LinkedIn can be an incredible tool for networking in the digital world but it’s even more powerful when you combine it with efforts to network offline. Use these tips to maximize the potential of LinkedIn following your next networking event.
Search for Your New Contacts.
Collect the pile of business cards you’ve received and sit at your computer. Separate the contacts so you’re only looking at the cards of people you’d like to do business with or the people you’d like to stay in touch with. Go to LinkedIn, look them up and send out connection requests. Make sure these are all people you’ve actually communicated with at the networking event. You should already know the people you try to connect with on LinkedIn and you don’t want to seem as if you’re trying to misrepresent yourself.
Note: When you send a connection request, there’s an opportunity to customize a message. Never send out a connection request using the generic message LinkedIn provides. Customize it to briefly share who you are, how you know one another and that you look forward to using LinkedIn as one of the methods for you to keep in touch.
Look for Shared Connections.
Once your contacts have accepted your requests, take a look at their connections. Do you have any shared connections? Maybe you have some connections that you had no idea about before. This can spell an opportunity for further solidifying your networking efforts with this individual.
Check Out Their Groups.
If these are people you want to connect with, the chances are high that you have similar professional interests. Take a few moments to peruse their profiles to see the groups they’re involved in and the influencers they follow. You just might come across a group that piques your own interest or learn about an important influencer in business or even your specific industry that you can follow.
Find Out Their Skills and Specialities.
Maybe your contacts’ talents go even further beyond than what you were able to discuss at your networking mixer. Peruse their profiles for a clear idea of what they do, what they can do and what their interests are. It’s a great way to brainstorm mutual possibilities as well as a way to be able to connect them with others who you think they should meet.
Always remember that networking is a two way street – it’s about the needs of everyone involved. Also, the more often you connect the right people with one another, the more solid contacts you’ll have of your own!