what’s trending.

When you have ideas, make a list of topics and add specific pain points. Then, start writing articles focused on your professional viewpoint on the subjects. This is what makes you uniquely interesting and attracts readers.

Share Thoughtfully

When sharing articles and posts, ask yourself 3 things: is the content factually true? Is it aligned with your personal brand? Does your resource have a good reputation? Having high standards for what you share on your timeline is one more way to build trust and authority among your LinkedIn network.

Comment Selectively

Speak only if you have something really meaningful to say, especially in discussions that matter under posts of your ideal targets. Keep your comments short, on point, and sharp as a katana, and never waste time responding to random and useless comments. This way you attract interest, people will ask themselves who left this brilliant comment and come to visit your profile and join your professional network.

Make a Plan

Being consistently active on LinkedIn requires effort. Be honest with yourself about the time you can devote to growing your LinkedIn audience network. Do you know who succeeds in Duolingo and actually learns a new language? It’s the people who practice 5-10 minutes a day. It’s the same with LinkedIn: breaking down the big goal into small steps is the key.

Reach out for the Right LinkedIn Connections

Now that you already know how to attract an audience, you’re ready to reach out to the right people and expand your small LinkedIn empire. The good thing about waiting patiently before sending a connection request is that you’ll get enough time to identify the people you really want in your network. Hopefully, they’ve already noticed you from your comments and sharing. Reaching out to these important players can make a difference in your career or business.

Make the VIP List

Don’t limit yourself to CEOs only but identify yourself as well to industry leaders, peers, alumni, and potential clients. Aim for people who are active on the platform and ask yourself what you expect them to do for you. What kind of access do you need? Sometimes reaching out to the HR Director is what is required, but connecting with the Head of Marketing might be more in line with your goal. Make a list.

Write for the Tiny Window

Before a message is opened, its intro is visible. Depending on the device, it might look different, but in general, it’s the tiny space where some people write things like ‘Hi Sir’ to women or ‘Dear Mr. X, my name is…’

These aren’t necessarily wrong, but they sound like a lost opportunity. If you have a long name you might consider presenting it in the second sentence. In those first 10 or so words, try to convey why you’re reaching out, for instance after you saw their comment or after their colleague X shared their contact with you.

Send Cold DMs but with a Personal Communication

When a person opens your message, they should immediately understand whether it’s an automated message or not. It is important to demonstrate that you already know them – their profile, activities, articles, accomplishments – everything that would serve as proof of your genuine interest. Providing such context is like those “I am not a robot” checks but longer. Then you can move on with your message’s purpose, keeping it concise yet meaningful.

Engage Even if Rejected

After all that effort, you still might be rejected, or your message might never be opened. It is not the end of the world. You can try to follow up once more, but if you still receive no reply, then it’s time to move on.

However, don’t stop interacting just because someone from your VIP list doesn’t follow you back. These are influential people you selected for a reason, so keep engaging with them. Stick to your long-term plan and stay connected. A real strategist would persist. You never know when a chance to connect might arise in a comment or live session. Keep showing respect and following those you look up to, even if they choose not to connect on LinkedIn.

Readers Also Enjoy: 3 LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies to Try in 2024 – DevriX

Wrap Up

As you can see, the answer to the question of how to grow your LinkedIn network is not simple. The ‘shogun’ approach means being patient and strategically pursuing your goals with small steps.

There are no shortcuts to success; it’s all about persistence and consistency. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you begin to optimize your profile, and then create a strategic plan, and follow it, until you get what you are aiming for.