Joining LinkedIn and deciding to use it as a core tool in your business or marketing strategy is a step in the right direction for most people. The next step is understanding how the social networking site works, and how it is different from most other websites.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is not about socializing for recreational purposes. It is widely understood that LinkedIn is a platform for businesses, job seekers, hiring managers, recruiters, and sales teams. The keyword is ‘professional’. With over 500 million registered users, everyone on LinkedIn wants to use it as a way to expand their network.
Now most people who are new to LinkedIn would like to know what LinkedIn networks are all about. If someone wants to join your network, it means they want to connect with you. On LinkedIn, the people who are part of your network are referred to as your “connections”.
Connections are comparable to “friends” on Facebook, but they are not exactly the same. In fact, the only similarity is that one person sends a request and the other approves it. Only then can they be connected on the social networking site.
However, LinkedIn connections are better described as business contacts. LinkedIn warns against adding complete strangers to your network due to the amount of information made available to people you are connected with.
If someone wants to join your LinkedIn network, it could mean a lot of things. The most common reason for adding someone is because they know you personally. It could be a friend, a co-worker, a business partner, an old classmate, a former employer, etc.
To turn a contact into a connection, you will need to invite that person to join your network. Or if they sent you a connection request, simply accept that request to get connected on LinkedIn. Regardless of who invites who, both parties are automatically added to each other’s list of connections.
First Degree Connection
Anyone in your LinkedIn network becomes a “first degree” connection. This enables you to endorse and recommend each other, as well as view contact information. It also allows both parties to communicate through network updates or LinkedIn’s email message service.
All LinkedIn members, including those who are not part of your network, can see a shortened version of your profile as long as they are signed in to the website. However, only those who are in your connections network can view more detailed profile information, such as your contact details.
Being part of someone’s network also makes communication easier for both sides thanks to LinkedIn’s InMail feature. InMail messages are sent directly to your network of connections. Depending on the recipient’s notification settings, it may also go to their personal email address.
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn also means that you will see each other’s network activity updates on the LinkedIn homepage news feed. This is similar to Facebook’s timeline. But LinkedIn updates include all recent LinkedIn activities from adding connections to liking posts, to endorsing a contact’s professional skills.
Users may customize the type of connection updates that appear on their homepage by going to the LinkedIn Settings screen.
Connections are comparable to references on a professional resume. After making a new connection, you can both write a brief recommendation for each other based on performance in a current job or previous role. LinkedIn is all about connections and expanding your network. Using this platform wisely can take your business and career to the next level.