Council Post: How To Make The Best Use Of LinkedIn And Virtual Networking Opportunities


At a time when in-person meetups are typically off the table, virtual networking platforms like LinkedIn can be valuable resources for business owners. The opportunity to connect regardless of location can open doors that just aren’t possible without these online tools. But while LinkedIn has some of the same features as traditional social media sites, its purpose, and therefore its use, should differ.

To help professionals leverage LinkedIn and other virtual networking opportunities correctly, eight associates of Young Entrepreneur Council weigh in with their best advice on how to effectively utilize virtual networking to achieve your goals and how these practices might differ from in-person networking.

1. Feature Your Best Content

LinkedIn is obviously a virtual platform; therefore, you have to go more in-depth than you would speaking in person. Why? Because you need to answer all the questions someone might have without actually knowing them. There’s nothing wrong with a 1,000-word post. On that note, posting a well-written piece on a subject in your niche is a form of networking. It will gain traction if it’s well done, and you’ll achieve your desired result as folks will more than likely reach out to you in some way, even if just to say “great article.” – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

2. Keep Your Profile Updated And Active

If you want your business to grow, it’s important you make time in your day for networking. To maximize your effectiveness on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date and set a goal to connect with a certain number of people each week. Remember that quality is better than quantity. In addition, business Facebook groups can be super helpful with networking. Being an active member in the group by answering other people’s questions and adding your own is a great way to get connections quicker. – John Hall, Calendar

3. Add Relevant Professionals Even If You Don’t Know Them

LinkedIn is a platform that’s meant to connect professionals and so it makes sense to build your connections by adding relevant people into your network even if you don’t know them personally. You’re not doing this without reason though. When you have a network that’s relevant to the field you’re in, your content will get more traction because it in turn is relevant to your connections. When reaching out to people on LinkedIn, send customized messages and interact with them online. Like their posts, add comments and look for common interests. Building your network today can pay off in the future as you become more recognizable to people. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. Ensure You’re Posting And Contributing To The Conversation

Post. Post daily. Post hourly. Post weekly. Post when you have something to say. Post when you’re not sure you have anything to say. Comment on other people’s posts, get connected, be a contributor to the overall conversation. We used to be able to use our presence to light up a room (real charmers could win a room over in minutes), now it’s about volume. Be seen or be left behind. – Kara Brown, LeadCoverage

5. Promote Your Events

LinkedIn is the perfect place to gather event registrations for your business presentation. The people on LinkedIn are all professional and looking to make connections and learn about specific industries. When you promote your next webinar, you’re likely to get more signups on LinkedIn because of the built-in audience. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

6. Leverage The Latest Features

LinkedIn is saturated and everyone is posting content, so it’s hard to stand out in the main feed, but fewer people use the new features such as LinkedIn Stories. Leverage the first-mover advantage by being the first to develop content for the new formats. If you feel like you just got a handle on the written content and that Stories might be too time-consuming to take on, consider using a platform that offers content reformatted for multiple sites. Be a first mover to network the most effectively. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

7. Connect Outside Your Industry

I think you should use LinkedIn to connect with people who are just outside of your industry. In many cases, different industries overlap and benefit one another. When you attend virtual networking events, everyone there is focused on the same type of work. LinkedIn is full of people from all over the world, and some you would never meet in one of your usual networking rings. Use this opportunity to meet like-minded business owners, make connections and learn more about industries that run parallel to your own. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Remember That It’s A Long-Term Process

I think one of the most important principles for networking on LinkedIn, or online in general, is to look at it as a long-term process. The worst approach is to send a new contact a proposal of some kind, which is something that many businesses actually do every day on LinkedIn. That’s extreme, but the whole mentality of communicating in order to sign someone up as a new client is usually transparent and turns people off. This is also true for in-person networking, but I think with online networking people can forget this as it’s so easy to send a promotional message. It’s better to connect in a natural way. Ask and answer questions and interact with people’s content. If you do this consistently, people will look up your profile and those you can serve will find you. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting


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