With the world tipped upside down last year, we are all finding a new way to communicate online. Lunch meetings may be a thing of the past for now, but you can still thoughtfully build and maintain your professional relationships virtually via LinkedIn.
If you aren’t familiar with LinkedIn, you need to get familiar with LinkedIn. It is a great platform to network with like-minded professionals in your industry. Almost 80% of professionals consider networking to be important to new job opportunities and career success.
Here are some best practices, and insights for you to consider when looking to grow your network online.
IT’S NEVER A NUMBER GAME
The number of connections you have doesn’t mean anything if the quality of your connections mean nothing. Who you have in your network is more important than how many connections you have, make sure you think about who you reach out to with connection requests.
If you are looking to build a network you can rely on for future connections, think about the people you already know and trust. Former and current employees, friends and family, local businesses you have already had communications with, there are plenty of people to connect with, without connecting with random people just to increase your numbers.
However, if you wish to connect with someone you don’t already know, try to build a repour with them first. Sending empty requests doesn’t only reflect poorly on you it also annoying to the person receiving the request.
Here are our tips on how to build a professional network on LinkedIn.
So, how do you connect with new people on LinkedIn that will get you the results you want?
When reaching out to connect with someone on LinkedIn, always tailor your opening message to that individual. Never use the same message, over and over, people see straight through it and your initial chance of engagement has nose-dived. Make sure you share a personalised message communicating why you would like to connect. If it’s someone you know but haven’t spoken in a while jog their memory with how you met, reinforce a mutual interest, this will help kickstart your conversation.
Other great ways to reach out to new connections is through your main feed. Engage with like-minded people who are posting articles that trigger your interest. Not only is it easy to comment on their posts, but it drives exposure to your profile too. After having a discussion, you can send a connection request with a brief note to build your relationship further.
BUILDING YOUR NETWORK
Whether it’s in your professional or personal life, we have all met people through a friend. It’s the same with LinkedIn, learn to lean on connections you already have to introduce to you someone within their network. Send them a message outlining why you’d like to be introduced to them and the value you can add to their network – you never know they might know more people they can introduce you to!
Be open to returning the favour, if you know people your connection would find value in – introduce them. Thank your contact for taking the time to make an introduction for you and offer to do the same in the future.
KEEP YOUR MOMENTUM
Adding a contact on LinkedIn is just the beginning of your professional relationship. Like everything in life, your relationship should grow and be nurtured over time.
Spark interest by sharing an article that would be of value to your contacts, this is an easy way to strike up a new conversation and increasing your engagement. Other ways to connect with your contacts could be through a group message, if you know multiple people who share the same interests this is a great way to start a conversation.
Your LinkedIn connections are just one way you can engage with other people, don’t forget to get join Groups and virtual events to meet people and send message requests to start conversations with people outside your network.
Your professional network can have a huge impact on your professional life. Remember though, it’s not a numbers game. Be selective with your connections and make sure they reflect your professional goals. By doing this, you will create a network that is useful and effective in supporting your career goals.