Given the proliferation of Social Media, your profile on Social and Professional networking sites deserves a significant attention. Globally, people are harnessing the power of social media for varied purposes – to attract customers, partners and talent are some of common objectives achieved through professional networking.
But, not everyone is equally successful in meeting their business objectives through professional networking. Your success in the Professional Networking game is a function of many parameters – the quality (who are you connected with) and the quantity (how many people are you connected with) are two of them. How can you build an ever growing, credible network? Here are the top 6 techniques you can use to constantly fuel your professional (and also social) networking success:
- People You Meet Daily – Everyday, as part of your professional life, you are meeting new people you would like to stay in touch with. This includes face to face meetings (e.g. conference participation, potential customer or partner), email exchanges, telephone calls and more. The chances are many of them are already present on LinkedIn. It takes couple of minutes to request invitation to your network. For e.g., what do you do with the business cards your collect at various meetings. Don’t just stock them, directly connect with those card owners on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Answers – As I wrote earlier, LinkedIn Answers is a great tool for networking in addition to getting highly valuable advice for free. The people who respond to your questions or the ones to whom you response, are likely the ones you would want to be connected with.
- Network of Network – Just browse through the connections of people in your network and you will be surprised to see the large number of known people, whom you would like to be part of your direct network. So, leverage your own network.
- LinkedIn Groups – Throughout your life, you get to be associated with various groups – alumni networks, ex employers, conference groups, technology groups etc. Many of them already exist on LinkedIn in the form of ‘Company’ or ‘Groups’. Browse through them and be prepared to be surprised by the list of people whom you know but didn’t remember. You can join (and participate) in new groups relevant to your areas of interest and again leverage them to expand your own network.
- Use Your Webmail Contacts – LinkedIn allows you to check who all in your webmail (e.g. gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc) contacts are present on LinkedIn. Choose the ones you want to network with and send them an invitation.
- Promote Your Profile – Finally, promote your LinkedIn profile through as many avenues as possible. Some of common places to have your LinkedIn profile – your email signature, your profile at other places, your articles, your business card etc. Make sure your profile is public, provide your email id in your contact settings and allow others to contact you. Also, like me you can also blog to promote your profile :).
I am sure if you follow the above ways, you will have a HUGE pool of professionals, who can be part of your network. I’ve used all of the above techniques to constantly expand my own LinkedIn profile. But, of all the invitations you send, how many will accept your request is not a constant. I recommend that you follow these guidelines in order to successfully build a credible network on any professional networking community:
- Customize & personalize your invitation based on the person you are inviting. Don’t use the standard invitations.
- Don’t spam by sending invitations to professionals – just for the sake of increasing the number.
- Build credible profile – The chance of other professionals accepting your invitation is also based on the credibility of your profile. Completeness of your profile, having recommendations, quality of your profile summary and having your photo are some of the important credibility facts. Also, give personal touch to your profile.
I hope these tips and guidelines help you expand your professional network. Please do give your feedback including suggesting more tips and guidelines to the above list.
Happy Professional Networking!