Your Guide to Building a Powerful Professional Network on LinkedIn
Every entrepreneur and small business owner knows the power of a strong professional network. The right connections can offer access to new opportunities, help you grow your company, introduce you to new leads, keep you up-to-date on the latest in your industry and so much more.
In the modern business world, there are more ways than ever to expand your network. Networking events and coworking spaces are both great ways to meet new contacts. You can even leverage your hobbies to meet fellow professionals. But, not all forms of networking require meeting in-person.
LinkedIn makes it easy to grow your professional network from wherever you have internet access. When used strategically, this social networking tool can be an incredibly effective way to meet new people and build mutually beneficial relationships. Here's how to get the most out of the platform, including networking tips you can use today.
Create a LinkedIn profile that stands out
The first thing a potential LinkedIn connection sees is your profile, including your photo and summary. Choose a professional photo and craft three to five short paragraphs for the summary section of your profile.
Make the most of the space by using short, succinct sentences. Write in the first person, and don’t shy away from showing your personality (but be sure to keep it professional).
Send personalized connection requests
Now that you have the perfect profile, it’s time to connect with other LinkedIn users. But, don’t blindly send dozens of connection requests out. Any user who’s been on LinkedIn for a while is familiar with the standard and impersonal connection request message: “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Even if you already know someone professionally, always include a personalized note with your connection request. This step becomes even more important when you’re reaching out to someone you haven’t yet met or been introduced to.
LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with people you might like to work with in the future, so let potential contacts know why you’d like to connect. This will help you establish a deeper relationship, and high-quality relationships are critical for successful networking.
Interact with your LinkedIn network
Once you’re officially connected to someone, there’s still more work to be done. To continue building relationships, interact with your LinkedIn network regularly. Comment on posts, “like” content that connections share, share their content and send out the occasional message to check-in and say hello.
You can even share your own original content. LinkedIn has an excellent publishing platform and tool that allows users to easily publish thought leadership articles directly on LinkedIn, much like a blog.
Join LinkedIn groups in your industry
LinkedIn groups are another effective way to make new professional connections within your industry.
There are thousands of groups to join, so search for active groups where you can answer questions and contribute to discussions. This will get your profile in front of more users, who will see your thoughtful responses and helpful answers. With any luck, they’ll click on your profile to learn more about you and connect.
Note that this tactic only works when you are committed to being a valuable member of the group. If your main motivation is selling your products and services, other users will steer clear.
When you approach LinkedIn with the goal of providing mutual value to your connections, your network will grow dramatically. And if you’re looking for other ways to grow your professional network, Intelligent Office can help. Learn more about our virtual offices, where professionals like you get flexible access to the spaces and support they need to grow their businesses.