LinkedIn can be a very powerful weapon in your business-networking arsenal. It boasts over 225 million users and potential people to network and do business with. However, this weapon is only powerful when used properly and to its full potential. Avoid these common mistakes made by many LinkedIn users that run the risk of rendering this powerful tool virtually ineffective.
Don’t try to connect with the entire world. Many people’s first instinct on LinkedIn is to connect with as many people as possible, no matter what business they are in. This can actually hinder your networking ability and can also have you losing credibility with those on LinkedIn that are in your specific business. Instead, search around for people in your area doing the kind of work that you do, or someone who may be in need of your services. For example, if you are a catering service in Chicago, it would be a good idea to seek out wedding and event planners in the Chicago area. Connecting with construction workers in Ontario, on the other hand (although they may be very nice people), will not get you anywhere in terms of business-networking.
Don’t be a robot. Robots may be cool in movies, but in business they are no fun. Networking is about establishing and maintaining a relationship with someone before you ask for help (and robots can’t really form relationships).When you find someone you would like to connect with, take the time (literally, it will take two minutes) to type out a quick introductory message. Say who you are and why you would like to connect in one or two sentences. This establishes something more personal and begins a conversation that could eventually turn into business or business collaboration.
Don’t stand still. Once you’ve created and filled out your profile, make sure you don’t just let it sit. If you take the time to get dressed up for a party then stand in the corner behind the door all night, you end up a boring and ineffective party guest that probably didn’t leave the party with any new friends. The same thing applies to social media. After creating your profile it’s time to share. Share articles, ideas, commentary –really anything pertaining to your business. Join groups and get yourself out there! Let the world see what you are all about and what you’ve got to offer.
If you avoid these “rookie mistakes” on LinkedIn, then you will find it to be one of the more powerful tools in your business-networking arsenal. And if you feel like you’re having trouble, well, we’re always here to help!
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