When it comes to LinkedIn, many people sum it up as Facebook for professionals, a platform designed on building relationships and making business connections. And they are right! LinkedIn is an excellent tool for finding like-minded individuals with the industry or job experience that you are interested in or require.
Just like Facebook ‘friends’, or Twitter ‘followers’, growing your LinkedIn ‘connections’ (your professional network) is essential to make the most out of this-+ platform. So here are a few tips and pointers on how to create and interact with connections.
How to Connect…
- Adding Email Contacts
LinkedIn is a fairly ‘user friendly’ site. Navigate to the ‘Connections’ tab along the top of the screen. From this dropbox, select ‘Add Connections’ and you are given the option to import existing contacts from your email account. This is a quick and easy way to invite current email contacts to become LinkedIn connections.
- Search Bar
Similar to any browser search functionality, you can search for specific individuals to link with. To improve efficiency, LinkedIn have also incorporated filter criteria to narrow down the results. For example, you could search only for ‘Joe Bloggs’ in Belfast, United Kingdom so you won’t have to sift through ‘Joe Bloggs’ from all across the world.
- People You May Know
LinkedIn is excellent at peppering their site with hyperlinks to allow users to increase their connections with just one click of a button. When you have a handful of connections, and return to the home screen, the right hand side of the screen will display suggested connections with people whom you may know through a mutual existing connection.
How to Interact with Connections…
When you click on the profile of a connection there are various things that you can do to interact with them. Firstly, with a 1st degree connection, you can send them a direct message which can be typed in a similar layout to an email. This is a private conversation between 2 LinkedIn profiles.
It is important to remember that that you will also want to interact with your connections on other social media platforms. This is very easy if their profile contains hyperlinks to their accounts on Facebook, Twitter etc. There is also the ability to share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, extending the ‘reach’ of your updates to all your Twitter followers to view, in addition to LinkedIn connections.
As a LinkedIn profile is laid out as a digital CV, with an overview of skills and qualifications for connections to view, there are also hyperlinks to other profiles or businesses if they have been included in someone’s profile. This is a brilliant advantage that cannot be achieved with a paper CV. The dynamic nature of your profile quickly comes to life and you can quickly interact with new connections.
Receiving an invitation to connect from someone you don’t know can be off putting for some people. Well, LinkedIn have the perfect solution. If you would prefer, there is an option to ‘Get Introduced’ to another LinkedIn user, where you can explain why you want to be introduced before becoming connected.
Once you get started on LinkedIn, there is a whole world of connections at your fingertips. Growing your professional network can raise your profile, increase brand awareness and generate leads for your business. So get started today!
Social Bee NI offer bespoke training on LinkedIn both in person and via Skype – if you would like to know more, get in touch by emailing Louise@SocialBeeNI.com or connect on social media.