Steven Burda’s claim to fame is being the most connected person on LinkedIn. With over 50,000 connections, the business-networking site is a large part of his life. Here he gives us some tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is great, but it’s also hard work. You need to maintain an online presence to make the most of it, so I’ve put together five tips to get you started. And yes, it is hard work, but also remember to have fun with it.
Tip1: Individual attention
People often ask me, “Steven, what’s your secret?” The truth is it’s not a secret. I’ll tell anyone who asks, and if you give it some though, it’s common sense anyway. Networking isn’t about sending the same email out to the 10,000 people on your database. It’s about individual attention. People buy lists of people or send mailers out to entire groups, but that’s not going to get you results. Gaining a presence on social networking happens over time, not overnight.
Tip 2: Talk to strangers
Some people are shy about pestering their friends and family on business networking sites, but don’t worry about it. Connecting with friends and family is a great way of broadening your horizons because you will see your friends’ connections and your friends’ connections’ connections, and more importantly, they will see you. We were all brought up with ‘stranger danger’ and got taught by our parents to never talk to strangers. But there’s an expression that says “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet,” and the same goes for business associates. Your friend’s connection’s connection may be your future employee.
Tip 3: Work at it
People think that signing up to business-networking sites is enough. That once you have a profile, interested parties will find you. Sadly, that is not the case. You have to work on your profile consistently. Update your CV, add courses you have done, join groups that are relevant to you and follow people you look up to. And keep making new connections. You never know when you might connect with someone who could help your business in the future.
Tip 4:Give and Take
LinkedIn is a great business tool, but remember, it’s just the vehicle. You are the driver. You have to drive it forward and make it work for you. Offer something to the people you reach out to, whether it is to promote their business through your database or advertising their product on your website. Don’t just follow anybody and everybody. Select people to follow whom you have a vested interest in, and then let them know about it. Flattery goes a long way, so tell them how interesting you find their posts and how relevant they are to you and your business, and you are much more likely to get a response.
Tip 5: Build Relationships
This may seem obvious, but building relationships is essentially what networking is all about. Put yourself out there and be interested when people make an effort to offer you information about their service or product. Social media is becoming more and more popular by the day, and as it does, the competition gets more and more fierce. This is why you have to embrace your unique selling point. Exploit it. There is only one you, and only you can give people your skill set.
Steven Burda is not only the most connected person on LinkedIn, he is also our resident business-networking guru. If you have any questions about LinkedIn, or any other type of social media, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will answer them for you in the following issue of The Best You.
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