Do you remember the card game Concentration? Or maybe you called it Memory or Pairs?
To start, all the cards were face down in rows. You chose two cards to turn over. If you made a match, finding two aces for example, you kept those cards and could turn over two more. If you did not make a match, your turn ended and the next person tried.
The person with the most matches won.
Early on the game was a real memory tester, because you had to remember the cards that you saw based on a single short exposure.
As the game went on though, each card was revealed multiple times as you and your opponents continued to search for matches. Every time you saw a card, the chances of you remembering it when you needed it increased.
The same principle applies to your network of contacts.
The more often you are in touch, the more likely your contacts will remember you when they need your services.
LinkedIn updates are a free and easy way to stay in touch often.
By now most of you know about LinkedIn and have established a profile there. But many of you are missing out on the real power of LinkedIn: staying in front of your connections regularly and making new connections via updates. It is after all a social medium.
Here are 15 tips on using LinkedIn updates to grow and strengthen your network:
- Have a LinkedIn marketing strategy. Take time to delineate the image you want to cultivate. Establishing expertise in your industry is a good start.
- Pass the “so what?” test. Each update should have a purpose, provide value and be relevant to your audience. Save thoughts on the weather or on the unusual breakfast you ate for Facebook.
- Stay professional. If you would not (or should not) share it at a networking cocktail hour, do not share it on LinkedIn.
- Include a link. According to QuickSprout, posts with links experience 200 percent more engagement.
- Share the spotlight. If you are creating your own content, by all means post it. But also post content from connections and sources that you trust.
- Select content wisely. Think of yourself as a curator for established connections and for new connections you would like to reach. Good update material sources include:
- Your non-sales-y content (like a newsletter article!);
- Trade publications;
- General business publications;
- Tasteful cartoons or other images;
- Articles you were quoted in;
- Events you plan to attend that would be of interest to your network;
- Meaningful quotes.
- Introduce your update. Briefly highlight its meaningful aspect to start a conversation.
- Congratulate someone. Acknowledging someone’s new job, achievement, honor, award, or work anniversary is a generous way to share the spotlight and a non-solicitous way to get their attention.
- A note of caution on work anniversaries: LinkedIn will prompt you with notices of work anniversaries. Be sure you are current on your contact’s situation before congratulating them. LinkedIn’s program runs automatically and does not review the content of their status nor does it account for those who have not updated their status. I have erroneously congratulated someone in the process of leaving their job. I have also received a prompt for someone’s “1 year anniversary at unemployed.”
- Comment on and “like” others’ updates. This is being social at its best. Your comment and like make the update show up on your LinkedIn feed. And when others comment on your update, your update shows up in theirs. I have gained many new connections and followers this way.
- Respond. Acknowledging someone’s comment to your update is a social courtesy. It also boosts the value of your update and prolongs its life.
- Announce a job opening. LinkedIn is an efficient way to notify your network when you are looking to fill a position. And it works. Via updates this week I connected an acquaintance looking for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with a CFO I met at a Superbowl party, and recommended a boutique Human Resources recruiting firm to a General Manager looking for a Human Resources Manager.
- Post regularly. QuickSprout reports that posting 20 times per month helps you reach 60 percent of your network. But if 20 times per month seems daunting, start slowly. I began with a once-a-week reminder for a couple of months. Then I increased to twice per week. From there I found myself naturally posting more often as I came across articles of interest and posts that I wanted to respond to.
- Post before noon if possible. Though QuickSprout reports more engagement that way, posting when you can is better than not posting at all.
- Schedule updates. Apps such as Buffer and software like Hootsuite can help you schedule updates if frequent LinkedIn checking does not appeal to you.
- Don’t schedule all of your updates. Scheduled updates make for one-way communication unless you go to LinkedIn occasionally to engage and comment.
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