Networking is all about identifying Friendly Forces (allies and colleagues), creating trusting relationships and helping each other achieve your goals. You can do that on LinkedIn!
Did you know that LinkedIn is meant to help people connect and build professional relationships with others on the platform? It was created to help professionals network. Did you know that over half of the adult population, close to 17 million people in Canada is on LinkedIn?
Networking on LinkedIn can help job seekers find their ideal job. It can also help professionals find people to ask for advice, and help entrepreneurs find others to collaborate with as they seek bigger contracts than they could handle on their own.
A virtual network has the advantage of having a much larger geographic reach: with LinkedIn in 200 countries, you can grow your network to a global scale or you can keep it local, it’s totally up to you.
The fact is you’re likely to meet people on LinkedIn that you wouldn’t meet at in person networking events. You can nurture your professional relationships using messages, and by liking, commenting on, and sharing posts.
A cautionary note, there are a few people who treat LinkedIn like a dating app. Feel free to ignore them, it’s much easier to do this online than in person! There are also people who are doing the equivalent of cold-calling potential clients by asking to connect, and then immediately trying to sell you something. Feel free to message back "no thanks" or ignore them too.
The majority of the people on LinkedIn are genuinely seeking connections for professional networking purposes.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve recommended people I know IRL and on LinkedIn to others who were looking for someone specific to take on part time gigs in their organization. And I’ve introduced people to each other who may be the right fit for collaborating on a big contract. Early this morning I shared a job posting that one of the people in my network posted for her growing HR company.
Solo-preneurs like me, can find the people we’d like to work with on LinkedIn. This is particularly effective when someone you know and trust introduces you to someone else who could be the strategic partner you’re looking for.
LinkedIn may also be used as a place to learn about companies and what their corporate culture is actually like. For example, when I present sessions to organizations with a LinkedIn presence, I’ll go and lurk, scrolling through their LinkedIn company posts to learn what they share, and if their employees self-identify as working for that employer.
If you’re still feeling like you’re stuck at home, or if you’re feeling like it’s safer to stay away from large gatherings and IRL networking opportunities, then consider scrolling through LinkedIn and making connections there! Even when things open up and there are more IRL networking opportunities, you can add the people you meet face to face to your LinkedIn network, helping you stay connected to your growing network. (For digital immigrants, IRL is the acronym for in real life)
Pro Tip: Always add a personal note when you invite someone to join your LinkedIn network. Sharing how you found or met that person, and why you’d like to connect with them will help them choose to accept your invitation.
If you’re interested in learning how to really leverage LinkedIn as an entrepreneur, follow Petra Fisher on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.