Getting the most out of your LinkedIn network

Networking guru June Cory shares her experience of growing your professional relationships through networking and her tips for turning handshakes at events into solid connections on LinkedIn and how to ensure your posts are useful.
Mon 8th Apr 2019

Picture the scene, its 2007 and I have just been introduced to the frankly bizarre world of networking in St Albans. Introducing yourself to complete strangers with a cheery, “So what do you do?” Elevator pitches. Trying to discreetly read name badges. Scanning the room. Cooked breakfast at 6am. #donotgeteggdownyourfront

In at number 1 was #hardcore BNI – the frenetic atmosphere of a Moonies convention with all the pressure of a Weightwatchers meeting. I loved it.

At the other end of the scale was the Chamber of Commerce – many, many men in pinstripe suits and the smell of decades of solid relationships. I loved it.

I’d come back to the office having shaken hands with a dozen people, and pockets full of business cards.

Not keen to do a cheesy follow up email or call and ‘say sorry we didn’t get chance to talk’; booking 1-2-1s with everyone would be too time consuming but I knew that the value was in the follow up.

Thank the Lord for LinkedIn – your little black book, the old boy/girl club, your Rolodex, your ‘go to’ guys, your suppliers, your referrers and introducers, your pipeline, your client base - Your Network.

All in one place.

Back then there were 5 million active users in the UK, now, 12 years on there are over 25 million – that’s 62% of the working population.

How can you really get the most out of LinkedIn to build your relationships with the people you meet and stay in people’s minds once the post-networking LinkedIn invitation has been accepted?

Here are some ideas of how you can add value to your connections on LinkedIn and make sure you become the go-to person when they next need your advice, opinion, time or expertise.

How to get the most out of LinkedIn:

  • Add some value – share an article, start a debate, educate and inform, challenge my thinking
  • Use an image or a video – look at how your post looks on a mobile if you need convincing of this
  • Link back to your website whenever possible – that’s where the magic will happen.
  • Be authentic – this is your business persona; if you wear a tee shirt and jeans to work, don’t be in a suit in your profile picture.
  • Use a professional headshot not a cropped family picture or logo.
  • Weave your keywords through your profile to maximise SEO potential
  • Write in the first person, this is not your CV.
  • Think carefully about your title, endorsements, post regularly with rich, varied content; you can use Google alerts for ideas but be discerning.
  • Be open to connection requests from strangers; consider whether you would be comfortable having a cup of tea and a chat with this person offline as a benchmark.
  • When you want to connect to someone, add a personal message, like you would in real life.
  • Be disciplined – I don’t allow myself my first cup of (essential) coffee until I have posted on Linked. Every week day since 2007. Yep.
  • Be generous with your time and effort, read other peoples’ content and engage – a like, comment, share is valuable online currency.
  • Understand hashtags and what part they play, when in doubt, don’t.
  • Connect with people online who you met offline, grow your network organically.
  • Monitor traffic quantity and quality from LinkedIn via your Google Analytics account.