Many people feel awkward connecting with others through social media. These tools are still new to us and we are all trying to figure out how to make it work with our individual communication style. Here are some tips that will help you reach out to potential contacts in a way that will build meaningful connections.
Join Groups. Find some groups related to your industry and join them. Join a few because they vary significantly in how useful they will be for you. Participate in the discussions and when you see someone with whom you have something in common, reach out to them. LinkedIn groups are an excellent way to connect with people in your field.
Personalize Everything. When you’re on LinkedIn, you are given options to send out pre-written invitations and requests. DON’T USE THEM! They are impersonal and most people will treat them like spam. Instead, take the time to write your own message and demonstrate that you are willing to invest time into the relationship.
Make Genuine Connections. Don’t just try to get as many connections as possible; focus on the quality of your connections. Only reach out to people with whom you’ve had some contact with or have a shared interest. Once you have made the connection, nurture it by keeping in touch.
Be an Amazing Contact. Did your mother ever tell you the age-old truth, “If you want to have a friend, then be a friend.” It also relates to networking; to build a strong network, you need to become a valuable contact. Find ways that you can be of use to your contacts, forward them opportunities that may be of interest to them and send them any relevant articles that you come across. Take an interest in them as a person and make it clear that you care about them beyond just what they can do for you.
When we’re on social media, it is easy to forget that there are people behind all of those LinkedIn profiles. If you take a step back and try to actually reach out to your contacts, your social media presence will be far more effective.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo Courtesy of JSCreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)