The Small Business Times

LinkedIn Networking Hacks For Freelancers And Small Business

With over 950 million members in more than 250 countries, LinkedIn is the largest network of professionals worldwide. 

If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, it can be your goldmine for finding new clients, securing referrals, discovering collaborators, and even locating mentors who can guide you through your entrepreneurial journey. 

Whether you want to improve your profile, use LinkedIn features to your advantage, or master the art of cold messaging, this article will help you tap its real potential, offering proven hacks to help you navigate it effectively.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is more than a digital resume; it’s your personal brand, business card, and sales pitch combined. 

That’s why getting its various elements right can make or break your networking efforts.

So, what should you optimize?


For the best results, try to be creative and go beyond job titles. For example, instead of Digital Marketing Consultant, you can try Boosting Your ROI with Data-Driven Strategies | Conversion Optimization & Customer Retention Specialist. Such a headline will address your potential clients directly by hinting at the benefits they could gain and highlighting your specialized skills.

This way, your profile will stand out from the crowd, offering a compelling reason for others to connect.


Use industry-specific terms to make your profile searchable and stand out to those in your field.

Skills & Endorsements

Don’t underestimate this section. A well-rounded skills list, backed by endorsements, significantly boosts your credibility.


A well-written recommendation adds an extra layer of trust and serves as a testament to your capabilities.


Include articles, projects, or a video intro to give profile visitors a comprehensive view of your professional persona.

Leverage LinkedIn Features

LinkedIn offers various features to expand your reach and engagement.

Hashtags, tags, mentions, and emojis are more than just social media gimmicks; they can strategically place your content in front of a wider but targeted audience.

  • Hashtags. These aren’t just for Twitter. Use them to categorize your posts, making them discoverable in related searches.
  • Tags and Mentions. Move beyond merely publishing content. You can engage with your network by tagging and mentioning people and companies in your posts. Especially when sharing something directly relevant to them, a tag or a mention can spark a conversation and keep you on their radar.
  • Emojis. A well-placed emoji can add flair and personality to your posts, making them more engaging and easier to read. However, use them sparingly to maintain a professional tone.

Networking Strategies

Strategic networking is at the core of any successful LinkedIn experience.

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But always remember: it’s not about how many connections you have; it’s about the quality of those connections and what you do with them.

  • Search and Filter. LinkedIn’s advanced search and filter functions can help you find potential connections that fit specific criteria – a particular industry, location, or from a certain company.
  • Tailored Connection Requests. Generic connection requests rarely get any attention. Personalize your message by mentioning a common interest, a mutual connection, or something specific that caught your eye on their profile.
  • Following vs. Connecting. You don’t have to connect with everyone right away. Following someone lets you see their public updates and engage with them without requiring a mutual relationship. It is a low-risk way for you to get on someone’s radar before making a direct connection.
  • Value-Added Conversations. After initially connecting, offer something of value in your follow-up messages, such as a relevant article or a free resource. This will make the relationship mutually beneficial and keep the conversation going.
  • Strategic Posting. Share content that is valuable for your target audience. Posting such content can help you position yourself as a thought leader and spark meaningful interactions.
  • Quality Over Quantity. Lastly, measure the quality of your LinkedIn connections. Are these individuals interacting with your posts? Do they belong to your target industry? Regularly manage your and optimize your network to ensure it aligns with your goals. If you notice many irrelevant or inactive contacts, you could benefit from learning how to remove LikedIn connections in bulk.

Making The First Move: Cold Messaging

Initiating contact can be daunting. But done right, a cold message can be your foot in the door. 

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Let’s say you’ve noticed that the person of your interest recently published an interesting article on payroll software—refer to that. 

Your message might go something like this:

Hi Tracy,

I came across your recent article on payroll software and found your insights particularly enlightening, especially the part about tax compliance. It got me thinking about the overlaps between what you’re doing in the payroll space and the time-tracking solutions my company offers. I’d love to explore potential synergies between our products. What do you think?



And if there’s no response, a polite follow-up could seal the deal:

Hi Tracy,

Just circling back on my previous message. I’d really value the chance to discuss how our solutions could complement each other—I’m looking forward to your thoughts!



By making your cold messages conversational and specific, you not only capture attention but also set the stage for a mutually beneficial dialogue.

As a matter of fact, personalized in-mails perform 15% better than the ones sent in bulk.

Common Pitfalls To Avoid

LinkedIn, like any platform, has its own set of challenges. Here are a few pitfalls to steer clear of:

  • Overselling. While it’s crucial to present your skills and achievements, overhyping can lead to skepticism. Aim for a balanced profile that speaks to your true abilities.
  • Neglecting Updates. A stale profile won’t do you any favors. Regularly update your experience, media, and especially your ‘Featured’ section to keep your profile fresh and relevant.
  • Spamming. Whether it’s connection requests or in-mails, quality always trumps quantity. Bombarding people with messages isn’t just annoying; it’s also a surefire way to tarnish your reputation.
  • Ignoring Analytics. LinkedIn provides valuable insights into who’s viewed your profile and how your posts perform. Ignoring these is a missed opportunity for refining your approach.

LinkedIn is a crucial platform freelancers and small business owners can use to create meaningful and valuable connections.

From optimizing and growing your LinkedIn profile to leveraging its features and mastering cold messaging, the steps outlined in this article will set you on a course for LinkedIn success.