If you want your career to keep moving forward, the support of your professional contacts is essential. To achieve this, you have a tool at your fingertips that not only serves as a showcase for your work, but also helps with your networking strategy.
With more than 28 million users in the UK, LinkedIn is one of the best online tools to work your network of contacts. In addition to building a strong LinkedIn profile, you can also use it to share your work, interact with like-minded professionals and find a new job. Here are our tips for using this social media platform to create a solid network of contacts.
1. Personalise your invitation to connect
It’s pretty underwhelming to receive a generic invitation to connect, yet this is one of the most common mistakes we make on LinkedIn. Take advantage of the optional message to explain why you want a particular person to be part of your network. If you don’t know this individual personally, consider this message as the starting point of your professional relationship.
If your invitation request is accepted, try to initiate an interesting conversation about a work-related topic that you have in common with your new connection.
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2. Choose your connections wisely
When managing your activity on LinkedIn, it is important to take into account a defined criteria of contacts and have an objective. When selecting connections, ensure that these individuals can help you achieve your professional goals. So, before sending out any invitations, analyse what kind of professionals you would like to connect with and what circles you want to reach to gain visibility.
This will define the quality of contacts in your network. It should be made up of professionals who can help you to achieve your goals, with whom you share interests and can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
One extra tip? Carefully consider who you send invitations to, but don’t forget to look at their connections too, that is, second level contacts.
LinkedIn allows you to filter your connection search according to:
- Job type
- Educational background
- Skills and aptitudes similar to your own
3. Publish and share content
Another way to grow your network is to increase your visibility by regularly publishing and sharing content that may interest your connections. So, what is the best way to do this?
Post articles from your blog, your portfolio or any news that you consider relevant. LinkedIn is an excellent content dissemination tool capable of reaching professionals who are not yet a part of your contact list. Of course, LinkedIn is not Twitter, nor is it Facebook. Avoid posting memes and uploading holiday photos.
Don’t bombard your contacts either. Only publish content that adds value to your profile and stick to a publishing schedule. There is also a fine line between selecting content that is relevant—and content that is not. Think carefully about what you publish by establishing what is of interest to your network.
4.Interact with other professionals and with companies
In a social network like LinkedIn, interaction is paramount . It’s no use having a large network of contacts if you don’t use it to share with them content that may be relevant and receive feedback. Why? Think that interaction with other profiles also serves to increase your visibility on the network. Our recommendations:
- Set alerts that allow you to be up to date when the people or companies you follow publish content on their profiles.
- Interact with posts made by other users and companies. Recommend, comment, share or tag people cited in your contacts’ posts. It’s also a good idea to join LinkedIn groups.
- Post events and meetings on your feed or profile, or send by private message, if they might interest your connections.
- Congratulate your connections on promotions and anniversaries. LinkedIn notifications and alerts inform you of important highlights in the professional lives of your connections.
- Reply to private messages. Unless they are spam or sponsored messages, respond to any LinkedIn user who is interested in your work. You might even end up generating a job opportunity.
5.Request and write recommendations
Behind each LinkedIn profile is a person who seeks to improve his or her reputation. To do this, users are offered a section in which their contacts can endorse their work. Former bosses or colleagues, and professors or friends from university can also validate your skills. Project an honest and grateful attitude on LinkedIn. If you want your connections to give you support when you need it, remember that it works both ways. Therefore, make sure you take the time to recommend the work of someone you have previously collaborated with.
Don’t request skill endorsements from those in your network with whom you have no professional or personal relationship. The same applies to recommending others. Don’t endorse someone’s skills if you don’t know them, especially if you are doing it just to get the same in return.
LinkedIn offers you a multitude of possibilities to create a network of professional contacts that would otherwise be difficult to reach. But remember that it requires consistency and perseverance for success. As in any worthwhile relationship, a network of connections that you can rely on is not achieved overnight, but should be cultivated. Now it’s over to you. You now have everything you need to build your professional profile on LinkedIn using three basic pillars: interaction, dialogue and visibility.
Translated by Sunita Maharaj-Landaeta
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