If you've spent some time on LinkedIn, you may realize that the network allows for companies to build dynamic profiles on the site. Did you know that you can discover important information conducting company searches?
What is LinkedIn Company Search?
According to LinkedIn, your professional network isn't just about the people you know, it's also about the companies in your network and how you're connected to them. LinkedIn's new Company Search provides an opportunity to discover connections in your network and filter them by the companies they work for.
Why is this important? Not only can you search for companies by attributes such as location, industry and size, but also by how you're connected! Ultimately, LinkedIn Company Search can help you expand your professional network in ways that you may not have thought about.
How Can You Utilize LinkedIn Company Search to Expand Your Professional Network?
LinkedIn Company Search results are more robust than the “People” search results for those who do not have a Premium LinkedIn account. These search results appear to be unlimited for the time being, as long as a particular company has created a company profile.
How to Expand Your Professional Network Using LinkedIn Company Search
#1: Set your Company Search parameters
Navigate to Company Search, located underneath the “Companies” tab. Next, refine your search in the left-hand column using the following parameters for the most relevant results:
- Location (focus on your city)
- Industry (target a single industry initially)
- Relationship (choose second-degree connections)
Hint: Your current number of first-degree connections will directly impact the number of second- and third-degree connections that you have. If you don't have many first-degree connections at this point, you'll want to focus on building meaningful connections as quickly as you can!
#2: When viewing these search results, look for the number of people in your network for each company listed
Each company that shows up in your search results will showcase a link to the number of people who are in your network. These “people” will all be your second-degree connections, given that you filtered for this parameter. The search results may also show you job postings by the company if you choose to view that parameter.
#3: Click the link to “View all X people.”
To expand the list of second-degree connections from each company who are in your network, you'll need to click the “View all X people” link (see image below). Once you click this link, you'll see a list of all of your second-degree connections who are associated with this particular company, along with the number of shared connections that you have with each person.
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Note that when these results are shown, in order to see those individuals who work in your specific geographical area, you'll have to reset that search parameter in the LinkedIn Company Search filter on the left-hand side of the results page. (Just as you did in step #1, refine your search results by location once again.)
Now you'll see the list of second-degree connections who are in your network and work for this particular company, as well as the number of shared connections that exist between you and this individual. LinkedIn will also show you any groups that you have in common with this list of second-degree connections, which could open up the opportunity to make a direct connection. (LinkedIn will allow you to send invitations to connect with mutual group members.)
#4: Click to view your “shared connection(s)”
The most exciting part of this search is being able to see exactly how you're connected to this new list of people! Your shared connections in many cases will be key in providing you with an introduction to a new second-degree connection and can also share with you what they know about the person.
#5: View the second-degree connection's profile and connect!
I suggest that prior to asking for an introduction from your shared connection that you spend some time learning more about the person. For example, view the profile of the second-degree connection and look for common experiences, interests or additional places on the web where you can connect.
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Does the person have a blog you can subscribe to? Do they have a Twitter account that is visible on their LinkedIn profile? Are there groups that they are a member of that would make sense for you to join as well? Do you share common personal interests or past work experiences with this individual? You might also Google the person to gather additional intelligence.
This research prior to asking for an introduction to connect or sending any type of direct invitation to connect helps you have a more meaningful dialogue once you've become connected on LinkedIn.
#6: Promote, refer and engage your new connections.
If you want to build influence on LinkedIn, always remember to focus on promoting, referring and engaging your connections. You can “like,” “share” or “comment” on their status updates, invite them to join interesting groups or attend local events, and suggest or refer any of your existing connections with whom they can benefit from knowing.
In addition, you should consider sending relevant news and resources to your new connections that can help or benefit them in their business and networking efforts.
Don't forget to be consistently updating your LinkedIn status on a daily basis if possible. This will also expand your visibility and increase your opportunity to be seen as value-added to your new connections.
As you can see, leveraging LinkedIn Company Search is not only a powerful way to manually build a qualified list of prospects by location and industry, but you also have a connection pathway to meet these individuals through an introduction or by sending a direct invitation, depending on your account level. Keep in mind, however, that the best new business relationships often come by way of referral or introduction!
Spend some time doing these kinds of searches for your business. If you have a Premium LinkedIn account, you can actually create folders and save the profiles of all of your new and prospective connections.
What do you think? Have you experimented yet with LinkedIn Company Search? If not, will you utilize this strategy to find new connections and expand your influence? Leave your comments in the box below.
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