THIS THURSDAY’s Session 8:45 AM at The Egg and I in Addison

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin?

 Thursday, November 19th… a LinkedIn PRIMER

JOINING a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to build a network, leveraging your available time… and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

TASK #2  Build Your Network

Goal: Stay focused.  LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know. Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to.

I started with twenty contacts from my MSOutlook.  My “first line” Contact base has grown to well over five hundred by accepting and sending out INVITATIONS to people I know, are likely to be interactive within our network, or who could provide resources to me or the Candidates I serve… what’s really impressive is how this translates, numerically, into your second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!!

The 411 on “How Not to Be Connected”

If someone contacts you and you don’t want to form a connection with them, you don’t need to flatly reject them and worry about the attendant awkwardness. When looking at the invitation to connect, simply hit “Archive.” The other person does not receive a message saying their invitation has been rejected, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted invitations clogging up your inbox.

Likewise, if you find that an existing contact is blasting you with too much information or making overly aggressive requests for introductions and recommendations, LinkedIn will let you remove that person easily — and without the contact knowing they’re out of your network.

If only it were that easy in real life.

What’s Next?

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing. This is also the approach through which you can “publish” your white papers to create visibility (PUSH marketing that leads to PULL)
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs.
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file. JibberJobber???
  4. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the “LinkedIn Companion for Firefox” is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
  5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.
  6. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.
  7. Link your Twitter acct to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.

Get the Most From Your Connections

Goal: Now that you’re connected, put all those people to use.

There are three main things your network can do for you:

  1. answer business-related questions,
  2. make recommendations and introductions, and
  3. provide company information.

Make sure that you focus on helping others when you first join. It’s the idea of bringing something TO the party. If you offer up helpful stuff and services, your reputation will go a lot further than if you’re just out there for yourself.  GIVE before you expect to get interaction from you new, and developing, electronic network.

Recommend and introduce colleagues.

Recommendations work as a form of currency in a social network. Those who are happy with your work can write a brief description of their experience on your LinkedIn profile.

Introductions are trickier but also more valuable. This is where your personal judgment needs to come into play. When someone contacts you for an introduction, be sure you understand and approve of what they want before making the handoff. Likewise, make your intentions clear when you are asking for an introduction.

Learn more about your professional network.

You can quickly learn a lot about a potential business partner or contact by reading their profile. This represents smart interview preparation… It can show you a lot of things you can discuss and build a relationship on.

Unlike, for example, someone’s Google results, everything you find on LinkedIn has been voluntarily placed there by your contact.  Further, watch to see who your contacts are becoming connected with to figure out who might be worth getting to know yourself.

The “low hanging fruit…”

The drop-down menu on the top navigation tab INTERESTS gives you quick access to people who are most likely to accept your well written invitation to connect!

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