9 Tips to Network Virtually

2020 is the Year everyone learned to Network Virtually

Networking in person is hard enough, but knowing how to network virtually can be extremely difficult. I would liken it to cold calling. There aren’t too many people around that think cold calling is the best thing since sliced bread. I am not a fan. But, networking virtually is not anywhere near as hard as cold calling. In fact, I promote the theory that to network virtually can help you warm up cold calls.

Let’s examine  my list of options:

  1. Sign up for LinkedIn – and not only sign-up but get some help to optimize your profile (hint – I can help you with that.) LinkedIn is the largest professional network. At the time of this writing, there were 690M+ users on the platform with 169M+ in the US. Click here for the current stats.  Granted there are a bunch of duplicate profiles out there because people forget how to access or lose access, but this gives you a huge pool of professionals from which to choose to build your personal network.
  2. Build the relationships you have – networking is akin to marketing. You need to get your name out in front of people for them to remember who you are. Use the tools at your disposal in Facebook or LinkedIn to be in touch. Wish people happy birthday, congratulate them on work anniversaries, promotions, or new positions. If you see an article that may be of interest to someone share it and tag that person in the comment.
  3. Take it off-line – building upon the last comment above, if you see something really compelling to share with someone, send it in an email AND, take it off line and make a phone call to talk to the person about your idea.
  4. Text – if you don’t have time for a phone conversation, send a text. Schedule a chat for later.
  5. Physical to Virtual Networking – many groups have had to change from meeting in person to meeting over one of the many apps available these days. You may be “Zoomed” out, but it is a great way to continue to keep your presence in front of your network.
  6. Allocate Time – did you meet someone in a webinar or virtual networking meeting? Can’t meet in-person for a “coffee meeting”? Try to schedule something virtually. So many options are available: Zoom, Google Hangouts or Google Meet, Facetime for iPhone users, What’s App, and Facebook Messenger all give you free options to hold a video meeting. Then there are the other platforms that are subscription based – Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect and so many others. Take the time to schedule a virtual sit-down with someone new.
  7. Tweetchats – This is an opportunity to participate in a forum type conversation in certain industries. Here is a schedule to check. Get to know who people are by their Twitter handle, AND in the meantime, learn some new things in your industry.
  8. Meet new people – so the people you met in the Tweetchat – perhaps connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know what sort of business relationship might develop. Use the advanced search functions to look for 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn who seem interesting and may be able to provide guidance, leadership, or information, OR just be someone worth having a chat with virtually.
  9. Join Groups – this is a good idea in person and virtually. Find a group on Meet-Up, LinkedIn, Facebook or Eventbrite. Other organizations that are career related may have a virtual presence as well. Participate in virtual conversation threads and when possible attend in-person events.

spreading wings

Now that you have a few tools to try, it may be easier to network virtually.  I always say, “It isn’t about who you know, but who they know!”  When you are talking with your existing network, take the extra step and ask if they know anyone to whom they could recommend  you. Pay it forward and introduce your connections to someone that could use their talent or service. Now go, spread your wings and your network virtually!

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Fake Profiles – How Do You Know?

How do you know if they are Fake Profiles?

Honestly, I don’t always know what are fake profiles and what aren’t. But I recently read this article from LinkedIn about what they are doing to combat Fake Profiles – An Update on How We’re Fighting Fake Accounts | Official LinkedIn Blog

In the past year my Facebook account was cloned. You can read about that here. I was surprised I was hit because I do all the password things I am supposed to do. I don’t click on suspicious email links. But it happened. It made me very leery about connecting with people that I don’t know, especially on Facebook.

I know I have connected with fake profiles on Twitter. I am pretty sure I follow some fake profiles on Instagram, but not as many. On Facebook, I always look at the invitations from people that I might know to see how developed the profile is and who mutual friends / connections might be. If it is a repeat invitation from someone with whom I regularly communicate, I will send a text or message them through another social platform before connecting.

One of my Facebook friends recently decided to switch her account to a “grown-up” version and sent out several posts alerting people to the fact that she would be closing down the old account in an effort to share the more adult/professional version of herself.

On LinkedIn, I find that not as many people are trying to scam others. Based upon the article linked above, LinkedIn is doing what I would consider a decent job of nipping fake profiles in the bud.

