This post is by Paul Kent – a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Paul has over fifteen years experience in the media and advertising industry in both Europe and Australia. His career has spanned across both the agency and media side of the business giving him valuable insights into changing communications landscape.
So we all know LinkedIn is great for getting a job, snooping on who has just changed jobs and essentially feeling like a connected member of the professional class.
As of November 2012 there were +175 million users on LinkedIn up 58 million from 2011 combining to generate 5 billion searches over the course of the year. Surely they are not all looking for a new job?
Like any Social Media platform LinkedIn takes a little commitment but once up and running it can open up a world of networking opportunity. So here are ‘5 (Very) Basic Tips to help you grow your LinkedIn network’.
1. Build Connections
The ‘People You May Know’ feature is a great place to start – any self-respecting LinkedIn veteran is forever scouring this nifty little tab for fresh connections.
Another handy way to build up a pool of potential connections is to ‘make friends with the popular kid’ – those users with 500+ connections. Are they actively engaging with all 500-plus connections? Almost certainly not. However connecting to them provides you with the opportunity to scour their connections and you can connect with anyone of them as you have a second degree connection.
Depending on your industry and objectives for LinkedIn one new connection a day is a good target. LinkedIn allows you to send 3,000 invitations so you should not run out…
2. Be Personable
Even if it someone that you do not know directly, always send a personalised invitation to connect. The standard ‘I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network’ invitation is fine but hardly screams ‘This could be the start of a beautiful friendship’.
Particularly powerful when approaching those you do not know personally is to include in your invitation mention of joint connections, how you believe you can assist each other or how much you have appreciated their posts.
You may not be invited around for a BBQ (do you want to go anyway?) but the personal touch does reflect a genuine desire to connect as opposed to a ‘numbers game’.
3. Stay Consistent
Every time you login to LinkedIn you will generally notice the same faces active – about 1/3rd of members access the site daily – these are the ‘Super Engagers’. They simply love the site for its ability to connect with their chosen network and build their ‘personal brand’.
The general rule-of-thumb is three updates a day. If you can find the time on Facebook to share photos of your sushi lunch then you can probably afford the time to build your professional profile with engaging content.
4. Be Authentic
Following on from the above point – make sure your personal brand is authentic.
If people have connected with you then it is for a reason – justify that decision. There are those users in every network (you know who they are) that take the quantity over quality approach to LinkedIn. Any chance to get their name up to the top they take it – if there is a post on the ‘Mating Habits of Atlantic Salmon’ they repost to their network. All well and good if you work in the fisheries department but relatively useless (and potentially damaging to your brand profile) if your network consists of Telecommunications Executives who wouldn’t know a Salmon from a Shark.
If you repost something make a personal comment about why people should take time out of their busy schedules to read – they will not thank you for wasting their time but they will if the post is of value.
5. Be A Team Player
This is an oldie but a goodie.
LinkedIn groups are increasingly popular forums to engage with peers, thought-leaders and the opinionated. As above, less is more, limit your participation to three to five groups that you can actively participate in by adding value, posting comment and asking questions.
The LinkedIn Group search feature is pretty handy in helping find forums that will interest you and in which you can again build that personal profile. Another short-hand search option is by filtering searches to find out which groups your connections belong to.
So there you go – simple but effective. By building your network on LinkedIn now, you can always draw on it if and when you need it later to get that new job. Unfortunately too many marketers neglect their own personal brand marketing until it is too late.
How reflective of your skills, experience and network is your current LinkedIn profile?
Perhaps a good place to start is to connect with the TrinityP3 consultants you know:
- Anita Zanesco
- Anton Buchner
- Chris Sewell
- Clive Duncan
- Darren Woolley
- Georgia Suttie
- Jodi Randall
- Les Margulis
- Mahesh Enjeti
- Nathan Hodges
- Nick Hand
- Pam O’Connor
- Paul Kent
- Shirley Kirkwood