With over 200 million users, LinkedIn presents an amazing opportunity for networking and managing professional relationships. Below are 8 ways you can use LinkedIn to be a more effective network professionally.
Connect with people you want to stay in touch with
LinkedIn is a great way to keep track of all the people you know. It serves as a “virtual rolodex” that you can reference back to to be reminded of who you know. It’s valuable to keep track of all the people you meet because you never know where someone will be or where you will be. Just because there’s not an opportunity to work together now, doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future.
Have quality connections
Quality is a more important than quantity when it comes to measuring the strength of your LinkedIn network. I don’t recommend adding people you don’t know because if you can’t ask them for an introduction or introduce someone you trust to them, then there’s not much benefit. It looks good to have over 500 connections, but after 500, the value of additional contacts starts diminishing.
Ask for introductions
Getting introductions is one of the most effective ways to make new professional contacts. I take time to figure out what demographics of people I need to connect with in order to improve my career and business. I then identify specific people within those demographics, find them on LinkedIn and see if I share any connections. I then send a brief e-mail to the shared connection asking to be introduced.
Tag your connections
Add tags to your connections based on role, industry, how you know them, etc. to make it easier to find relevant people when needed. For example, if one of your contacts is looking to hire a designer, you can search designer and and then offer relevant introductions.
Share great content
Consistency and helpfulness are essential ingredients of building strong professional relationships. Sharing great content accomplishes both of those. The best content is valuable to your audience and displays your expertise. Regularly share relevant content to stay in touch and be helpful to your network.
Interact with content your network shares
Examples of interacting with content includes commenting on articles they share, endosing their skills, and “liking” their updates. Engaging with your connections’ content accomplishes two important things. First, it keeps you on their radar. Many people have a lot of connections and are very busy so it can be easy for them to forget about you. You want to have some form of engagement people on a regular basis. Second, when you’re interact, you’re promoting them by sharing it with your network and making their content look engaging. Promotion is a great way to be helpful, and being helpful is a great way to network.
Have a strong profile
You shhould have a strong LinkedIn profile without overwhelming. You want to make it easy for people to learn about you, without it taking longer than a couple minutes. List your relevant professional experience and a brief bio. Include links to your other social media profiles and relevant web pages to make it easy for people to learn more about you if they desire. Having a profile that includes relevant keywords also makes you more likely to appear in search.
Send personalized connection requests
When adding someone as a new connection, always add a personalized message. Reference something from your most recent interaction. It can be easy for people who meet a lot of people to forget if they know you, and may decide to deny your request. In addition, connection request messages are a great opportunity to add personality to your interaction.