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Hello!

Today, we are talking about LinkedIn.

I will be covering who you should connect with and who you shouldn’t connect with on LinkedIn.

When I start working with a lot of clients and we start deep diving into their LinkedIn profile and their LinkedIn work, a lot of people express a little bit of a reluctance to connect with people that they don’t know, haven’t seen for a long time, or they don’t feel like they’re personally connected to.

But LinkedIn is a social networking tool where the whole aim of the game is to build your network.

The idea is that you’re not going to personally know or have personally met everybody that you connect with on LinkedIn.

The idea here is that you connect with people online to then meet with them, hopefully personally, down the track when you start doing business with them or collaborating with them or conversing with them or even just networking and meeting up for a chat.

It’s the reverse of actually going and meeting someone at a networking event and then striking up a connection online when you start emailing or joining each other on social.

We’re going to use this platform to connect first and foremost on a digital channel to then hopefully build that relationship out further.

It’s okay if you don’t personally know someone on LinkedIn.

This applies when people request to connect with you, but it also applies when you’re looking to actually proactively build your network.

So, I’ve got a list of people that you can start with in terms of who it makes sense to connect with on LinkedIn.

Remember this isn’t Facebook, so you’re not sharing personal details.

You’re not sharing intimate details or intimate moments with your kids, et cetera.

This is purely professional, so we can connect quite confidently with people in this way.

 

Connect with any of your alumni

That might be your university alumni, and you can search on the platform using the search tool to find people that also attended the same university as you, or it might’ve been some additional study that you did.

It might’ve been a private course or a postgraduate course.

High schools are not on there, not that I’ve noticed anyway.

It’s mostly your tertiary education.

So, you can search that way, but I know TAFE and those sorts of things are on there as well so it’s not just universities.

 

Connect with past and existing work colleagues

Connect with the people that you work with.

A lot of the time, I get feedback from people saying “well, I don’t need to connect with them because I work with them”.

It’s actually a really good idea to connect with them.

LinkedIn is built around the notion of six degrees of separation so if you connect with them you will get exposure through your socialisation.

When you start actually using the platform, you will get a connection with their networks as well.

That’s an episode for another day.

 

Connect with past and existing clients and customers

Think back to who you’ve done business with over the years.

Now, if you’ve been in business or if you’ve been working for as long as I have, that could be 20 years worth of connections that you’ve made over the years.

If you worked with someone 20 years ago before social media was even a thing and email wasn’t as sophisticated as it is, you might not have the digital address for those people.

However, if you can remember some of those clients that you’ve done business with, you can actually type their name into the search function of LinkedIn and look for them that way.

Again, you never know where these people are now or how they might be able to contribute to your professional network at this stage.

 

Another good one is people that you meet at professional events

If you go to a networking event or even if you go to a conference or any sort of professional event, if you’re meeting with people and exchanging conversations or business cards, it’s a really good idea to follow that up with a personalised note and a LinkedIn connection within 24 hours so that you can keep in touch more easily.

That is not just limited to the people that you meet.

I know when I attend virtual events or conferences or professional events, if there have been speakers or presenters that are within my industry and I think would make a great connection in my personal network, I’ll actually reach out to them with a personalized note as well, and say, “I attended this conference, I thought your presentation on this topic was fantastic and I’d love to keep in touch on LinkedIn”.

 

People who appear in your feed

When you’re scrolling through your news feed, you might start to notice content and people that are dropped into your news feed.

Whether it be that they know someone that you know or someone else has engaged with them, it’s dropped into your news feed.

If they’re publishing content that could have some relevance to your business or your clients or your customers, it’s a great indication that perhaps you might really benefit from connecting and having that person in your professional network.

This is particularly so if their content really sparks interest within you.

If you see one or two of their posts that really interests you, and maybe you can see some opportunity for alignment, head over to their profile and see what other content they publish and see what their role is and what they do.

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Again, write a personalised note that just says “Hi, I really like this content, I loved this article, or I loved your comment on this. It would be great to connect on LinkedIn”.

Similarly, if you’re posting content into your newsfeed, you might find that there are people who are not first connections with you or not people that you know personally connecting with that and commenting with your content.

Reach out to them and connect with them.

If they’re interested in your content it’s a good indication that they might be an asset to have within your professional network.

 

People with mutual contacts

With this one, it’s really important that the mutual contact is someone that you trust.

Say, for example, you work with a whole bunch of people and you know them really well.

LinkedIn will throw up recommendations based on how many shared connections you have with your existing network.

If you’re finding that these sorts of people are being suggested and you can see a whole bunch of mutual contacts that are relevant to you and your industry, if this person that you haven’t connected with is connected to them, reach out.

