Tips For LinkedIn Networking Everyone Can Follow
In today’s world, connections are everything. But, with online job forums like LinkedIn, networking and messaging can come off as annoying. How can you grow your network and establish real connections?
Tip #1: Make a Habit of Consistent Communication
Making a habit of consistent communication genuinely will be beneficial in the long run. This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is probably the best piece of advice (and easiest advice) to follow. Make sure you’re connected with people you know, from friends, families, current colleagues, and previous colleagues as well.
Along with this, connect with people you may have lost touch with over time. Even though it might feel awkward, just break the ice with a simple message on LinkedIn. Maybe even engage with their LinkedIn posts by liking or commenting to show you’re still there!
Half of the networking is all about maintaining relationships. Stay in touch with the contacts you want to stay connected with. Maybe set a reminder in your calendar to check in with your closest contacts once a month to see their latest projects or see how they’re doing! Send an email or message via LinkedIn wishing them happy birthday, happy holidays, or congratulations on their newest work or achievement.
When messaging contacts, don’t just message them for no reason. The intention is huge when networking. If their LinkedIn inbox looks anything like your own, they have dozens upon dozens of messages that are sitting there unopened, since so many people contact them. Make sure you network with genuine intent with whoever you’re contacting!
Tip #2: Make the Requests Count!
Before writing out any request message, go to the potential contact’s full profile page and hit the “connect” button. This allows you to write a custom request to connect. If you connect with the contact on any other page, a generic “I’d like to connect with you” message automatically sends, which prevents you from sending a personal message.
In your message request, make sure to mention if you’ve met them before right away. Remind them of your connection! Then, briefly explain why you want to connect with them. Next, explain why you think the connection will benefit both you and them. Next, give them a small, friendly compliment about their work! Finally, briefly mention something that you have in common with them. Did you go to the same college? Do you have a similar hobby?
Keep the invitation to connect short and to the point. You only have 300 characters to make a personal, attention-grabbing message, so make it count! This will serve you in the long run by making your outreaches more successful (and more efficient)!
Tip #3: Personalize Requests...And Don’t Spam
If you take one thing away from here, it should be customizing your requests. I’m sure you’ve seen the generic, meaningless requests you’ve gotten on LinkedIn. If your coworker just says, “Hi, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn,” that just seems impersonal. If you want to connect with a friend or colleague, be authentic! Something like “Hey Susie! Congrats on your promotion! I can’t wait to see what’s in store and all the things you’re about to do!”
Most of the time, regardless of the message, people will accept the request. But, default messages don’t make anyone feel that great. Instead, spend two extra minutes and tailor a message to the specific contact so that they feel special. A little effort goes a long way!
Along with this, don’t spam inboxes! By this, I mean don’t send a message EVEN twice. Don’t withdraw a friend request and then send a new one. Trust me, they’ve seen the request. Don’t come off as pushy. They’ll be more likely to deny the request! LinkedIn automatically reminds the person you’ve asked if he or she hasn’t yet answered your invitation. Again, do you know how many requests and messages people get on LinkedIn every single day? I’m sure they’ve seen it, but they don’t have time to check messages or requests every second. Give them time to go through the huge archives of requests I’m sure they have. Badgering someone will get you nowhere, so just be patient. Don’t resend an invite or double message!
Tip #4: Congratulate People the Right Way
What do I mean by this? LinkedIn shows on your homepage all of your connections who have gotten new jobs, celebrated work anniversaries, or changed their photos. Yes, it may be way easier to just like the post or write a generic “Congrats,” comment, but you can do better! To network effectively, you have to put in the effort.
Write a thoughtful comment, not a generic one. This will not only strengthen the connection between you and your contacts, but it will also make you look far better and more sincere to everyone else viewing that post in their newsfeed. The extra effort on your end is minimal, while the effect on our professional relationships is big.
Now, you’re all excited to write great comments on all your connections’ posts, but just be careful. If someone is updating an out-of-date profile, you’ll look inattentive for congratulating a peer on a job they have had for many years! Or, if he or she got demoted or fired, they may post about looking for new opportunities. Don’t just congratulate them for getting demoted or fired! Make sure you're congratulating people on the right thing!
Tip #5: POST!
A great way to network on LinkedIn is by sharing your experiences and ideas, and you can do this in a few different ways. Remember, LinkedIn is social media for the professional working community! Consider re-sharing a connection’s LinkedIn post with one or two of your key takeaways. Share a few learnings based on your experience! You can even ask your network for their tips and their own experiences to start a conversation in the comments.
If you try to post regularly and include hashtags relevant to your content, this will reach people beyond your connections. If you’re job hunting, this may reach potential hiring managers and other professionals to reach out to you personally.