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Tips to build a strong LinkedIn network

Tips to build a strong LinkedIn network

Lucy Bielby Career Advice

I’m a huge believer in the power of social media to evolve your network, and build a strong social voice. As with most things these days, I believe that you need a multi-pronged approach to either promoting your brand (or roles) or as a candidate searching for a new position / assignment. 

If you’re seeking a job, this article will show you how you can present yourself as a valued connection. 

Your Profile 

It’s important to ALWAYS have an up to date LinkedIn profile whether you are in a role or seeking a new role / assignment. 

Do your research

When you’re starting your search  for a new role within a business,  review the profiles of those within the organisation, their career progression, values (from any content / posts) and areas of focus etc.so in part this also supports with an organisations EVP.  

Keywords

LinkedIn is all about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and there are tricks that mean you can come up higher in searches. Here at Frazer Jones we can provide you with this 1:1 advice, ultimately you need to ensure that you are using keywords in your LinkedIn profile  that would drive a hiring manager to your profile page, it’s good to use the automated LinkedIn keyword suggestions for your profile title for example, HR Director, Head of Talent, HR Business Partner etc.

Tell your story

Your LinkedIn profile should complement but not replicate your CV, by providing context to your roles and the deliverables / achievements that a potential employer won’t know is key. Once you are happy with how your profile represents you, it’s time to start taking your proactivity to the next level. 

Building your network

Part of building your network is to give you wider access to others profiles on LinkedIn enabling you to reach more 3rd stage connections for example. 

Seek out your peers

Whilst many of us focus on trying to network with senior individuals, it’s also important to build your network out of peers (internally and externally). 

Firstly, they may share posts for roles within their own business as well as grow in seniority with you, which could clearly connect you with opportunities down the line.

How to connect

If you are going to start connecting with people unsurprisingly, response rates differ  by the seniority of the recipient. Its therefore key for you to have a strong reason for them to accept your connection. Be it mentioning a mutual connection or a reason that as a job seeker that you can solve any perceived ‘pain’ that their organisation may have i.e. what solutions that your skillset can bring to them. 

Writing the first message

If you decide to take that connection to the next level then put some consideration into the message that you send.  Most of us will have been on the receiving end of sales pitches and quickly online ‘conversations’ can become hugely transactional. This instantly switches many people off. 

Short and sweet

Nobody has the patience or desire to read long messages that look and feel spammy, especially if it’s the first time they’re hearing from you. Also, make them relevant to that recipient. 

Keep it brief

What are the points you want to convey? Your entire message should be easy to read on a phone screen. InMail analysis found that messages under 100 words perform best, and response rates decrease significantly as word count increases beyond 500 words.

Tone matters

The content and tone of the message really matters. Especially at the moment, nobody wants to be ‘sold to’ at a time when they are likely to be making some challenging decisions  about their business. Keep it friendly but professional, maybe even referencing that mutual connection again. 

Reciprocity 

The best way to build a relationship is by supporting others and ‘paying it forward’ but this only really works when that desire to help is genuine. 

Demonstrate value

Not only does it feel good to support others, but it also gives a sense of values. This could also be your ‘in’ on that first message. It also sets the stage for you to ask them something of your connections in the future. You don’t have to offer to help in every circumstance, but make yourself available and also respond to others requests where you can. 

Connecting

The most important thing about a network is that you don’t neglect the people you already know. Your network is rooted in existing, real-life relationships, so put effort into re-connecting where you cannot just when you are ‘in need’. 

Be knowledgable

Once connected to your target audience and you’re maintaining regular contact you need to keep showing why you are a valued connection.

What engages your network?

Consistency of output is key here, as is relevancy of what you are producing. Always think about who you are, as well as what you stand for. Alongside what you share – is this really of interest to your network?

Relevant and topical

Whenever I’m reading, talking or watching, I’m frequently asking myself or suggesting to others “is there a blog to be had here?”. Likewise, as well as writing your own blogs, it is smart to curate others work and share thought leaders content with your network, clearly crediting them along the way with your own commentary on the articles / blogs. 

Just remember to write about what is interesting to your audience, not just what’s interesting to you. I see no relevance to posts on ‘I went here’, ‘I met…’ - I’d say that this is more Facebook material, because as the reader, it offers no value add to me.

Overall, Social media opens up incredible possibilities for strengthening your professional network. But be sure that it is a genuine extension of how you interact with others in ‘the real world’. Finding common ground, then build trust and with that should come long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.