Connecting on Linkedin. Is it worth it?

Why Do You Need to Even be on LinkedIn?

Why bother even spending time on LinkedIn, right? You certainly have enough to do in your business let alone add another social media platform to your already busy schedule. But outside of its social media aspect that truly is perfect for finding and posting jobs, the real value in being active on LinkedIn lies in the ability to find and foster personal, as well as professional, relationships. Whether you want to find someone with shared interests or based on things such as career history or educational background, a quick search is all it takes.

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Who Do You Want to Meet?

You can quickly find potential affiliates, business prospects, employees and strategic partners via keyword searches for specific skills or expertise. Some are easy to connect with (people to whom you are related as second or third degree contact, for instance) and others require some proof of prior connection, such as their email address. It all depends on each individual’s privacy controls.

A savvy entrepreneur will use his or her LinkedIn contacts to be introduced to people they would like to meet. Let’s say your company is looking for funding for a new project. You may want to search for people using the keyword phrase “venture capitalist” to produce a list of those who have expertise in this area. Then see if any of your current contacts are associated with any of the people on the list. If so, ask them to make a connection for you (think of this as being at a virtual business networking event and seeing someone across the room whom you’d like to meet).

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If you already have the name of someone you’d like to meet, such as a mover and shaker in your industry, all you need to do is search and then send an invitation to connect, if allowed through the person’s privacy settings. Why not try it? The worst thing that can happen is to be ignored – not fun, but certainly not the end of the world! Or you can try out a Premium LinkedIn subscription for a month which allows you access to email a certain number of people cold. If you reaching out to someone cold, though, make sure it is ALL about them, what you might have in common, and what you can do for their business, job search or favorite charity. Just like you were introducing yourself to someone cold at a live networking event, keep your expectations in line, and showcase your confidence and expertise- in a good way! And NEVER send out a blanket promotional email to each of your connections- you don’t ever want to risk your integrity and be seen as that icky, sleezy, salesy type- the kiss of online death!

Making Personal Connections

No matter what your end goal may be, making a personal connection with people on LinkedIn can be incredibly valuable to your business. LinkedIn makes it easy to stay up-to-date with all your connections. You’ll often receive notifications of when someone is celebrating a work anniversary, gets a promotion or lands a new job – which gives you an opportunity to create another touchpoint-a personal note of congratulations or a birthday greeting. The same type of messages provide information on your network’s new connections – which could be a great way for you to find your own new connections, too.

Scroll through the updates on your home page and see if you can offer help, such as sharing a job posting or providing a needed resource. See an update or a published article that you enjoyed reading? It’s always appreciated when you like, comment on or share the post.
All these little special touches help foster a personal relationship with people you may never meet in person! Keep it going and you’ll soon grow your network of personal and professional contacts by leaps and bounds. Need more ideas on how to leverage your LinkedIn presence? Join our community.

It’s not hard at all to maximize your presence on LinkedIn if you know the key strategies to put in place. Why not stay ahead of your competition if you can? Plus, you never know what new opportunities might unfold with more awareness and visibility on the social platform with the most educated, influential and motivated members on the web!

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