LinkedIn and Networking go together like tea and cake.
When it comes to business, you can’t beat meeting and talking to your latest contact face to face. But now you can maintain that connection online. Over the years, our love affair with social media has infiltrated our lives more and more. It’s not only Facebook and Twitter that demand our attention anymore, LinkedIn has gradually made networking on a national and global scale much easier and, in many ways, so much more effective.
If you’ve never heard of it, think of LinkedIn like Facebook, but purely for your working life. You have a profile, but instead of ‘friends’ you have ‘connections’. These can be people you’ve worked with in the past, people you’ve done business with as well as friends and family. The difference is the focus is much more on business, rather than pictures of cats.
Think back to a simpler age when you went to conferences, events or business expos. What did you do with all of those business cards that you picked up? Be honest. Did you pop them in a box, a drawer or your nearest ‘rolodex’ and forget about them? If you’re anything like me, you probably did. You can tell how far we’ve come when it comes to business networking that even the term ‘rolodex’ feels out-dated. With the emergence of LinkedIn, you need to take that business card and I would recommend that you now try and connect with those same people on LinkedIn. Why? Well, why not?
Remember, you went to that networking meeting, exhibition or conference to make connections. You endured those seemingly endless PowerPoint presentations and monotonous car journeys just to build your network of contacts so you could improve the reach of your company and to instigate some new leads. LinkedIn can help you to stay in touch with those connections in a much more modern, efficient, immediate and friendly way.
4 changes you can make to your LinkedIn Profile.
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, then you’ll know how powerful it can be, but here are four quick changes you can make to optimise your profile and get the most out of networking, virtual-style.
- Profile picture – Your chance to make the right first impression is your profile image. It needs to look clean and professional. It should be a recent photo that people will recognise and you need it to be high quality. This might be the time to invest in some professional head shots.
- Headline – This is the area where you need to list your roles. For example, personally, I use Social Media Marketing | Social Media Training. These are the search terms that I want to be found for.
- Connect-ability – How easy is it for people to connect with you on LinkedIn? In my background summary section my first few lines say … “Want to contact me? Use email address email@example.com” To connect with someone you need to have either worked with them in the past, done business together or been to school / college / university with them. So if you’ve only just met them at a networking meeting it becomes difficult to send them a connection request, unless you have their email address. Adding your email address into your background summary can remove that barrier. I also use the business cards I have collected at networking meetings to make a connection request using THEIR email address. LinkedIn also has the opportunity to upload your email contacts list and match it to users already on the system. You can also invite those not yet registered to join LinkedIn, expanding your portfolio of contacts even further.
- Personalise – Always personalise the connection request. Don’t be tempted to send LinkedIn’s standard automated connection request. It’s impersonal and cold. Always personalise the message and talk about where and when you met or alternatively connections that you may have in common.
Networking face-to-face still has its place, but utilising LinkedIn also gives you the option to combine the two types of networking together. They can be an incredibly powerful partnership. Let’s connect.
Does your LinkedIn profile need a make over? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.