Your LinkedIn professional network can help you unlock new opportunities. Through this valuable resource, you are catapulted into the job market; just one connection away from your next employer, collaborator, or entrepreneurial muse.
Building and fostering these professional relationships cannot be neglected, and it seems you agree. LinkedIn reported a 55% increase in conversations among connections on LinkedIn over the past year. This trend is expected to continue as people maintain their focus on reconnecting and engaging with people in their existing network.
Perhaps the pandemic and its resulting job insecurity have reinforced the idea that every connection has the potential to impact your professional life positively, whether that’s a job recommendation, an introduction, or career advice.
So how do you successfully network on LinkedIn, and how do you ensure that those connections are real, meaningful, and usable?
Here are some tips on how to network successfully on LinkedIn.
Connect with people you know on LinkedIn.
Possibly the most important piece of advice for networking on LinkedIn is to make sure you’re connected with people you know, including friends, family, and colleagues.
These people are those who know you best, can speak to your work ethic, and endorse you as an individual.
- Check out the “People You May Know” feature found under the “My Network” tab.
- This catalogue is an easy way to find and connect with people who went to the same school as you, who work in similar roles or industries and are based in the same city.
Reconnect with contacts you have lost touch with.
Reaching out to those who you may have not spoken to for a while may be uncomfortable, but there are ways you can break the ice.
A brief message on LinkedIn acknowledging the time gap is a good way to reach out without appearing over-familiar. Another option is to like or comment on one of their posts. Engaging with content is a brilliant way to re-connect and make small steps toward a conversation.
Maintaining relationships is a critical component of networking. It is important that you make time to stay in touch with your close contacts.
- If you feel like you may struggle, you could consider adding a calendar reminder every six weeks or so to check-in and ask what they’re working on.
- A congratulatory message on birthdays or as a response to a recent achievement is a great way to maintain regular, consistent, and genuine contact.
Share your insights and stories.
A great way to network on LinkedIn is by sharing your experiences and ideas. Try to post on a regular basis and include relevant hashtags on your content which will extend reach beyond your first-degree connections. If you’re job seeking, this could prompt hiring managers or other professionals to reach out to you directly.
- Consider re-sharing a connection’s LinkedIn post with one or two of your key takeaways.
- Kick start a conversation by using your own experience to help others or those who need advice.
- Create a dialogue by asking your network for their tips too. All this has the potential to create a social collaborative exchange on your feed.
- Run a poll to get insights and perspectives from your network and use responses to start up a conversation.
Ask your network for help.
By connecting with people you know on LinkedIn, you’ll see more relevant conversations in your feed. You will also have an insight into your connections’ professional networks; ones that you may not have known about.
- Review conversations to see if your network can help you.
- Asking your connections to make introductions is a great way to expand your digital network.
- Connect with those you know, and try to re-establish contact with lost connections.
- Share stories and add meaningful insight to conversations.
- Use hashtags to extend your reach further than your first-degree connections
- Ask your network for help and introductions.
LinkedIn is a huge network and platform. Its size and reach can seem daunting especially if you are new to the job market or are less familiar with social platforms.
If you need advice on how to find your way around LinkedIn, help with your CV or the interview process, then head over to the Employee Advice pages of our blog.
To save you searching for specific LinkedIn advice, here are some quick links for you.