Strategically Connect on LinkedIn

Part Two in a series on LinkedIn.

linkedin_1940x900_34055You are one click away from expanding your network.

There’s an old adage, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” That morphed into “It’s not just who you know. It’s who knows you.” With social media, it’s morphed into “It’s not just who knows you. It’s who you know and who they know and who they know.” And so it goes.

When you meet someone for the first time, you are not just meeting that person; you are potentially gaining access to their entire network. Through social media, like LinkedIn, the possibilities for connection are infinite. Here are four considerations in expanding your base of contacts:

Who are your contacts connected to? Through LinkedIn, you can quickly assess the composition and reach of your contacts’ networks. Invest some time to see how people are connected to each other. It will surprise you to see how many connections you share, and how many you don’t.

Who would you like to meet?┬áBe strategic in identifying who you would like to meet. See if there are people in other people’s networks that you would like to meet.

Ask for introductions. LinkedIn makes it easy to ask your contacts for introductions to specific people in their networks. Let’s say that as an independent contractor, you have decided to look for business prospects in your geographic area. You notice that one of your contacts has several excellent industry contacts within a five-mile radius of your home. Request an introduction from one of your contacts by directly using LinkedIn. You can also introduce connections to each other.

View LinkedIn profiles before meeting people. I know this seems elementary yet so many people still don’t do this. It’s so simple. It takes just a few minutes to search for a person through LinkedIn. Be sure to include the person’s city or company if you know it, especially if the name is a common one. Guaranteed, there are hundreds of people named Bill Smith. Before I meet people for the first time, especially potential clients, I will view their LinkedIn profiles.

Here’s a quick task for you: Ask one contact to introduce you to one person in their network. When you feel more comfortable doing this, ask for more introductions from more of your contacts, and watch your base of contacts grow.