Networking…it’s not just for cocktail parties anymore. Whether you love it or loathe it, you should not leave social networking out of your networking plans. Why? You can’t be everywhere all the time, but your social media presence can. Here are some simple ways to leverage the business site LinkedIn to build your network:
Use LinkedIn for Follow Up
What do you do after you meet someone in the community or at a networking event? Hopefully, you follow up. Include LinkedIn as part of your routine. Ask people you meet if it would be okay to follow-up. Consider following up with a simple thank you note by email and then following up later on LinkedIn. The time delay helps you stay in touch with your contacts in a gentle, “non-pushy” way.
Use LinkedIn to Reconnect
It is important to stay in touch with our contacts, but it’s easier said that done. Use LinkedIn to reconnect with old friends or colleagues if you’ve lost touch. Already connected? Visit their profile and see if they’ve changed jobs, posted an article, or connected with a mutual friend. Use that information as a reason to reconnect through LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn to Join Communities
Want to connect with an even larger community? Join a group on LinkedIn or follow a topic. There are LinkedIn for companies, associations, professions and much more. Joining a group lets you see what others are talking about in areas that interest you. You can also post questions, get answers and connect with people you would not have met otherwise.
And, don’t forget…
Use Your Manners on LinkedIn
The best relationships are personal ones. Don’t start on the wrong foot by sending a generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message. Write a personal note that reminds new contacts how you know each or sends greetings to old contacts. A little bit of good manners goes a long way.
LinkedIn is a great addition to your networking efforts. LinkedIn won’t ever replace in person networking, but if you use it appropriately, you can generate more personal networking because of it. Happy connecting.