Getting Connected: Becoming a LinkedIn Ninja

May 26, 2016 Leah Van Deman


In my last post entitled 5 Steps to Building an Effective LinkedIn Profile, I shared tips and tricks to building a profile that works for you.

Beyond showcasing your experience and expertise, the true power and benefit of LinkedIn comes in the ability to build a network. By connecting with your colleagues and other industry professionals, and fostering those relationships online, you’re able to expand your reach and influence.

Building your LinkedIn network is the key to identifying new opportunities, searching for the perfect expertise or job candidate, and establishing your voice as a leader on a specific topic.

Ready to get started? Here are three tactics to begin driving value from your network:

Review Opportunities Within Your Existing Network

Get familiar with your connections and any recent changes in their status (changes in company, titles, groups, etc.).

  1. Find your connections: Click the search button to see a list of all of your connections.
  2. Focus on 1st degree connections: Remove 2nd Connections and Group
    Connections from results.
  3. Narrow your search: Use the faceted search options on the left-hand side or keywords in the search bar. Sort by company, location, industry, titles, etc. to identify the right people.
  4. Reach out: Send them a LinkedIn message or use their preferred contact info by clicking on Contact Info in their profile.
Grow Contacts Within an Existing Client/Organization

If you are new to LinkedIn, spend time catching up. Connect with previous contacts to establish your network and show that you have respect from other professionals. After linking with fellow colleagues, clients, or new acquaintances, you can begin to identify which of their contacts may provide further value.

  1. Find your connections: Click the search button to see a list of all of your connections.
  2. Narrow your search: Use the faceted search options on the left-hand side to sort by Current Company and then, Past Company to review client connections who could make an introduction.
  3. Get Connected: Click on Shared Connection to see what connections you have in common at the company.
  4. Reach Out: Hover over the arrow next to the Connect button and select Get Introduced, or click into the profile of your shared connection to send them a message requesting to be connected.
Explore Industry Opportunities

Join Groups and connect with members who share similar interests (and who may be willing to make introductions). Keep in mind that people join Groups to gain specific value, so respect that and find ways to contribute to the conversation.

  1. Identify Your Groups: Click Interests in the navigation bar and select Groups. You’ll see a dashboard of all group activity – posts, discussions, members, etc.
  2. Select a Group: Click on a Group, click Search and then Members. Search by keywords, company, etc., to narrow your results.
  3. Reach Out: When reaching out to group members, you can choose whether you want to:
  • Follow - Get to know how they are involved, content they post, their area of expertise.
  • Connect - Better for lead nurturing, complimenting them on an article or announcement.
  • Message – Great for inviting someone to an event, or to check out a new piece of content. If it’s the kind of client/contact that warrants a cold introduction, you could send a message to setup time to talk.

Ready for more? Here are 10 additional tips for navigating your LinkedIn network effectively.

  1. Provide Value. Share relevant information and, where you can, "pay if forward."
  2. Read your Network Updates Feed. Take time to follow what your contacts are doing, saying, or posting, and find ways to stay involved and engaged.
  3. Spend time nurturing connections. Be gracious, polite and authentic. Although LinkedIn is a social platform, your contacts are human and like to be treated as such.
  4. Focus on 1st and 2nd degree connections. 3rd degree connections likely require InMail or an email address to connect. Alternately, consider using Groups as a way to send messages to 3rd degree connections.
  5. Generic searching = generic results; targeted searching = targeted results. When searching, get specific to limit results (if you know who you’re looking for), or type in keywords with commas to find someone you aren’t as familiar with.
  6. Search criteria is self-selected. When using faceted search or the search bar, keep in mind that results are based solely on content in someone’s profile.
  7. LinkedIn limits your number of searches on a monthly basis. You’ll get a message that says, “You’ve hit your commercial limit.” Once you hit your limit, your search results will be limited unless you upgrade your account.
  8. Consider new ways to connect with contacts. Use your profile’s Headline as a way to stand out when you show up to contacts. Change your headline from your title/area of expertise to something like: Cutting Red Tape in Regulatory Affairs.
  9. Be intentional and helpful when you connect. Clarify why you want to be introduced and focus on the value you can provide, as opposed to selling.
  10. Don’t rely on InMails. While they allow you to directly message new connections, they require you to purchase credits and upgrade to a Premium account.

For more information, watch this SlideShare presentation. In my next post, I’ll cover how you can utilize LinkedIn to establish your voice as a thought leader.

Experience Matters Video - airplane


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