What Does 1st, 2nd And 3rd Mean On LinkedIn?

2 minute read

Have you ever wondered what those little numbers (1st, 2nd and 3rd) next to your LinkedIn connections mean? If you're new to LinkedIn or even if you've been using it for a while, understanding these connections can be a bit confusing.

LinkedIn categorizes your connections into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees. These indicators help you understand how closely you're connected to other professionals on the platform. In general, the closer the connection, the more likely you are to engage with that person.

Understanding these connections can make a big difference in how you use LinkedIn. In this blog post, we will delve deep into what 1st, 2nd and 3rd mean on LinkedIn, and how you can make the best use of it when you build your sales prospecting list. 

What does 1st mean on LinkedIn?

When you see a "1st" next to someone’s name on your LinkedIn feed, it means this person is a direct connection of yours. You have either sent them a connection request that they accepted, or they sent you one that you accepted. In other words, you are directly linked to this person.

What Does 1st Mean On LinkedIn?

Having a 1st degree connection means you can interact with this person directly. You can send messages, share updates, endorse skills, and see their full profile. 

This is the closest level of connection on LinkedIn and often comprises colleagues, friends, and close professional contacts. If you're looking to leverage your network for job opportunities or introductions, your 1st degree connections are your go-to people.

What does 2nd mean on LinkedIn?

Now, what does 2nd mean on LinkedIn? A "2nd" next to someone’s name indicates that this person is a connection of one of your 1st degree connections, but not directly connected to you. In simpler terms, they are a friend of a friend.

What Does 1st Mean On LinkedIn?

Second-degree connections open up a wider network for you. Although you can't message them directly unless you have LinkedIn InMail, you can send them a connection request. 

Mentioning your mutual connection can also make it easier to establish a direct connection. This group is crucial for outreach and business development since these people are one step removed and more likely to accept your connection request.

What does 3rd mean on LinkedIn?

When you encounter a "3rd" next to someone’s name, it signifies that this person is connected to one of your 2nd degree connections. Essentially, this person is two steps away from you within the LinkedIn network. They are a friend of a friend of a friend.

What Does 1st Mean On LinkedIn?

Connecting with 3rd degree connections can be a bit more challenging. You often can't send messages unless you have LinkedIn InMail, and sending a connection request without a mutual connection can be harder to get accepted. 

However, this group can still offer valuable networking opportunities, especially if you utilize introductions through your 1st and 2nd degree connections.

Now that you know what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd means on LinkedIn, you might be wondering how to effectively make use of these connections for prospecting. 

How to find and connect with 2nd and 3rd-degree connections

Whether you’re job hunting, looking to generate leads, or seeking business partners, LinkedIn prospects can be a goldmine if approached correctly.

First, start with your 1st-degree connections. These are the people you know best, and it's easiest to reach out to them for referrals or introductions. Make sure to maintain regular contact and engage with their content to keep the relationship warm. This can make it easier to ask for help when you need it.

Next, focus on your 2nd-degree connections. When reaching out to them, always mention your mutual connection to establish trust. A personalized note explaining how you know their connection and why you want to connect can go a long way. This approach can help you expand your network more effectively.

For 3rd-degree connections, a strategic approach is essential. You can join LinkedIn groups where they are active and participate in discussions to increase visibility. You can also request introductions from your mutual 1st or 2nd-degree connections. Sharing valuable content related to your industry can attract these connections to you naturally, positioning you as a thought leader in your field.

Whether it’s your 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connections—you can build your prospect list strategically using Plena using the General Search or My Connections template.

linkedin search

For example, let’s say, you want to build a list of “sales managers” in the US working in the information technology domain.

You apply the search filters on LinkedIn, and hit next in Plena.

what does 2nd mean on linkedin

Plena doesn’t just go about building the contact list but begins to read through every profile shortlisted (based on the search filters you defined) and extracts values that will be beneficial for strategically targeting when you run campaigns.The data that Plena reads and captures will also be used by AI to personalize each engagement. 

