Social networking – it’s about being social. You may have heard that before and for good reason. According to Websters II New Riverside Dictionary, the definition of social is: 1. Living in communities or groups. 2. Of or relating to the life and interrelationships of human beings in society. 3. Marked by friendly companionship with others.
These are three things you do everyday offline. Now, just transfer your social skills to LinkedIn and do the same thing online!
Each time I deliver a presentation on the topic of LinkedIn there are professionals who raise their hands, express their confusion and ask how to use the network . . . how to have those conversations that build relationships.
Here are three simple steps for engagement to help you get the ball rolling.
#1. Start a conversation as soon as you reach out to connect.
The biggest mistake people make on LinkedIn is clicking on the “Connect” button and sending out a generic LinkedIn invitation, which reads “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
If you want to be social, if you want to make the most of your LinkedIn experience, then take the extra moment to personalize your invitation.
The best way to do this is to visit a colleague’s profile and click the “Connect” button from there. That’s when LinkedIn opens up a dialog box, which gives you the opportunity to write a personal message. It’s a great way to start the conversation and begin building relationships. After all, that’s what social networking is all about.
#2. Don’t ignore an invitation.
How many invitations have you received from where the person used LinkedIn’s generic invitation? You didn’t know who they were or why they were sending you the invite. So, you ignored it or deleted it. However, by doing so you may have missed an opportunity to connect with a potential prospect, referral or resource.
Rather than ignore the invitation, go view that person’s profile. See if he/she might be someone worth beginning a mutually beneficial relationship with. If so, go back to the pending invitation and instead of hitting “accept,” click on the arrow in the upper right hand corner (see image below). This allows you to reply without accepting the request.
Send that person a message thanking them for their invite. Ask them how they connected with you. Perhaps someone referred them to you or maybe they were simply searching LinkedIn for someone with your expertise. You’ll never know unless you send them a message – sure and sweet – and begin a conversation, as in Point #1, it’s a great opportunity to begin nurturing a relationship.
Want to join Debra's LinkedIn network? Visit her at Debra Jason and be sure to personalize your request so she knows that you read her article here on Producers eSource.
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