LinkedIn is all about building and developing connections. But there are different degrees of connection on LinkedIn that determine how you can interact with other users in your network. This refers to the 3+ icon that you sometimes see on another user’s profile. Here we will discuss what those icons mean.
People in your LinkedIn network are called connections. There are 1st-degree connections, 2nd-degree connections, and 3rd-degree connections on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn network also includes fellow members of your LinkedIn groups.
The degree of connection you have with another LinkedIn user defines the limits of your interactions on the platform. For example, 1st-degree connections are people you are connected to directly: either you accepted their invitation or they accepted yours. LinkedIn will show you the 1st-degree icon next to that user’s name in search results and on their actual profile. You can contact 1st-degree connections by sending them a message on LinkedIn.
2nd-degree connections are people who are connected to your 1st-degree connections, similar to a mutual friend on Facebook. They will have the 2nd-degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You may send an invitation to your 2nd-degree connections by sending them an InMail. You can also click the Connect button on their profile page to automatically send an invite. Once they accept it, they will become a 1st-degree connection.
3rd-degree connections have the 3+ icon. These are the people who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. If their full first and last names are displayed, you will be able to send them an invitation by clicking Connect. If only the first letter of their last name is displayed, then the option to Connect won’t be available. However, you may still contact them through an InMail.
People who are part of the same LinkedIn groups are considered part of your network. The Highlights section of a member’s profile displays the groups that you are both part of. You can contact fellow members of your LinkedIn groups by sending them a message on LinkedIn. You may also message them directly through the group.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections, and people in the same LinkedIn groups are part of your network. You can expand it by sending invitations to 2nd and 3rd-degree connections. There are also LinkedIn members who are outside of your network—meaning you have no mutual contacts. These profiles will have limited visibility, but sometimes you have the option to send them an InMail and introduce yourself. This is a good way to try and connect with people who are outside of your network.
Building your network involves sending and accepting invitations. People with mutual contacts are more likely to accept your invitation because they work in the same industry, or went to the same school, etc. But you don’t have to limit yourself to your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections. If you want to add other LinkedIn members and you don’t know their email address, you can contact them using an InMail.
Understanding your network of connections is the first step in expanding it. To make your lead generation efforts easier, try using a high-quality LinkedIn automation tool like Kennected. Kennected lets you send personalized messages and follow-ups automatically, so you can focus on more important tasks—such as having real conversations with prospects. Try Kennected today.