Build Your Network

How can you build your network without having to physically network?

I just read a LinkedIn post from William Arruda advocating that you accept every invitation that comes your way on LinkedIn. Read it here While I totally agree in principle with what he says, I do understand people’s reticence to actually doing accepting anyone and everyone.Broaden your network

For an experiment, I went to my invitation box. It had 328 invitations in it. Almost every single one of them was not personalized. That means that either the person just clicked the connect button too quickly, they thought I would know who they were, or they were just inviting someone from the people I might know section.  I did find a few people that had personalized their invitation that I may have overlooked during a busy time period, but for the most part they were generic invitations.

To follow through on the advice from Mr. Arruda, I decided that I was going to connect with almost all of the people whose invitations were awaiting my response. I added about 170 or so people to my network in about 20 minutes. I received a response from 2 of them relatively promptly, so I could begin to build a relationship with them right away.

One of the reasons that I didn’t automatically connect with the people is because I like to tag my connections for future reference. Read more here.  With this in mind, I tagged all of them with a tag that let me know they were “on-line only” connections.

Another reason I like to keep at least some of these generic invitations in my in-box is that when I teach LinkedIn classes, I like to show people how to “reply don’t accept yet. Read more here.

My mantra when I teach is – It’s not about who you know, but who they know. The broader your network is, the more likely you will be able to connect with a potential employee, employee, or new business connection.

Whatever you choose to do with your LinkedIn connections, it is the best way to build your network without actually having to network!

I invite you to share your thoughts.

LinkedIn – Top 5 Tips – Photos

Whether you are trying to expand your business network or searching for a new job, LinkedIn can be your “go-to” social media platform.

When performing a social media audit for a new client one of the first things I look at is the presence they have on LinkedIn.  Whether you are B2B or B2C (business-to-business or business to consumer) you should have a profile on LinkedIn for you AND your company.  Your personal profile is your on-line resume and connection file.  It is a living representation of your career and should represent you.  There is a specific area to represent your company.

My question to you is – Do you use LinkedIn or just collect connections?

To help you move past the “collecting connections” phase, I offer my Top 5 LinkedIn Tips. We will be covering these over the next five articles.

Photo – There are two schools of thought on this option. The detractors feel that having a photo of yourself can lead to discrimination.  My philosophy is put on a smile and snap a headshot that is professional in appearance (doesn’t have to be professionally done) that is tight and well-lit with limited background distractions.

One of the benefits of having a good photo on your profile is instant recognition.  With a good photo, gone are the days of discussing what you will be wearing or your appearance when have  a meeting scheduled with a new client or a prospect for the first time.  If you take a look at their LinkedIn profile, you will be able to recognize and greet them right away.

Let’s spend a minute on what I mean by limited background distractions.  Plain backgrounds work best.  Bookshelves, an American Flag, or perhaps your “tidy” desk are all acceptable.  What is not considered professional is your kids (unless you own a daycare), your dog (unless you are a dog groomer or veterinarian), and especially you in a tiki-hut with an umbrella drink in front of you. Don’t laugh to hard, I actually had an invitation from someone with a photo like that.

Try to have the photo be close enough to allow facial recognition.  Group shots and further out than than the waist really don’t achieve the purpose of the photo.  Branded images are, if they are used in your marketing materials are fine, but logos should be reserved for the company pages. Speaking of branded images – you should use the same headshot across all of your professional platforms. It helps with your personal branding. Differentiate your profiles by your LinkedIn image vs. you and the family on your personal Facebook page.

Worried about discrimination?  Caricatures or black and white images help eliminate the representation of age.

Check back over the next several weeks as we discuss the other 4 top tips:
Complete | Connections | Invitations | Participate

 

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