There are many ways to connect with others, but one platform stands above the others. With almost 700 million users, LinkedIn is the largest social networking platform today. But how to use it effectively in order to expand your network? Follow these seven tips to utilize your LinkedIn profile and master online networking.
1. Identify your objectives
Whether you are looking to start a business, switch career, or access useful resources, make sure you are clear on your goals and set yourself some realistic expectations. You will hardly get a hold of the CEO of Google, but you might ask someone you know, who already works there, to put you in touch. Warm introductions are the best method to fast-forward, but make sure to clarify your objectives before you reach out to someone, to avoid embarrassing the person who introduced you.
2. Send a brief intro message
For the LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, the goal is to have three billion people sign up on LinkedIn (Wired), and with that number of users, you need to make sure your profile and first impression truly stand out. Don’t just send a request to connect, address them by their name, and explain why you want to connect.
3. Personalize the invite
If you want to boost your number of connections, do your homework. Research some articles the person has written, examine their profile, look for the latest trends in their field. It might be very time-consuming, but if you show that you are truly interested in them, they are more likely to accept.
4. Quality over quantity
Be selective with the people you contact. Don’t write to anyone. It is tempting to copy-paste the same message over and over again, but that will bring you zero results. If you want to be efficient with your online networking, craft, and edit the number of people you want to connect with and have a clear plan of what you want from them before you take action.
5. Take the edge off
If you tend to be nervous when writing an email or get stuck with crafting an intro message, enjoy that you don’t have to face the stranger face-to-face. Watch a funny video or do some meditation exercise before you reach out to someone new. Benefit from #wfh and find what puts you at ease.
6. Follow up
If you’d gone to an event, you would have contacted the people you got business cards from in the next couple of days. With networking online it is different...
If they accept your invitation, say thanks and suggest the next steps (in a few lines)
If they don’t respond, chaise up after a week with a one-liner showing you understand that they are extremely busy but that you really want to connect (and re-emphasize WHY)
If they decline, try another person within the same company or with a similar job title
7. Offer a counter value
Always ask what you can do for the other party. In the conversation, briefly list your skills and ask whether there is any way in which you could help them. People will value this gesture and are more likely to react. And who knows, you might even get involved in a great new collaboration.
Networking is a fantastic way to boost your business or elevate your career. Now that most F2F networking events are postponed, why not benefit from modern technology and create valuable connections online? If you follow these seven rules, it will be a piece of cake (oh yes, and you can also enjoy that whilst networking remotely, nobody is watching!). What do you say, is it time to update your LinkedIn profile?
Podcast: Women at Work
Article: the Glitter Guide