By Anita Hampl
Is “networking” one of your words for the New Year? If so, LinkedIn should be part of your game plan. Need an icebreaker at the coffee line or at a table of strangers at a conference? Suggest that everyone connect on LinkedIn! You can bring higher exposure to each other before the keynotes even begin.
Here are 8 ways to grow your engaged professional network.
First, be sure that you have the most current LinkedIn mobile app installed on your smartphone and that Bluetooth is turned on.
1. QR codes are cool again
You can use the QR (quick response) icon on the far right of the search bar in the LinkedIn mobile app to share profiles in person.
Tap this, and tap “My code” to reveal your unique QR code. Ask another person to open their QR icon to “Scan,” and to hover their device over your QR code. This will redirect them to your LinkedIn profile, where they can invite you to connect.
2. Scan the crowd: Who is nearby?
LinkedIn members who consciously want to find and make connections will use the “Find Nearby” feature at a live event. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect and ideally meet face-to-face.
At the bottom of your LinkedIn app screen, tap “My Network.”
A blue circle “Connect” button will appear on the lower right side. (It does not matter whose photos are showing at this point.)
Tap it and then tap “Find nearby.”
A list will appear of members who are within 100 feet of you who have also turned on this feature. From that list, send messages or invitations to connect, mentioning that you are here at the same event.
3. (New in October 2019) LinkedIn Events: Reconnaissance made simple
Now anyone may create an event (in-person or virtual), invite their 1st-degree connections, and manage invitations and RSVPs. Event organizers can create buzz and conversation among attendees prior to an event, tease them with videos, and poll them on topics.
If you have been invited to an event, the invitation will be in the “My Network” tab. Once you accept an invite, a link will appear in the left-hand panel of your home page. From there, you can see the list of attendees, review event details, and engage in pre-event conversations. Connecting with people in advance can lead to beneficial face-to-face meetings at the event.
From Your Desk or Kitchen Table
Do you have some incredible clients, vendors, and colleagues? Look for similar people to connect to and begin relationships with. Or let them find you more easily so they can hire you.
4. Find more people like your favorite connections
The right-third of most individual profiles on LinkedIn has a section entitled “People Also Viewed.”
This can be a goldmine for prospecting. It’s not unlike the “customers also viewed” on Amazon or “customers also loved” on Macys.com.
5. Let recruiters and/or the public know that you are “Open to Job Opportunities”
You can clearly show that you are looking for a new job on the prominent, valuable space right beneath your profile photo. You can specify part-time, contract, etc. preferences as well as locations.
Better yet, you can restrict this information to Recruiters if you don’t want the entire LinkedIn membership to see it.
6. (Rolling out now) Let people know that you are “Open for Business”
A similar function is now available for freelancers and small business owners, called “Open for Business.” It is visible to everyone.
You may choose a business focus (Design, for example) and then select from a (limited) list of associated services that you provide (Animation, Video Editing, UX Research …).
LinkedIn has begun rolling this out to individuals who they have identified as eligible. If you have not yet been offered it, join the waitlist at https://business.linkedin.com/grow/waitlist.
7. Remind people who you are: Endorse for Skills
When you endorse your connections for skills, you help them in the LinkedIn search algorithms. You also add to your own visibility, as your name and profile photo will be displayed and will be clickable.
It’s simple to endorse someone for a skill, just click on a button next to the skill. Often people will reciprocate and endorse you for skills, adding another bit of visibility to both of you.
Note: LinkedIn recently added a feature that asks a few questions when you click/endorse someone. They use this information internally, and answering these questions is optional. If you DO answer them, the recipient is unaware of this.
8. Really ingratiate yourself: Give a Recommendation
The ultimate way to honor a LinkedIn connection (other than hiring them, I suppose) is to write a thoughtful recommendation that they can display on their profile. Recs are initiated, written, edited, and accepted within the LinkedIn system before they are published. This limits fraud or other misunderstandings.
A Recommendation tells the world that you were pleased with their services or work enough to put your reputation on the line AND take the time to write about it.
Bonus: a Rec that you write will appear on your own profile as “Given,” as well as appearing (with links to your profile) on the recipient’s profile.
Have fun as you grow your network with the help of LinkedIn in 2020.
About the Author
Anita Hampl, THE Short Attention Span Writer, helps entrepreneurs, consultants, sales execs, and job seekers stand out among their competition online, especially on LinkedIn.
She knows that most people have had some pretty interesting dips and curves in their careers. Her gently nosey manner lets her grab disparate threads and weave them into narratives that entice the right people to discover her clients.
She welcomes your connection request at https://www.linkedin.com/in/anitahampl/.