LinkedIn is an incredible networking tool you can use to connect with colleagues, others in your industry, potential employees and even customers. But, to get the most out of this social network you need to know how to use it to network and how to leverage all its features to build connections and foster relationships.
Update your List of Connections
To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to keep things like your profile and list of connections current. After you meet someone, connect on LinkedIn and send him a quick note reminding him of who you are.
Some people like to meet new people on LinkedIn by connecting with them and then sending emails to introduce themselves. This approach can work, but connecting with people you have already met in real life is a good way to strengthen relationships and make your connections more valuable.
Tell People you are on LinkedIn
You can also encourage people to connect with you by promoting your profile page. When people know you are on the site they will be much more likely to search you out and connect. You can use your website, blog, email signature and even business card to tell people you use LinkedIn. Be sure to set up a custom URL so it is branded and is easier for people to remember and search for.
Share Content and Interact with Posts from Others
Sharing links to content, from your own site or others, is a great way to get conversations started which can help you build relationships. Of course, it can also help you promote your own business and brand yourself so people know what you do.
LinkedIn has recently made it possible for everyone with a profile to publish content directly to the site. Doing this regularly will help you build your reputation and spark conversations with others. For example, you could write a blog post and share it with your connections, asking for their input.
Join and Participate in Groups
LinkedIn groups are a great place for people with common interests, backgrounds, jobs and talents to meet. They are also a great place to meet potential customers. Join groups and then actively participate by posting content, joining conversations and inviting others to join. You can also start your own group, which can help you get talking with other people and make new connections.
Ask Questions and Offer Input
People love to give advice and help their connections, so give your contacts a chance to do this by asking questions. You can ask general questions about your industry or more specific, technical questions. The idea is to get people talking and conversing with you and others.
Also keep an eye out for people who post questions as status updates or in groups and respond when you have something to offer.
Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out
LinkedIn is all about networking, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections just to say “hello,” ask a question or ask for specific advice. The heart of networking lies in reaching out and conversing with people, keeping in touch and talking about current projects and industry trends. LinkedIn makes this easy because you can use it to send emails or private messages to your contacts.
LinkedIn is a very valuable networking tool that can help you build your business, find top-notch employees to add to your team and even attract customers. Networking is a continual process, but when you get in the habit of using LinkedIn regularly you’ll reap the benefits of being a pro networker.