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What Are LinkedIn’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Connections?

lemlist team

LinkedIn is unmatched when it comes to building your network.
The strength of your network can mark the difference in your success.

However, the best way to get all of LinkedIn’s benefits is to understand all its details—specifically, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections.

LinkedIn Connection Categories: Definitions and Strategies

1st-Degree Connections and Your Direct Network on LinkedIn

1st-degree connections are individuals you have directly connected with on the platform.

To manage and expand your direct network effectively, it's essential to be strategic and intentional.

  • How to connect and foster 1st-degree connections

Begin by connecting with colleagues, industry peers, and professionals you've met at events. Personalize your connection requests to increase acceptance rates and lay the groundwork for meaningful interactions.

We’ll leave you with the 5 best templates for your cold messages ⬇️

2nd-Degree Connections and How to Leverage them

One step removed from your immediate circle is the 2nd-degree connections.

These individuals are connected to your 1st-degree connections and represent a large network of potential contacts that can be leveraged to extend your professional reach.

  • Bridge role of 2nd-Degree LinkedIn Connections: Recognizing the value of these connections is crucial as they can serve as bridges to new opportunities and introductions to other professionals.
  • How to reach out to 2nd-degree connections without being overbearing: The key is subtlety and mutual benefit. Request introductions through mutual connections or engage with their content to naturally build rapport before reaching out directly.

Don’t forget that you won’t be able to message your 2nd and 3rd degree connections, as your are not connected with them yet.

You can either send a connection request or use InMail!

3rd-Degree Connections and their potential

3rd-degree connections are individuals who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections.

While more distant, they can still play a role in expanding your network further.

  • The impact of 3rd-degree connections within your LinkedIn Network: Although they are the outermost layer of your direct network, 3rd-degree connections can significantly extend your reach and uncover opportunities that may not be accessible otherwise.
  • How to contact 3rd-degree connections: Use LinkedIn's introduction features or join common groups to facilitate initial contact. Engage thoughtfully with their content to establish a connection before sending a direct message.
Source:  LinkedIn

Leverage LinkedIn's Algorithm for Optimal Networking

Connection presentation on LinkedIn

LinkedIn's algorithm takes into account shared interests, mutual connections, work history, and group memberships to suggest potential new 1st-degree connections.

With 2nd and 3rd degree connections you will see an icon stating what degree the connection is, and you will be able to get closer to them by using the “Connect” or “Follow” buttons.

Tailored content-sharing strategies for different LinkedIn connection levels

Content sharing on LinkedIn should be tailored to resonate with different tiers of connections.

Check out this video and start writing viral posts! ⬇️

What appeals to a 1st-degree connection might differ from content that would engage a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection.

  • For 1st-degree connections, share updates and content that reinforce your professional relationship and common interests.
  • When targeting 2nd-degree connections, consider content that showcases your expertise and encourages your mutual connections to engage, thereby increasing visibility.
  • For 3rd-degree connections, broader industry insights and thought leadership pieces can position you as a knowledgeable figure in your field.

Setting LinkedIn profile privacy preferences

Privacy settings on LinkedIn can significantly affect your networking potential. A well-calibrated privacy setting ensures that you are open to networking opportunities while maintaining control over your personal information.

  • Adjust your profile viewing options to determine how you appear to others when you visit their profiles, which can affect their likelihood of reciprocating the visit.
  • Consider what personal information you're comfortable sharing with your network and with LinkedIn members outside your connections.

LinkedIn’s Networking Protocols

Beyond the 3rd-degree connections

Those connections who lie beyond your 3rd-degree connections are professionals who don't fall within your immediate circles but can be valuable additions to your network.

  • Use LinkedIn's search and content engagement to discover and connect with professionals outside of your current network reach.
  • Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions to bridge the gap to these "Out of Network" individuals.

Extract the full potential of LinkedIn's InMail

LinkedIn's InMail service is a powerful tool for reaching out to professionals you're not yet connected with.

To maximize its potential, your messages should be concise, personalized, and professionally compelling.

  • Research the recipient's profile to tailor your InMail, making it relevant and demonstrating genuine interest in their expertise or business.
  • Keep your InMail focused on the recipient, avoiding a self-centered pitch, which can increase the chances of a positive response.

Build your LinkedIn network ethically and efficiently

Building a robust LinkedIn network shouldn't come at the expense of professionalism.

Ethical and efficient networking practices ensure long-term success and reputation management on the platform.

