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?
Bob is back and will be facilitating This Week‘s Session, Thursday, May 31st… A LinkedIn Primer: Task #2 and #3, a discussion of how to extend the reach of your contact network…extending your digital footprint
The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.
A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and, it serves virtually every industry and profession.
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. Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals. After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others.
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. LinkedIn suggests in its FAQ, “Only invite those you know and trust.”
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.
- 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. And, it’s a 2-way street: Your updates, including white papers you may choose to “publish,” go out to your network.
- Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page, you’ll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile’s number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click “See what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.