Say “It looks like we’ve got plenty of mutual contacts. It would be great to connect”.

 

connect with industry peers

Just because your clients might be in one particular industry, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with other people that are also within your industry.

LinkedIn is a fantastic knowledge-sharing site.

I’m constantly reading articles about marketing that stretch my knowledge, add to my knowledge, and provide a different perspective.

I find the newsfeed on LinkedIn is actually one of my major information sources.

If you’re worried about connecting with industry peers from a competition point of view, obviously don’t connect with your direct competition, but certainly connect with other people if you’re a financial advisor or a lawyer or whatever.

Connecting with other people in your industry can be really beneficial from the information that they’re sharing.

Also, if you’re connecting with them, then they might be connecting with other people that might be relevant to you.

Again, just think of that ecosystem, that six degrees of separation.

It’s all about building your network.

 

People who represent your ideal client or customer

What you can do here, and this is content for another episode, is you can actually use the search function on LinkedIn to find the decision-maker in the organisation or the business that you want to work with.

For example, for me, I predominantly work with small business owners.

I could go and conduct a search within LinkedIn that looked for business owners or founders or entrepreneurs or something along those lines to get a list of recommended people who would fit within my target audience.

I can then just look through each of those profiles and work out whether they’re someone that’s relevant to be connected with me and see if I want to reach out to them.

So, that’s the guide that will give you some idea as to who it makes sense to connect with on LinkedIn.

I guess the biggest takeaway is don’t think you have to personally know someone to connect with them.

The search function on LinkedIn is fantastic.

You can type in the name of a person, or as I said, you can type in the position of someone that you’d like to do business with and start connecting with people proactively.

Just make sure you’re always reviewing the requests for connection as well.

Don’t connect to the people who look spammy or irrelevant to your network.

If you think that they look like someone who is just going to fill your inbox with annoying sales pitches, don’t connect with them.

Definitely think outside the square when it comes to building your professional network.


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Podcast Transcript:

Jane Hillsdon:

Hello today, we are talking about LinkedIn and what we will be covering specifically today is who you should connect with and who you shouldn’t connect with on LinkedIn. I know when I start working with a lot of clients and we start deep diving into their LinkedIn profile and their LinkedIn work and a lot of people express a little bit of a reluctance, I guess, to connect with people that they don’t know, or maybe people that they haven’t seen for a long time, or they you know, they don’t feel like they’re personally connected to. But LinkedIn is a social networking tool where the whole aim of the game is to build your network. So the idea is that you’re not going to personally know or have personally met everybody that you connect with on LinkedIn. The idea here is that you connect with people online to then meet with them, hopefully personally, down the track when you start doing business with them or you know, collaborating with them or conversing with them, or even just kind of networking and meeting up for a chat.

It’s like the reverse of actually going and meeting someone at a networking event. And then striking up a connection online when you start emailing or, you know, joining each other on social, this is the opposite. We’re actually going to use this platform to connect first and foremost on a digital channel to then hopefully build that relationship out further. So it’s okay if you don’t personally know someone on LinkedIn so this applies for when people actually request to connect with you, but it also applies when you’re looking to actually proactively build your network. So I’ve got a list of people that you can start with in terms of who it makes sense to connect with on LinkedIn. Remember this isn’t Facebook, so you’re not sharing personal details. You’re not sharing intimate details or intimate moments with your kids, et cetera. This is purely professional.

And so we can connect quite confidently with people in this way. So first of all, you can collect with any of your alumni. So that might be your university alumni, and there’s that you can actually search on the platform using the search tool to find people that also attended the same university as you, or it might’ve been some additional study that you did. It might’ve been a private course or you know, postgraduate course. I don’t think schools are on there. Not that I’ve noticed, but yeah, it’s mostly your, your secondary education, sorry, your university tertiary education. So you can search that way, but I know like TAFE and those sorts of things are on there as well. So it’s not just universities. So alumni past and existing work colleagues. So connect with the people that you work with, you know, again, a lot of the time I get feedback from people going, well, I don’t need to connect with them because I work with them.

But you do, it’s actually a really good idea to connect with them because once you connect with them, you kind of, LinkedIn is built around the notion of six degrees of separation. So you connect with them and then you will get an exposure through your socialization. When you start actually using the platform, you will get a connection with their networks as well. That’s an episode for another day past and existing clients and customers. So think back as to who you’ve done business with over the years. Now, if you’ve been in business or if you’ve been working for as long as I have, that could be 20 years worth of connections that you’ve made over the years. Now, look, if you’ve worked with someone 20 years ago before social media was even a thing and you know, email wasn’t as sophisticated as it was, you might not have the digital kind of address for those people.