  • Connect with individuals you have genuine professional synergy with instead of indiscriminately adding contacts.
  • Provide value to your connections through insightful content and meaningful interactions, rather than solely reaching out for personal gain.

By going beyond the basics of LinkedIn's degree connections and utilizing tools like InMail strategically, you can expand your network into new territories.

Proactive Networking Techniques on LinkedIn

Maximize LinkedIn’s Advanced Search for Connection-Building

LinkedIn’s advanced search is a powerful feature for identifying and connecting with potential contacts. To harness its full capacity for building your network:

  • Use filters such as location, industry, and current company to find professionals who align with your networking goals.
  • Take advantage of Boolean search logic to refine your results and pinpoint the most relevant individuals.

Craft Personalized Connection Requests and Follow-Up Messages

Personalized connection requests and follow-up messages are key to effective LinkedIn networking. To make a memorable impression:

  • Reference specific details from the recipient’s profile or shared experiences to demonstrate genuine interest.
  • Articulate a clear reason for connecting that conveys mutual benefit and sets the stage for a professional relationship.

If you want more templates and examples like this one, check out our article!

Network Through LinkedIn Groups and Discussions

LinkedIn groups and discussions offer a platform for engaging with like-minded professionals and thought leaders in your industry.

To network artfully:

  • Join groups relevant to your field and actively participate in discussions to showcase your expertise and insights.
  • Build rapport with group members by contributing valuable content and engaging in meaningful dialogue.

The use of proactive networking techniques on LinkedIn can significantly enhance your professional connections.

By using advanced search functions, crafting personalized outreach, and engaging in group discussions, you can establish and grow a network that supports your career objectives.

Find the group that best fits you and start networking!

P.S. You can also join the lemlist family, a community where we help each other grow!

Avoid These Pitfalls on LinkedIn

Common Mistakes While Growing Your LinkedIn Network

As you expand your LinkedIn network, it's crucial to be aware of common pitfalls that can hinder your progress.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Don’t overlook the importance of a personalized approach when reaching out to new connections. Generic messages can seem insincere and reduce the likelihood of a positive response.
  • Don’t ignore the value of existing connections while chasing new ones. Remember, a strong network is built on sustained relationships, not just numbers.

Be Professionally Assertive Without Intrusion

To grow your network effectively, it's essential to be assertive but not intrusive. Here's how:

  • When reaching out, ensure your message is clear about why you want to connect and how it could be mutually beneficial, without being pushy.
  • Respect the boundaries of your connections. If they're not interested in networking at the moment, thank them and move on gracefully.

Leverage LinkedIn's Connection Tiers

LinkedIn's Connection Degrees and Their Strategic Importance

Grasping the nuances of LinkedIn's connection degrees is crucial for a strategic approach to networking.

Each tier in your LinkedIn network plays a distinct role in your professional growth and opportunities:

  • 1st-degree connections are your direct contacts, who can endorse your skills and provide direct introductions.
  • 2nd-degree connections serve as the bridge to a wider professional circle and can be approached through mutual contacts.
  • 3rd-degree connections represent the outer layer of your network, offering potential access to a vast array of industry professionals and opportunities.

Apply Your Networking Knowledge

With a clear understanding of connection degrees, it's time to craft an action plan that utilizes this knowledge for networking success:

  • Regularly review your 1st-degree connections to identify opportunities for deeper engagement or collaboration.
  • Expand your network by connecting with 2nd-degree contacts, ensuring you have a clear reason for reaching out and a mutual benefit in mind.
  • Explore 3rd-degree connections by engaging with their content and finding commonalities to facilitate a warm introduction.

Don’t be afraid to comment on other people’s posts, you never know who you can find!

Your action plan should also include regular updates to your LinkedIn profile, sharing valuable content, and participating in discussions to maintain visibility and relevance within your network.

Community Engagement: Share your LinkedIn Success

Success stories inspire and motivate. Share your LinkedIn victories, big or small, to encourage others and demonstrate the power of a well-maintained network:

  • Post about a recent connection that led to a job opportunity, partnership, or valuable learning experience.
  • Encourage your connections to engage with your success story by asking questions or sharing their own experiences.

Future networking opportunities and LinkedIn updates

LinkedIn is constantly evolving, with new features and opportunities emerging regularly. Stay informed about the latest updates:

  • Subscribe to LinkedIn's official blog or newsletters to receive updates on new tools and networking features.
  • Participate in webinars and online events hosted by LinkedIn influencers to learn about advanced networking strategies.

By actively engaging with the community and staying abreast of LinkedIn's developments, you can ensure you are always maximizing your networking potential.

lemlist team
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