Megan Redzia - 05/01/2014
Picture yourself walking into a networking event or tradeshow surrounded by prospects, peers and potential colleagues. Likely, your objective is to shake hands with and collect business cards from as many qualified connections as possible.Your philosophy on LinkedIn should be similar. The greater number of strategic connections you form, the deeper your pool for developing new business relationships will become.
Follow these simple tips to build your LinkedIn network and maximize the platform so you connect with more qualified professionals:
- Personalize Your Connection Requests – Avoid using the LinkedIn default connection request. Take the time to personalize each request with a reminder of how the person knows you or explain why you would like to connect with him/her. The latter is important when you are trying to connect with professionals you have not yet interacted with. Maybe you read one of their blogs or listened to them speak at a professional event. If you go the extra mile to let the person know how you found him/her, chances are your request will be accepted. Make sure to keep your personalized message succinct. Here are a couple of examples:”Hello Robert! I really enjoyed your keynote address at the digital marketing conference on Wednesday. Hoping we can connect here! Thanks, Jessica.””Hi Tom, I liked your insight on how public relations enhances a company’s search engine results in your last blog post. I’d love the opportunity to connect with you and share some ideas. Thanks! Brittany.”
- Invite Your Email Contacts – To identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who you email regularly, click the “Add Connections” icon in the top right of your homepage, import your contacts, then invite them to connect.
- Search for People You Know – Use the LinkedIn “People You May Know” section and visit your Alumni page connect with classmates. You can also do an Advanced People Search to find professionals by keyword.
- Find People by Company – Conduct a search under the “Companies” tab to find contacts at the companies with which you are trying to establish a connection.
- Consistently Update Your Status – 40% of LinkedIn members visit the website daily. Often, these members are seeing updates from the same few connections every time they log in. These active LinkedIn members are getting more visibility because their content appears in the home feed of connections. By committing 10-15 minutes per day to engaging on the platform, you can influence your connections with your content as well. Here are a few techniques you can use for your LinkedIn status updates to help you gain the maximum possible exposure:
- Post relevant content – This should be a combination of content directly related to your company and third-party reputable information.
- Pose a question – Encourage interaction by asking a question around a current industry trend.
- Use the share feature – Sharing articles and information from within your network can help your connections and allows your name to appear in their newsfeed on a regular basis.
- Participate in Groups – By joining prominent industry, professional and skill-set based groups, you can expand your network and make valuable connections. Find groups that will help you accomplish your goals or communicate with others who will help you do so. Participating in group discussions is also a great way to gain credibility as a professional who is well-versed and active within their industry.
- Measure Your Growth – It’s important to measure your success or setbacks on LinkedIn to gauge your networking efforts.Check how many people are reading your status updates to see if you are hitting the mark with your content development. You should also monitor how many people are inviting you to connect after you post specific status updates or interact in a group.
Your LinkedIn network can be an invaluable tool if you dedicate time to strategically expanding it. All of the networking tactics that I’ve mentioned can be accessed with a free LinkedIn account. However, once you have leveraged these techniques and are looking to take your networking to the next level, you may want to consider upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium membership.
Premium account holders can send InMails to reach anyone on LinkedIn, access advanced search options, and see information about everyone who’s viewed their profile. Learn more about these features, here.
For more tips or questions on growing your LinkedIn connections, email me at Mredzia@3epr.com. Happy networking!