Furthermore, the bot captures over two dozen data points like industry,  systems used, social media activity, headcount of company, open jobs  etc. from different sites to determine the intent. As your list starts building in Plena, you can further toggle a few options to sharpen your list.

what does 3rd mean on linkedin
  • Only fetch new : Toggling this option ensures that the new prospects added to your list don’t overlap with your existing contacts.
  • Fetch contact info: This one will ensure that the emails are extracted for the list of prospects you’re building.
  • Fetch company details & mobile number: (These are on our roadmap for the near future – which help you build an even more detailed list which will help you filter leads for specific purposes based on the information captured)

Once the list is built, you will receive an email notification where you can download the lead list in CSV format. You can simply start running sequence based outreach campaigns using the list.

Additionally, if you’re a sales rep—you can build much more focused prospect lists by filtering and identifying high-potential leads within your extended network. On that note, if you are on the fence about whether or not to subscribe to any of the LinkedIn premium accounts, here’s some analysis we have done that might help you.

is linkedin premium worth it
Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?

The best sales reps use Sales Navigator in combination with a tool like Plena to put their efforts on autopilot so that they can focus on more important conversations at the right moments.

Leveraging LinkedIn Groups and Events

Another powerful aspect of LinkedIn for prospecting and list building is the use of LinkedIn Groups and Events. If you’re part of industry-specific LinkedIn Groups or groups related to specific interests—you’re probably sitting on a gold mine of prospects.

what does 1st mean on linkedin

However, you’ll only be able to build a list of group members where you are a member too. Once you have the list built on Plena, you can automate your engagement with these members such as liking their posts, sending DMs, and more.

For instance, let’s say you’re a RevOps agency that implements HubSpot solutions for SaaS companies in Australia. Being part of specific region based HubSpot user groups helps you connect with the right prospects.

what does 3rd mean on linkedin

With Plena, you can build a list of those people and set up outreach campaigns across channels such as LinkedIn, email, SMS and even set up automated voicemails. Similarly, if you regularly manage events on LinkedIn, you might not want to miss out on the opportunity to build a list of attendees from your LinkedIn events, and engage with them across multiple channels.

Bypassing Linkedin connection limitations

LinkedIn allows you to send around 100 connection requests per week, which is roughly 20 connections per day. Sometimes, we hit the max limits, and we might get flagged by LinkedIn.

When it happens, you need not panic. It's just time to rethink the approach. Is it really a numbers game? Or should we reach out to prospects in a very targeted, relevant and engaged manner?

Here are a few ways to pass LinkedIn connection limits:

Using LinkedIn Inmails effectively

InMails get atleast 22% higher responses compared to cold emails. However, the effectiveness of your Inmails depends on various factors such as:

  • Are your messages short and crisp?
  • Are your subject lines interesting?
  • The timing on your outreach
  • Relevance of your message
  • Relevance of your profile from a recipient standpoint, and more

And finally it comes down to how many Inmail credits you have? Are you using them wisely?

Connecting with open profiles

Open profile is a LinkedIn premium feature that allows users to message Premium members without charges, even if you are not directly connected to them. Any LinkedIn user can view the full profile of Premium members with the Open Profile feature enabled.

what does 1st mean on linkedin

If you're operating with limited Inmails, reaching out to open profiles is a great way to save your Inmail credits. You can start with identifying open profiles in your groups and events.

What to avoid when connecting with LinkedIn members

When reaching out to potential connections on LinkedIn, there are certain practices you should avoid to ensure you are building fruitful and respectful relationships.

  • Avoid generic messages
  • Don’t be overly aggressive
  • Avoid spamming
  • Respect privacy

Firstly, avoid sending generic connection requests. Personalized messages that mention a shared interest or mutual connection are much more likely to be accepted and appreciated. Secondly, do not pitch your product or services immediately after connecting. This can come off as spammy and discourage meaningful engagement.

Instead, focus on building a genuine relationship first by engaging with their content and offering value.Additionally, refrain from overloading new connections with too many messages. Being overly aggressive in your approach can be off-putting and may lead to blocked or ignored messages. Instead, take a strategic approach by spacing out your communications and offering valuable insights or suggestions that can help the other person.

Lastly, an incomplete or unprofessional LinkedIn profile can hinder your networking efforts. Ensure your profile is polished, up-to-date, and reflective of your personal brand. By steering clear of these common pitfalls, you can foster more meaningful and productive connections on LinkedIn.

Reaching out to prospects across multiple channels

While LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, it’s essential to remember that building relationships often requires multiple touch points across different channels. Just relying on LinkedIn might not be enough to develop a strong connection. Consider complementing your LinkedIn outreach with emails, phone calls, SMS, voicemails, and more, in a strategic manner.

