As a leader, networking is more than just talking with strangers at an event. It is about creating connections and relationships with others who can provide valuable feedback and support as well as creating new business opportunities.
In today's digitally integrated world, networking has become easier and more streamlined with social media platforms like LinkedIn.
If you use LinkedIn correctly to establish relationships with people you meet, you can establish credibility and build your reputation as an industry leader, plus it can also lead to new career and work opportunities.
To become a stand out networker on LinkedIn, you must first consider the following three tips:
Have an up-to-date profile
It is important for your profile to be up-to-date and complete before you start networking on LinkedIn. A completed profile will appear in search results 40 times more than the average LinkedIn profile, making you much more attractive to network with.
Other key areas to address on your LinkedIn profile include having a professional headshot, an excellent profile summary, an engaging headline, and a comprehensive list of your professional career history.
Take the first step
After attending a networking event it is a good idea to follow up with the people you made connections with on LinkedIn. Don't wait to hear from that person you had a great chat with last week. Be bold and make the first move and reach out with a message on LinkedIn. It can even be something as simple as 'Great to meet you' or 'I saw this great article and thought it might interest you'.
When you request to connect with someone on LinkedIn, instead of using the generic template LinkedIn provides, write something more personal as it shows you are interested in them.
Share engaging content
LinkedIn is mainly a business social networking site and gives professionals an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and thought leadership. Posting high quality and valuable content is one of the best ways to demonstrate your knowledge with a captive and engaged target audience.
Think about sharing links to interesting online articles,videos, images or even SlideShare presentations. Keep in mind, the more relevant the content you share is to your target audience, the more engaging it is likely to be.
Networking is no longer limited to industry events and client functions; this is just the starting point. Social networking platforms like LinkedIn can be used as a catalyst to create connections with people and establish relationships that can be of benefit to you professionally and personally.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au