However, if you can remember some of those clients that you’ve done business with, you can actually type their name into the search function of LinkedIn and look for them that way. But again, you know, you never know where these people are now and you never know how they might be able to contribute to your professional network at this stage. Another good one is people that you meet at professional events. So this is kind of what I spoke about before. So if you go to a networking event or even if you go to a conference or any sort of professional event, if you’re actually meeting with people and exchanging conversations, you know, exchanging business cards, it’s a really good idea to actually follow that up with a personalized note and a LinkedIn connection, you know, within 24 hours so that you can actually keep in touch more easily.

And so that’s the other thing that you can do with that is not just limited to the people that you meet. I know when I attend, you know, virtual events or conferences or professional events, if there have been speakers or presenters that are within my industry and I think would make a great connection in my personal network, I’ll actually reach out to them with a personalized note as well, and say, look, I attended this conference, I thought your presentation on this topic was fantastic and I’d love to keep in touch on LinkedIn. So when you’re actually scrolling through your news feed, you might actually start to notice content and people that are dropped into your news feed. Whether it be, they know someone that you know, when someone else’s has engaged with them.

So it’s dropped into your news feed. If they’re publishing content that could have some relevance to your business or your clients or your customers within your business, it’s a great indication that perhaps you might really benefit from connecting and having that person in your professional network, particularly if their content really sparks interest within you. You can head over to their profile. If you see one or two of their posts that really interests you, and maybe you can see some opportunity for alignment, head over to their personal profile and see what other content they publish and see what their role is and what they do. And don’t be afraid to reach out. And again, with a personalized note that just says, hi, you know, really like this content, I loved this article, or I loved your comment on this. It would be great to connect on LinkedIn.

Similarly, if people, if you’re posting stuff into your newsfeed and people are commenting on that, and you might find that again, it’s not people that are first connections with you or not people that you know personally, but if you’re finding that there’s a few people connecting with that and commenting with your content reach out to them and connect with them, because if they’re interested in your content, again, it’s a good indication that they might be an asset to have within your, your professional network. People with mutual contacts that, that now with, with this one, it’s, it’s really important to if, if the mutual contact is someone that you trust. So say for example, you work with a whole bunch of people and you know, them really, really well. And LinkedIn will actually throw up recommendations based on how many kind of shared connections that you have with your existing network.

So if you’re finding that these sorts of people are being thrown your way or suggested your way, and you can see a whole bunch of mutual contacts that are really relevant to you and really relevant to your industry. And this person that you haven’t connected with is connected to them, reach out, you know, we have plenty of mutual contacts. It looks like we’ve got plenty of mutual contacts. It would be great to connect also industry peers as well, just because your clients might be in one particular industry, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with other people that are also within your industry. LinkedIn is a fantastic knowledge sharing site. So I’m constantly reading articles about marketing that stretch my knowledge and really add to my knowledge and provide different perspective. I find news as I find the newsfeed on LinkedIn is actually one of my major information sources.

So if you’re worried about connecting with industry peers from a competition point of view obviously don’t maybe connect with your direct competition, but certainly connecting with other people within, if you’re a financial advisor or a lawyer or whatever, connecting with other people in that industry can be really beneficial from the information that they’re sharing. And also if you’re connecting with them, then they might be connecting with other people that might be relevant to you. Again, just think of that ecosystem, that six degrees of separation, it’s all about building your network. And then of course, you know, people who represent your ideal client or customer. So what you can actually do here and this is content for another episode is you can actually use the search function on LinkedIn to find the decision maker in the kind of organization or the business that you want to work for.

So work with. So for example, for me, I predominantly work with small business owners. So I could actually go in and conduct a search within LinkedIn that looked for business owner or founder or entrepreneur or something along those lines to actually get a list of recommended people who would fit within my target audience. I can then kind of just look through those each of those profiles and work out whether they’re someone that’s relevant to be connected with me and to reach out to them. So that’s the kind of good guide that will give you some idea as to who it makes sense to connect with on LinkedIn. I guess the biggest takeaway really is don’t think you have to personally know someone to connect with someone, the search function on LinkedIn is fantastic.

You can type in the name of a person, or as I said, you can type in the position of someone that you’d like to do business with, or even an organization and start connecting with people proactively and just make sure you’re always reviewing the requests for connection as well. You know, don’t connect to the people who look you know, spammy or irrelevant to your network. If you think that this, you know, really looks like someone who’s just going to fill your direct inbox, your inbox with you know, annoying sales pictures, don’t connect with them. But definitely think outside the square, when it comes to building your professional network.

 

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