The face-to-face business networking and support we usually rely on is going to be impossible over the next few months or maybe much longer. It does however give us the opportunity to get even more creative on social media and augment our digital networking. If we can keep communicating, sharing knowledge and supporting each other, we’ll emerge from this crisis in much better shape.
LinkedIn is the platform of choice for professionals with an incredible 660 million members across the globe. It is also one of the biggest publishing platforms in the world; with most of its content created (and peer reviewed) by its members. Simply put, LinkedIn is much more than a static CV site. If you set up a basic profile and just forget about it, you may as well have not bothered. You won’t build your network and you’ll miss out on stellar opportunities.
These are our top 5 tips for staying digitally connected, reducing your sense of business isolation and making the most of opportunities to support yourself and others:
- Get the basics 100%: I know this is going to sound incredibly straightforward, but I have to say it – make sure you have an up-to-date, fully completed and professional profile. You’d be amazed at how many senior professionals just haven’t got around to this. Having an impactful heading, powerful summary, your profile 100% complete and optimised for keywords will help you to stand out, and encourage professionals to find, connect and network with you. Think strategically about your content and focus on your achievements, rather than simply summarising your career history. Including links to your published work and presentations will also create a more engaging and informative profile.
- Get active: Look for professionally run discussion groups, where you can engage in virtual networking with your peers. These may be generalist groups focused on a particular region, such as your local chambers of commerce, or specialist knowledge sharing groups, such as those run by business associations and industry federations. Start with organisations that you already have a connection with in real life – and invite your contacts to join you in groups you find useful or interesting.
- Get interested: As with face to face networking it is important to show interest and share ideas with our colleagues, it’s no different on LinkedIn. Remember to like and share interesting posts from your connections. Think about who is in your network and might benefit from hearing about an interesting opportunity. Then you can either tag them in your update or send them a personalised message. People like to be remembered and saying thank you is a good way to build rapport.
- Acknowledge your own colleagues and team. If you’re managing a team, they might be new to remote working and feeling anxious or putting in extra hours to keep the business running. A simple ‘thank you’ and some public recognition for all their hard work can mean a lot. It’s imperative that your whole team takes advantage of networking on LinkedIn and that your profiles reflect the brand. LinkedIn is as much about B2B connections as it is B2C.
- Be helpful: The people who get the most out of LinkedIn tend to be those who take time to offer guidance and advice, share useful and interesting ideas, and are ready to help when people have questions on specialist subjects. Simply pointing people to reliable sources of information can be enough to show that you are an expert in your sector or industry. If you find a conversation going well, you can invite the other person to join you in a Skype or Zoom chat to go into more details or explore other topics.
LinkedIn is a dynamic marketplace of ideas. It is where people go for inspiration and genuine thought leadership – as well as to keep abreast of industry news. Building your sphere of influence will not only help you test your thinking with other experts but will also open up new career and business prospects.
If you would like help with your profile simply call us on 020 7100 6656 or email.