Monday, June 30, 2014

Looking for Linkedin Connections? Here's Where to Find Them!

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In day to day dealings with others, one of the most asked questions is:

How did you find all your connections on Linkedin? 
The answer is there is a number of different ways at gaining connections. But before that a word of caution.

CAUTION!: Linkedin works on an invitation basis to connect.  Like Facebook, Linkedin requires you to send an invitation to the person you want to connect with and that other person must accept.  Think of it as a party invitation where you send an invitation to those you wish to join the party and they have to RSVP back to you to accept.  The danger on Linkedin and Facebook is if the receiver of the invitation has the right to either "Accept" the invitation or ignore it with the option to classify the invitation as spam. If you get to many classifications of spam on your invitations, Linkedin may restrict your invitation privileges or revoke your Linkedin account all together.

Account Setup: A good spot to start is right at the beginning of setting up your account in the first place. After creating the login name and password, Linkedin walks you through several steps including choosing a profile picture, filling out your profile and who you may be interested in connecting too. Take the time to go through and invite those you already know.

Add Your Profile Photo:  Make sure add your profile photo.  This is especially important if you have a common name where there may be pages of search results to go through before others can find you.  Be careful in selecting your profile photo though, as you do not want to seem unprofessional or hard to find in your profile photo!

Complete Your Profile: If you didn't do so at the account setup, go back and edit your account sections. The more you fill out of your profile means you are easier to find when performing a search. Especially important areas are location (city and country) and previous positions & companies you have worked for as these are the most identifiable areas that others remember you for.  Overall, the more information provided the easier you will be to find in both search results and confirmation by others after they found your page.

Employment:  Past and current employment is a great spot to search for connections.  Think of current and past managers, supervisors and coworkers.  Search each connection out one by one.  Review the results carefully to make sure you have the correct one and send the invitations.  Current and past clients that you have interacted with are excellent as well.

Friends & Family: Linkedin may be have a reputation for being a more professional network but friends and family should not be missed.  Friends and family typically are the most likely to accept your invitations to connect as they know you the best.  These people are great to give your number of connections a quick boost, especially at the beginning stages.

Alumni: Linkedin makes it easy to find past school friends and others you may remember.  At the very top of Linkedin select the "Connections" tab and then "Find Alumni".  On the next page feel free to adjust the dates to your starting and ending to narrow down the results. Feel free to sort and sift however you feel as nothing will happen until you select the person you want to connect with and work through the invitation sending process.   Tip: If you've been out of touch for a while, include a note about where the possible connection might remember you from like being a roommate in first year.

Website links: One of the major mistakes by both businesses and individuals is not to advertise their social media availability on their websites.  If you have a business or personal website or blog, use a social media icon to advertise that visitors can find you on Linkedin and other social media sites.  Style wise there are lots of social media icons (images) that you can use with options from designing your own to selecting ones from a website.  A great website for finding your own is Softicons.com which provides a plethora of not only social media icons but others that may also be useful elsewhere.

Networking: After a networking session make sure to search the people you met on Linkedin. By sending a connection request you remain top of mind for that connection.  As well, it helps the connection to review your profile and learn more about you than perhaps you were able to discuss.

Who Are Others Connecting To?: After obtaining connections via a various combination of the above, investigate who others are connected to. Watch the news stream on your Linkedin Homepage where it lists something like John Smith is now connected to Jane Sunderland.  Many times I have found others I know by watching these connection notifications.

People You May Know: On your Linkedin Homepage at the top right hand column there is a bolded heading of  "People You May Know" with at least 3 names and profile photos.  Go down to the bottom and select "See more".  On the next page will be a whole listing of names and profile photos in contact card format.  Scroll over, without clicking, and notice in the top right hand corner an "X".  If you click on the "X" it removes that person from the listing.  But if you scroll over and click on a name you can open the Linkedin profile page of the person listed and thus able to confirm you have the right person and connect with them.  Work your way through either removing people you don't know from the list or connecting to them.  Once you have complete the list, it takes about 24 hours on average to refresh with new possibilities.

There are no secrets to growing the number of connections on Linkedin.  Those who have 500+ connections have done so over time using the methods above. This growing network will become your latest rolodex of experts if you need products or services.  As well, in reverse, by having a large network on Linkedin, your connections will keep you top of mind to recommend to others or use themselves when needed.

Need help in getting started on Linkedin?  Suddcorp Solutions has the writing and teaching background to create and make your Linkedin Profile shine!