It's best to:

  • Use LinkedIn as a starting point
  • Integrate Social Media platforms
  • Have effective email outreach strategies
  • Have Phone and Video calls as part of your outreach campaign
  • Be consistent with your follow-up

Expanding your reach across different platforms can help solidify your relationship and build trust. For example, after connecting on LinkedIn, you might send a follow-up email or schedule a call to discuss potential opportunities. These multi-channel strategies can significantly enhance your networking efforts and make your interactions more meaningful.

This is where you can truly leverage the power of Plena beyond its capability to build high intent prospect lists. Plena helps you build multi-channel outreach campaigns where you can perform a series of activities across channels such as:

what does 1st mean on linkedin

As a general principle, having multi-channel campaigns, with multiple steps in each channel, is always better for generating leads. You don’t need to utilize every channel that Plena offers, just pick the ones where your potential customers are most likely to be active and build out the campaign steps accordingly.

multichannel prospecting

Another important aspect of multi-channel outreach is staying consistent with your follow-ups. Regularly engaging with your contacts through various platforms ensures that you stay on their radar and can lead to more fruitful professional relationships. 

Whether it's liking their posts on LinkedIn, sending a quick message to check-in, or arranging a virtual coffee meeting, these small actions can add up to a stronger, more resilient network.

Back your campaigns with a strong LinkedIn presence

Having a strong LinkedIn presence is crucial for successful networking. To attract and retain valuable connections, make sure your profile is complete, professional, and reflects your personal brand. A well-crafted profile can serve as your digital business card, making a positive first impression on potential connections. But, there’s more to it than that.

Here's a checklist worth remembering:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
  • Be consistent with your content sharing
  • Engage with your network for you to get engagement
  • Showcase your campaigns
  • Analyze your performance, fix gaps and iterate

In addition to the basic hygiene of having a focused LinkedIn profile, sharing insightful articles, commenting on the posts of industry leaders, peers, and participating in discussions can further bolster your professional image and create engagement opportunities.

You want your prospects to know you and have recall. The more active you’re on LinkedIn and the more you interact, the more prospects are likely to accept your connection requests and build conversations with you.

However good your pitch is, however well thought-out your campaigns are—there’s no replacement for trust and recognition.

Once connected with your prospects, communicate with them regularly. Engage with their content by liking, commenting, and sharing. This interaction shows that you value their insights and are interested in maintaining a professional relationship.

When sending messages, keep them concise and to the point. Respect your contact's time and make your requests clear and straightforward. Whether you're asking for advice, seeking an introduction, or exploring collaboration opportunities, being respectful and professional in your communication goes a long way.

Summing up…

Your 1st-degree connections are your closest contacts, allowing for direct communication and robust networking opportunities. Your 2nd-degree connections are one step removed but can be easily integrated into your network with personalized connection requests and engagement. 

And your 3rd-degree connections, although more distant, can still provide valuable networking opportunities through strategic approaches such as group participation, mutual introductions, and thought leadership.

By focusing on these different degrees of connections, you can not only build a well-rounded and effective professional network on LinkedIn, but also build relationships with them across multiple channels using tools like Plena.

Want to experience the power of building high intent lists on LinkedIn and reach out to them across channels? Sign up for Plena today.


How to Cancel Connection Requests on LinkedIn?
Go to the Sent tab under Manage invitations. You'll see a list of invitations you've sent to People, Pages, and Events that are still waiting for a response. Click Withdraw next to a recipient's name. In the pop-up that appears, confirm your decision.

Do LinkedIn Connection Requests Expire?

It's not every common. Invitations sent to existing LinkedIn members and people who aren't LinkedIn members expire after six months. This allows LinkedIn to occasionally remove old invitations from the database for email addresses that don't appear to be active. Because, it's not a common occurrence, LinkedIn sends you two reminders (before the expiry of invitation) letting you know your recipient hasn't yet responded.

How Many LinkedIn Connections are Normal?

More than 50% of LinkedIn users have less than 500 connections, about 27% have between 500–999, and about 12% have between 1000–1999. The ones that have 2000+ connections are less than 3% on average.

Each day without Plena = Lost Sales

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