LinkedIn was developed as a social platform for business professionals and other opportunists to connect and engage with like-minded individuals from around the globe. While it started out as a simple, bare-bones way to interact with one another, the platform is gradually moving in the direction of social sites like Facebook in an attempt to get its user base to spend more time interacting with others and sharing information. If you have been attempting to build up an audience of professional connections on LinkedIn, then you must follow these tips and tricks to make sure your time is well-spent.
Make Common Acquaintances
Before you proceed to begin pinging lists of individuals on the LinkedIn network to be your contacts, remember that LinkedIn works much differently than sites like Facebook. Due to the configuration of the website, it is more difficult to simply add people with which you have nothing or no one in common. There may, however, be acquaintances of current contacts that you wish to connect with at some point. You should make sure to send them a message identifying who you are and informing them that you are mutually connected to a particular person.
Get Involved With Groups
LinkedIn offers two useful features: LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, both of which have valuable information that can lead to lasting relationships on the site and beyond. If you have information to contribute about a particular category, then consider doing some investigation for content in which you can offer advice and assistance. Afterward, you will then be able to connect with the person – having already demonstrated your short-term value. By narrowing down the fields and categories in which you participate, you are more likely to find like-minded individuals who will appreciate networking with you. Dynamic, organic connections like these are part of what helps build a strong, meaningful relationship on the site.
Connect With Customers
If you have done business with someone who uses LinkedIn, then it is a good idea to attempt to establish contact with them on the platform. While you do not want to be too invasive, you can take advantage of how LinkedIn is constantly pinging lists of status updates about your acquaintances and connections. A brief personal observation about one of your connections may come in handy later on in a conversation with that customer. By showing that you have taken the time to be aware of their happenings, you can easily demonstrate that you are a well-connected, attentive businessperson.
LinkedIn offers a new tool called LinkedIn Endorsements, which lets users “vouch” for other connections’ skill sets and qualifications. By entering in a phrase or keyword, you can easily endorse a person’s qualifications – which sends them a notification and encourages them to do the same. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is a great way to break the ice for a potential long-term relationship that can lead to future collaboration between you and that particular user. You may also find out that the person in question has unknown skills that can be of benefit to you – and vice versa.