As a result of the pandemic, people have been asking how they can effectively network when no real face-to-face events are occurring. Below are 10 tips to help you network effectively using LinkedIn.
☑ Tip 1: Host a Virtual Meetup
Start by reaching out to some of your LinkedIn several contacts using an online service like Zoom, Skype, etc. There is no need to present on anything, just focus on bringing people together.
Format: Similar to face-to-face meetups where you ask each other how things are going and what they have heard in their area of expertise. Sample questions: How are you doing? How have you been dealing with the pandemic? Has it impacted your personal and professional life, how so?
Note: Remember, networking is about getting to know people and building professional relationships. During the pandemic, it is important to focus on serving and giving. Ask your contacts how they are doing and if they need anything. They may be going through a tough time, and it would be insensitive to ask someone you have not talked to you in years for a job.
☑ Tip 2: Write a Short Article Featuring Other’s Expertise
Create a list of 10 people in your industry. Of the 10 individuals, pick 1 person who has really impressed you, someone, you admire. Write a short article stating why the person has made such a great impression on you. Tag the person in your article.
This is a great way to tell others you have taken notice of the great things they are doing and share how their efforts have helped you.
Never written an article on LinkedIn before? No problem, I have attached a quick step-by-step guide to help.
☑ Tip 3: Record a Video with a Tip or a Question
Don’t worry, friends you do not need to have a production background or any experience shooting videos! No one cares right now. Thanks to the coronavirus, people are jumping on Zoom calls and recording videos from their kitchens, bedrooms, dining rooms, and porch swings. People like seeing the real you in your setting.
Format: You can use your phone to record a simple video. The short clip can be simply about asking a question or sharing a tip about something interesting. Post the short video clip and respond to the responses when they come in.
Note: This is also a great way to hone your writing style.
☑ Tip 4: Comment on People’s Posts
Having a conversation is a pretty important part of networking. This is no different in the virtual realm. On LinkedIn, people share their thoughts all the time. For some reason, we tend to “like” what is shared and then move on. Yes, even I have been guilty of doing the same. However, if you really want to build that professional connection, engage!
Furthering the conversation is how you do it. See a post you like, comment on it, but don’t stop there. Perhaps, add a follow-on question to further the dialogue. I promise the person will be grateful you participated and will remember you later when you post something.
An added benefit: You may just gain new connections from a straightforward response.
☑ Tip 5: Build and Distribute a Resource List
Are you the “go-to” person in your organization, in your family, or in your circle of peers? If so, this tip is going to be very easy to execute. As a go-to person, you tend to collect and share resources with others, it’s in your nature. What type of information should you share on LinkedIn? Anything you think could be helpful to your connections! Note: Do NOT share private addresses and phone numbers.
As an author, I have collected resources around writing and self-publishing books. My list contains trusted book cover designers, website creators, editors, graphic designers, photographers, and so on. I share the list with other interested authors, especially those first-time authors who aren’t sure where or how to start. It is my way of paying it forward since I was blessed by an incredible author who took me under her wing and mentored me through the process. Her mentorship helped me sidestep scams and saved me tons of money in the long-run.
Interested in my resources, go to LinkedIn.
☑ Tip 6: Connect with Your Alumni Group (School, Company, Organization/Association)
Tip 6 is similar to Tip 1, in which I told you to host a virtual meetup. The difference is you are connecting with individuals you had a unique bond with as a result of a shared experience. I call this the alumni group. When we think of the word “alumni” thoughts of being a student at a particular school, college, or university comes to mind. However, the term alumni also refer to individuals who participated in a former group, company, or organization.
Format: Do a search on your LinkedIn for those individuals you formed a bond with when you were in the same group. Could be a former classmate, co-worker, or association member then set up a virtual meeting using an agreed-upon platform to chat. You can choose to share a project you would like to collaborate on, discuss starting a new group on LinkedIn, or just catch up. The point is to reconnect and see where it goes.
☑ Tip 7: Promote Companies in a Post or an Article
As a job seeker, what companies are on your interview bucket list? Don’t have a bucket list? Start one by creating a list of companies where you desire to work.
Format: For this tip, you are going to select a company from your list and share why you like them. Perhaps it is their mission, vision, or core values. Maybe it’s their company culture. Whatever it is, share it. When you do a couple of things can happen:
1) A company recruiter may see it and check out your profile
2) Employees within the company may see it and seek to connect with you
3) Company leadership may read it and want to learn more about you
Why is this important? You are telling everyone who reads your post that this is a great company, and you provide supporting evidence for that claim. Companies, like individuals, like to hear they are doing a good job, and tend to help those who spread the good word.
Do you have a favorite company in mind? Share it!
☑ Tip 8: Use Humor
Yes, you read that right use humor! Although LinkedIn is considered a professional business platform, you can still have a little fun, just don’t go too personal. LinkedIn is NOT Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. However, you can use business humor to lighten the weight we have all been experiencing in 2020. An example of a humorous business post can be seen in the many Dilbert comic strips. Check them out here: https://dilbert.com/
Format: share a post using a business or industry-related video, graphic, or picture that gives people a chuckle.
In sharing such a post, you demonstrate the other side of your personality. On LinkedIn, we do our best to share our professional side. The truth is, we are not robots. We are people with some pretty great personalities. Remember, LinkedIn is no different from networking in person. When face-to-face, we seek to make connections through the conversations we have with people. Many times the most engaging conversations, begin by telling appropriate jokes, and through sharing funny stories. Those conversations make us memorable.
☑ Tip 9: Create a Daily Trivia Challenge
I am not always the best trivia partner for my husband on game night, but as a self-professed nerd, I love Tip 9. This one is all about pulling data points that are important in your field/profession. The goal is not to stump people with data but to get the conversation going by using points that people should know but perhaps have forgotten.
For instance, as a resume writer and career coach, it is widely known by my peers that networking is by far the best way to get a job. In fact, networking has an 85-93% success rate while applying for jobs online only has a success rate, on average, of about 7%. Big difference, yet so many people opt for applying online over networking.
Format: Gather some data, formulate a question regarding that data ✍️, and then post. People like trivia questions, so you should get some good responses.
This is a fun way to engage individuals.
☑ Tip 10: Give Next Level Recommendations
Providing a recommendation is a great way to grow your network. It is also an excellent way for people to see what kind of person you are and what type of communication skills you possess. Reason: To be genuine requires great thought about your interactions with that person. Were they a great co-worker you collaborated with on a project? Perhaps they were a mentor who guided you to success? Maybe they were a great leader you worked with? There are many reasons to give a recommendation. Nowadays, I receive recommendations mostly from clients for the career services I provide. As a small business owner, those recommendations keep me going. They help me acquire new business while also encouraging me. A reminder that I helped someone.
Format: Choose some individuals from your connections to write recommendations for today. The recommendation will show up on their profile as well as your profile. This is a win-win situation. You get to thank someone, and they will feel good about your praiseworthy note.
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About the Author
Dr. Jeannine Bennett is the founder and CEO of Vision to Purpose, a woman-owned small business dedicated to helping individuals and organizations be the best they can be.
About Vision to Purpose
Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed by offering tailored career, life, and business solutions.
Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further, Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Vision to Purpose by contacting us.