Building and nurturing your professional network should be something you are always working on. Having a large network can open doors for you that would otherwise remain locked. At any stage of your career it is not only about your experience and your capabilities, it is also about who you know.
Golden Rule of Networking:
Knowing the right people and fostering your relationships with them can bring amazing opportunities. Having a large network is not only about concentrating on what it can do for your business. It can also be beneficial for you in terms of education. There are many ways you can learn from the professionals in your circle, especially these days when most people have figured out the power of content and sharing what they know with others. With all the social media platforms and live streaming apps available you can learn from the best and add value to their conversations in real time.
In this article, I will do my best to show you some ways you can start growing and nurturing your network right now. A great way to start is by inviting people that are relevant to you and your business to join your professional network on LinkedIn. Once you’ve connected you will receive notifications about their actions. These notifications allow you to make an appearance, add value to their conversations, build your personal brand, nurture your existing relationships, and also expand your network.
[Tweet “People will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” ~ @BobBurg “]
While researching this topic, I came across a great article written by Forbes article, Daniel stresses the fact that, “it’s been always hammered into our heads that LinkedIn is the the best and most effective platform for business.” We all know that LinkedIn is only one of the many platforms we use. It’s the most professional one of all of them., the President of BroadSuite Media Group, and a Forbes columnist. In his
Our LinkedIn profile is the place where we keep our stricter mask on. We make sure our profile picture is professional and it’s where we mostly talk about our career accomplishments. Most of us also have Facebook which is a place where we let loose a bit. Perhaps we are more careful about who we let into our Facebook world because it is also the place where we add our family members, old time friends, etc. We tend to share a little more about ourselves, about what our hobbies and passions are. Facebook was also the place where Daniel conducted the research for his article inspired by a recent study that revealed that LinkedIn might no longer be the best platform of choice of most sales professionals.
Many industry professionals chimed in and share their opinions and experience with what social sites have been the most effective for them., our founder and CEO, commented on Daniel’s post sharing his point of view:
“LinkedIn is like going into the lobby of your business contact. Twitter is more like going for a walk or taking them to lunch or a ballgame. Facebook is like having dinner in their home. All are great ways to connect. You need at least two of them to be effective. If I was restricted to one I’d choose Twitter. It’s the most relevantly natural way to authentically connect in a human personal way.”
Jon’s explanation of the different networking benefits of different social media platforms shows how important it is to be constantly working on developing new and fostering existing relationships. Let’s now explore the lobby of your business and see how you can use it to explore new possibilities, and start growing your network today so you can concentrate on turning these new connections into relationships tomorrow (perhaps by leveraging all the other social platforms).
One tip before we dive in: Always personalize your LinkedIn invitation. Show the person you want to connect with that you care. Do your research prior to clicking “connect”. Take few seconds to explain why you want add them to your LinkedIn network and why the connection will be beneficial.
Let’s now explore five ways how you can mine your existing LinkedIn network for gold.
Browse Your Network’s Networks
Select the person you are already connected to and whose network you want to explore. Click on the number of their connection on their profile.
A pop-up window with a list of connections will show up. You can hover over their name in the list and use the LinkedIn pop-up window to find out more about them. It shows you Lori’s title, gives you the option to connect with her and view her profile. It also shows how many connections you have in common which can be a great conversation starter when you start crafting a personalized invite.
Using the LinkedIn pop up window is only one way you can go when finding more info about the person you want to connect with. You can always ask Mr. Google and surf on his waves for a little bit. Opening another tab and typing in the person’s name in order to find more information about them takes time. The chances are that you will get sidetracked and never come back to this task. This is exactly why we developed our smart contacts widget here at Nimble. Just by hovering over a name (anywhere on the internet) it starts surfing the waves of the internet for you.
It not only saves time but also gathers all the information it’s found about the person you want to connect with into a summary giving you enough insights to connect with them in a way that seems natural and shows that you cared enough to do your homework.
To circle back to talking about the importance of nurturing your relationships on multiple platforms. You can follow Lori on Twitter, walk in her Twitter feed, and add value to the conversations she’s having with her community. All this without having to leave LinkedIn’s interface.
2) Who’s Viewed Your Profile
Click “Profile” and “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” to start exploring who to connect with.
In this case, Ivana is already connected to several of my colleagues which gives me a great opportunity to connect with her. I am still going to click the “smart summary” option to find out a little more about her before shooting my invite over. I might want to find out what her alma mater is, what topics she’s interested and influential in, where she lives, and what her hometown is. I see that Ivana is originally from Serbia which already makes for a great conversation starter as I am a born and raised European myself.
3) Who’s Commenting on Your Connection’s Status Updates?
Your contacts do business with other people like them. The chances are that your contact’s contacts are also relevant to you and your business and therefore you might want to connect with them as well.
As you can see on the screenshot below, Eric wrote and shared an interesting article about the power of saying no. I am already connected to Eric as we share common areas of interest for social media marketing and technology. The chances are the people that are in his network and got interested in the same article as me are also interesting to me and I’d like to invite them to my network. I can bring up the Nimble app to find out a little more about each of them which can help me with personalizing my LinkedIn invitation. I see that Jon is an avid blogger and is also passionate about everything social media. Besides managing all our company’s social media profiles I also manage our blogging community and write myself. This kind of information should be enough to craft a nice and personalized connection invite.
4) The Power of Professional LinkedIn Groups
Are you a member of professional groups on LinkedIn? If not, go ahead and do it right now. These groups give you the opportunity to share valuable information with other professionals in your industry, connect, and develop relationships with them. For instance, I am a member of a Digital Marketing group that has over 800K members. The opportunities are endless, right? 😉
5) Mine LinkedIn Pulse Articles
Explore what LinkedIn Pulse articles your connections share and look for engagement opportunities. I discovered this article in my feed that Tim shared. I am not personally connected to the author of the article (Bob), but I really liked what his post was about. We share common passions for social media, social selling, and networking.
I might want to keep exploring other articles before connecting with Bob so I will bring up the Nimble widget and schedule a reminder for myself. I can also write up a note or grab Bob’s Twitter handle and share his article with my audience.
These are just some ways that have proven to be effective when growing my own professional network. Please feel free to share your tips and trick with me in the comments 😉
If you ever wondered about the steps you should take after you have finally connected with all these people, join networking expert Jeff Sheehan on a free webinar where he will discuss with Nimble’s CEO Jon Ferrara “The Seven Steps of Trusted Relationships”.
(Can’t make it? Sign up anyways and we will send you the recording)
Have a great day!