Our methods of networking have changed dramatically in recent weeks. As a growing number of professionals are working from home, it may seem impossible to forge relationships with others in the industry. And it’s no secret that many sales are made based on relationships.
Although we’re unable to meet face to face, or gather in groups larger than 10 (for now), we can remain connected to our peers and network with other professionals by utilizing the tools we already have — like social media. LinkedIn is the most effective social network for networking, career researching and selling.
For LinkedIn to be a useful tool, it must be implemented properly. Whether you’re new to the site or you’ve had an account for a decade, auditing your profile regularly can be one of the best investments you can make to your professional brand. And I’ve outlined the best tricks to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
- Start with the basics. Your LinkedIn should include a professional, well-lit headshot that showcases your vibe but comes across as genuine. You’ll also need a concise, compelling profile headline that teases your professional experience. Include your contact information, nearest metropolitan city (this helps with geofence algorithms!) and any additional media assets that showcase your experience (such as website links, videos or presentations).
- Focus on the details. Utilize the “About” section on your LinkedIn page as a hook. What information will be most influential in sparking conversations? Then update your job details, both past and current, and include brief descriptions that share your strengths, success stories and talents. Have you won a professional award? Do you volunteer for any organizations? Don’t skip the details; they help your connections learn more about you.
- Establish a strategy for building connections. Once you’ve built out your profile, it’s time to start engaging in “connections” on the platform (i.e., adding people directly to your network profile). You should connect with your colleagues, clients and anyone you have a business relationship with. Always invite new people you’ve met or encountered at professional events. Go the extra mile and personalize each connection request you send by including a personalized message, a reminder of how/when you met or another compelling reason to connect.
- Participate in relevant groups. LinkedIn groups are great for networking and staying up to date on relevant news. The AV industry, in particular, already has a few great opportunities for virtual networking via LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, join the AV Industry Professionals (AVIP) group. Joining these virtual groups is great, but participating in them by engaging in meaningful conversations is even better.
- Share engaging content. Share newsletters, blogs, vlogs and case studies on LinkedIn via your profile to position yourself as a thought-leader. Be selective about what you post; make sure it’s valuable and relevant for your audience. The content should enhance your relationship with current and prospective connections. Include appropriate tags of company pages and a few hashtags to put the content in front of more eyes. And remember to respond to comments, inquiries and questions on the post!
- Capture your leads. Keep an ongoing list of the connections you’ve established a relationship with via LinkedIn. Whether you’ve engaged in a conversation with someone within a group or you’ve noticed something unique on someone’s profile, consider reaching out to connections through a private message to further your relationship and learn more about synergizing.
A strong personal brand, meaningful connections and compelling content are all part of the recipe for success on LinkedIn. In nearly every industry, sales are made based on relationships. And your LinkedIn relationships can lead to a direct increase in sales through the simple steps I’ve mapped out.