LinkedIn is the largest professional network. With 675 million monthly active users all there for professional reasons, it provides endless opportunities to network with relevant people and cultivates those all-important business conversations.
So how can you kick those conversations off?
On LinkedIn, people in your network are called ‘Connections’. You can grow your Connections either by sending invites to others or accepting invites from others. LinkedIn will show you if you have Connections in common with other users by listing your ‘Degrees of Connection’.
These Degrees of Connection will affect how you can interact with someone on the platform, so you’ll find yourself requesting connections with people regularly if you want to talk to them directly. Likewise, if you’re active on LinkedIn, you’ll also notice that you regularly receive Connection Requests.
But whilst it might sound good to say that you’ve got thousands of Connections, it’s actually better to be selective so that you can build a high-quality network. LinkedIn Expert Judy Schramm says that “a highly curated, targeted group of connections” is one that helps promote your business and your personal goals. In other words, a high-quality LinkedIn network is an engaged one and one where business conversations are more likely to happen.
When accepting new connections, you should always look carefully at the quality of someone’s LinkedIn profile and be industry-specific where possible. Have they listed their most recent job title on their profile? Is there a picture? More importantly – is their industry relevant to yours? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then don’t accept!
After all, you don’t want to receive loads of irrelevant messages – especially if it’s someone trying to sell you something you don’t need!
What about Company Pages?
Company Pages are another great way to grow your LinkedIn network into a high-quality one. Make sure that all your employees are following your business page and sharing your posts, as this employee advocacy will increase your reach further.
You can now also access detailed demographics about who follows your LinkedIn Company Page. This is a really great way for you to check that your updates are reaching the right people or businesses.
How do I start a conversation?
Once you’ve got your highly curated, quality network of Connections, you need to keep them engaged.
You can do this by regularly sharing relevant articles and information, adding your own comment or insight where appropriate. Follow relevant hashtags or industry leaders for your sector to keep an eye on what they’re doing.
You can also join industry-related groups on LinkedIn and take part in conversations when topics start to trend. In doing so, you will continually position yourself as an expert in your chosen field and you’ll benefit from the knowledge that other professionals are sharing on the platform.
Remember though – being picky with LinkedIn pays off. Don’t start joining every group or following everyone from Steve Jobs to Michelle Obama! Be selective and you’ll be having more relevant business conversations in no time.
If you’d like more information about our LinkedIn workshops or you’d like some help managing your social game – get in touch today!