Beyond the Zoom call – how executives can use LinkedIn to stay connected
Online networking is still the order of the day and it’s never been more vital. When uncertainty is rife and no one knows what the future may bring, building and maintaining your personal and professional network is one of the best ways to future-proof your career.
The next few months (before in-person meetings start happening again) are the perfect opportunity to get even more creative on social media and augment our digital networking. If we can keep communicating, sharing knowledge and supporting each other, we’ll emerge from this crisis in much better shape.
LinkedIn is the platform of choice for professionals with an incredible 760 million members across the globe. It is also one of the biggest publishing platforms in the world; with most of its content created (and peer reviewed) by its members. Simply put, LinkedIn is much more than a static CV site. If you set up a basic profile and just forget about it, you may as well have not bothered. You won’t build your network and you’ll miss out on stellar opportunities.
5 ways to get noticed and build a network on LinkedIn
Here are our top five tips for staying digitally connected, reducing your sense of business isolation and making the most of opportunities to support yourself and others:
1. Overhaul your profile content
You’d be amazed at how many senior professionals just haven’t got around to creating an up-to-date, fully completed and professional profile. Having an impactful heading, powerful summary, your profile 100% complete and optimised for keywords will help you to stand out, and encourage other like-minded professionals and recruiters to find, connect and network with you. Think strategically about your content and focus on your achievements, rather than simply summarising your career history. Including links to your published work and presentations will also create a more engaging and informative profile.
2. Be active and engaged – LinkedIn is not a static platform
Look for professionally run discussion groups, where you can engage in virtual networking with your peers. These may be generalist groups focused on a particular region, such as your local chambers of commerce, or specialist knowledge sharing groups, such as those run by business associations and industry federations. Start with organisations that you already have a connection with in real life – and invite your contacts to join you in groups you find useful or interesting.
3. Provide help and support to others
As with face to face networking it is important to show interest and share ideas with our colleagues, it’s no different on LinkedIn. Remember to like and share interesting posts from your connections. Think about who is in your network and might benefit from hearing about an interesting opportunity. Then you can either tag them in your update or send them a personalised message. People like to be remembered and saying thank you is a good way to build rapport.
4. Give your colleagues a boost
If you’re managing a team, they’re likely to be feeling a mixture of isolation, fatigue and anxiety after a year of lockdowns and huge uncertainty. When they’re putting in extra hours to keep the business running or striving to deliver projects and service clients in difficult circumstances, a simple ‘thank you’ and some public recognition for all their hard work can mean a lot. It’s imperative that your whole team takes advantage of networking on LinkedIn and that all their profiles are consistent and reflect the brand. LinkedIn is as much about B2B connections as it is B2C.
5. Position yourself as a thought leader
The people who get the most out of LinkedIn tend to be those who take time to offer guidance and advice, share useful and interesting ideas, and are ready to help when people have questions on specialist subjects. Simply pointing people to reliable sources of information can be enough to show that you are an expert in your sector or industry. If you find a conversation going well, you can invite the other person to join you in a Teams or Zoom chat to go into more details or explore other topics.
There are also lots of opportunities to publish your own content in the form of articles and videos. You could even try out the recently launched LinkedIn Stories mobile app. This is a bit like Instagram where you can share images or videos that last just 24 hours. It’s maybe not for everyone but many business leaders are now using it to showcase their knowledge, share event updates in real time or host Q&A’s.
LinkedIn is a dynamic marketplace of ideas. It is where people go for inspiration and genuine thought leadership – as well as to keep abreast of industry news. Building your sphere of influence will not only help you test your thinking with other experts but will also open up new career and business prospects.