7 tips

Here are my tips to do your due diligence before falling into the Fake Profile trap:

  1. Use a recent image of yourself on personal profiles.
  2. Brand your company profiles with a logo or a different image of yourself.
  3. Personalize any invitations that you send to people who might not know or remember you.
  4. Check profiles before you accept.
  5. Alert all connections if your account is compromised.
  6. If you do connect with a fake profile, be careful of any messages or requests asking for you to send money. If it is out of character, then it is probably fake!
  7. Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts to prevent a mass breech if you are compromised.
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LinkedIn Search Algorithms

What do we know about LinkedIn Search Algorithms?

All of the social media platforms are typically secretive about their search algorithms. Here is a short perspective of what we do know:

LinkedIn Search Algorithms

Keywords –

Everyone speaks about keywords being the number one search item for ANY platform social or browser. So how do you find your keywords?

One suggestion I make is to create a word cloud. Read one of my previous articles about how to find your keywords with a word cloud here.

From LinkedIn Help about keywords  – (Avoid these things.)

The order of a search result is determined in part by the profile, activity, and connections of the person who is searching.

Our goal is to optimize your search results. Before we return results, we consider the searcher’s activity on LinkedIn, the profiles returned by the query, and other members who have run similar searches in determining the sort order.

More keywords aren’t always better –  If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, it’s likely that your profile will be filtered out by our spam detection algorithms, which will negatively impact your appearance in search results.

Keywords need to appear in your headline and hopefully in your job title. The job titles may have a slightly higher impact on the search result. Go with the more acceptable search term than what you may have actually been titled.*

Add keywords to your Summary, inside of your work experience, and ensure your are endorsed for them in your skills and experience.

Advanced Search Strings

People who know how to use the Boolean search method are quite successful at finding exactly what they want. This article by Paul Cameron of Speed Up my job Search .com gives a great example.

Here is a bonus article I found from 2011 with some valid premises. The thought behind the keywords and adding contract work seems like a way to get keywords in. The alternative to that now would be to add each contract under the company name as a change in job for that company.

Connections

Connect to as many people as you can to broaden your network. So many people think that you should only connect with people you have met in person, but that defeats the purpose of the breadth of a network like LinkedIn. Others say they don’t want to have their customers as connections because the competition could steal them. If you connect with everyone you know (and meet) and some of those you don’t already know,

The more connections you have, the more “detective” work you can do. My adage is that it is not about who you know, but who they know. That 2nd degree connection might be just the person you need for your next contract or job. Sometimes recruiters limit the search to 2nd degree, or a business owner may do the same when searching for a contractor.

Activity

From my research in preparing for this article, I see that the more active you are with relevant posts containing useful content, the higher you could rank (at least in the feed). I have not tested the following statement. I believe that if someone is searching for a subject matter expert, you will rank higher in search results if you also have the right keywords, skills/endorsements, and 500+ connections.

If anyone who reads this has more definitive answers, please share them with me!!

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Export LinkedIn Connections

Why would you want to Export LinkedIn Connections?

There are a couple of reasons why you would want to export LinkedIn connections, but the main one is to use them for your marketing/outreach efforts. If you don’t use the Sales Navigator feature in LinkedIn, you may want to download your connections and enter them into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Here is an article I found that lists more CRM tools that I would want to review – customer relationship management software apps

OR, you could just use them in an Excel spreadsheet and work through them making phone calls or sending letters.

Here are the directions: (watch a video)

  1. Click My Network icon in the LinkedIn menu bar
  2. Find the number that represents your Connections on the left side of the screen.
  3. On the right side find the words Manage Synced and Imported Contacts (it is a light gray color.) Click.
  4. Also on the right side find the words Export Contacts and click.
  5. This takes you to your privacy settings where you can download any and all of your data. Select the second option and select Connections. Fill in your password in the pop-up box. You will receive an email in about 10 minutes letting you know your file is ready.
  6. Go back to the screen where you ordered the archive and download.
  7. Unzip the file.
  8. Save as .xls instead of .crv
  9. Sort and use!

You may still have to use LinkedIn or other methods to find things like phone numbers and addresses, but you have the start of the database and an email address.

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