Covid pushed most of us to reconsider how we socialize. Some of us had to work or take classes from home, some of us lost touch with old friends, and most of us had to use the internet to connect with friends and loved ones. But, if there is one thing Covid has shown us, it's clear that social media and online connection will be vital to the job-hunting and self-promotion process in the future. But how do we connect with the right people, and what online etiquette do we need to know? Here are our five top tips on how to network on LinkedIn and other social media platforms!
1) Post Responsibly
Social media is a minefield. You should be authentic, and that extends to telling people what you believe and standing up for what is right. However, always think before you post. LinkedIn is meant as a professional networking and job-hunting platform, so only post about things which you consider relevant and appropriate to your professional life. If you would be embarrassed to be asked about it in an interview, don’t post it! Your possible new connections will check out your page, so make the page reflect who you are as a professional.
2) Have Standards
This part is entirely up to your judgment. What do you want your network to do for you? What are you willing to do for your network? Do you want to communicate with them regularly, or do you just want to have some connections in your back pocket? All of these will inform how you connect with people and what sorts of people you are willing to add to your network. I’ve occasionally added people to my LinkedIn network only to see that they are very unprofessional and aggressive in their posts. You don’t need the biggest network out there to be successful — what you need is a network that will help you reach your goals. Follow people who will give you what you want, connect with people you will help. You can afford to be choosy.
3) Check Your Connections’ Connections
Now that you have your expectations and goals set, look through your connection recommendations. Check out their pages before you contact them, and focus on people you share a connection with. It's easiest to connect with people through other people — that way, they can always ask their connection about who you are and if you are a good person to contact.
4) Be Willing to Chat
You can always just click the “connect” button and hope for the best, but that doesn’t make for a strong working relationship. Instead, message them first. Mention who you are, any relevant connections between you, and why you are interested in connecting with them as an individual. Highlight any ways you can help each other, such as “I love connecting with other people in Tech, and I hear you’re moving to my area! If you want, I can send you a list of companies in the area which I know are hiring.”
5) Push For Others (And Yourself!)
“Treat others how you want to be treated” is good advice for some people, but others need to treat themselves with the same care and attentiveness they give to others. No matter which camp you fall into, help your connections and yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, or a referral, and don’t be afraid to give it. So long as you have a good, well-cultivated network, you should be comfortable going out of your way for people, knowing they will do the same for you. And, when they are slow to offer help, stick to it! Your connections deserve help and respect, but so do you!
It is hard to build professional relationships online. No amount of tips and tricks will make up for hands-on experience. But, if you want more advice, or to talk to us further, check out our LinkedIn and our networking e-book! We woule who you are and how you are putting yourself out there!