Want to create an expansive and powerful network? We asked LinkedIn’s power users for their best tips.
The rules of engagement on LinkedIn are fairly clear: first and foremost¸ you should only connect with people you actually know. Yet millions of people—yes¸ we’re looking at you—are broadening their networks by connecting to people with whom they’ve never even had a discussion.
The rules aren’t black and white¸ but if you want to expand your LinkedIn database make sure to choose the right shade of grey. “One major pet peeve of mine when it comes to LinkedIn requests is when people who don’t know you say you’re a ‘friend¸’ or that you have done business with them at their current company¸” says social media strategist Scott Swanay. “First of all¸ that’s not true¸ and second of all¸ it’s just lazy on their part—those are generally requests that I’ll ignore.”
So what is the master networker’s secret sauce? How do you connect with people whose profile interests you if you have never interacted with them before? I posed that question on LinkedIn and received some great insights from experts¸ CEOs¸ and power users. The result? If you’re willing to put in a little effort¸ add value¸ and share your expertise¸ you too can reap the benefits of an expansive network.
Begin by reviewing your profile to make sure it’s 100 percent complete¸ compelling¸ and includes a professional headshot. Those are the basics¸ but according to veritable LinkedIn black-belt Mark Amtower it’s important that your profile is not only professional¸ but interesting. “This is your first impression; it’s where people will decide to connect¸ read more¸ or simply move on.” Amtower says. “Bare-bones profiles indicate people who do only the minimum required.” Amtower goes on to suggest that your profile should emphasize an area of expertise. “You need to strive to be a subject matter expert in your chosen niche if you are going to truly stand out.”
In addition to being an active group member¸ bring your expertise to the Questions and Answers section on the site. “Most of the 500-plus connections I have on LinkedIn were requested by the other party and came as the result of my responding to queries in the ‘Answers’ feature or through my volunteer work as a SCORE and Micro Mentor adviser on federal government contracting¸” says Kenneth Larson. “The manner in which a response is worded conveys personal expression¸ opinion¸ and insight to others who may wish to team¸ counter with a disagreement or pass on your reference to others; all healthy forms of communication¸” he adds.
Now that you have established yourself as an expert who values contribution and stimulating dialogue¸ you are ready to issue invitations to connect to like-minded individuals. Here are some more tips from some of LinkedIn’s power connectors.
Read more: Inc.
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