4 Ways To Effectively Network On LinkedIn
Years ago, networking lunches or meetings were the most popular way to meet professionals.
But they sometimes felt like speed dating. You talked for a minute or two, exchanged cards and then went to meet other attendees.
It was hard to get to know people or share your expertise in such a short period of time.
Luckily, we’ve evolved and now LinkedIn is the main resource for professional networking.
This powerful platform allows you to connect with people, join similar interest groups, and position yourself as a thought leader to show companies and recruiters how valuable you are.
After you’ve made sure your profile is optimized and complete, it’s time to get active and get busy networking. Here are four secrets you need to know to unleash the power of your LinkedIn network.
1. Connect with people you admire
LinkedIn gives you the ability to connect with more people, more quickly than you would be able to in person. So take advantage! Don’t be afraid to connect with industry leaders, key decision makers, or CEOs. Connect with the people you admire.
Use the LinkedIn advanced search function to look for people in careers you want to pursue. Let’s say you want your next position to be Director of Digital Marketing. Search for people that are already in that field and connect. Don’t be intimidated. The worst that can happen is you’ll get ignored. The best that can happen is a new, powerful connection.
2. Seek out informational interviews
If you want to know how someone landed the job you want, just ask. Seeking out informational interviews is a powerful way to build a network and learn about available opportunities you may have never considered.
Even in a digital space, it can be intimidating to connect with people you don’t know, so start with the people you do know by looking at their connections. Find others that you would like to meet and ask your connections for an introduction. Once you have an introduction, ask for 5-10 minutes of their time. Tell them you would love to learn more about their career path.
Simply expressing a desire to learn more about their career path, company or current position is an easy way to start the conversation with someone new. The goal is to have valuable conversations with others and to build relationships that will propel your career.
3. Join relevant groups
Whether it’s a group centered around an industry, profession, or hobby, joining a group gives you access to a new pool of people to network with. Finding someone you want to connect with in a group can make the initial introduction less intimidating since you both share a common interest.
However, simply joining a group and not doing anything won’t be very productive. It’s so important to be active. Treat LinkedIn groups like Facebook groups. Use it as a place to ask and answer questions, share your own posts, and interact with other group member’s posts. Just don’t forget to keep everything professional and business related.
Getting involved in company groups is also valuable. It’s where you can get to know employees, understand what the company values, what they’re doing and get information on job opportunities. Engaging with a company shows you’re interested in what they do and that you want to be a part of their community.
4. Be a thought leader
The conversations you have on LinkedIn, whether it’s in a group, with a company, or on your profile, provides you with the opportunity to brand yourself as a thought leader. You want to show that you’re the go-to expert in your area of expertise.
How do you show yourself as a thought leader?
Share insights about the industry and ask for other people’s thoughts and feedback. Talk about where you see the industry going or how it’s evolving with new technologies. Ask questions about the real issues businesses, companies, and industries are facing or trying to solve. Offer helpful tips and career advice to others when asked. Be a valuable resource for people.
In this new era of networking, your LinkedIn profile is like your business card. It’s a fabulous tool, but it can’t do the networking on its own. If you aren’t actively engaging and putting yourself in front of industry leaders, recruiters, and companies they won’t ever get to know you as a person. Together, your profile and activity on LinkedIn establish your credibility, value, and skills.