A wise proverb states ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’, but in terms of LinkedIn We’d suggest it is ‘The friends of my friends are my friends’! The contacts of your contacts are going to be brimming with opportunities if you are in a tech company.
It follows the ‘people like us’ principle. Think about it, in your social and business circles you will quickly discover that you will have a network in common with just about everyone you know. However, as much overlap as there is, it is likely if you met more of one another’s friends or contact you would find common ground there too.
The principle is the same on LinkedIn and yet when we deliver social media training about how to Pimp your Profile on LinkedIn to IT company sales team there is always the metaphorical sound of a fruit machine win in Las Vegas with so many pennies dropping at once, when we ask if anyone looks at the contacts of their contacts!
It seems like uncommon sense, but is something you absolutely need to do and depending on the size of your network it could take you a little time to do it properly, to be truly effective.
In simple terms go and look at your connections. If you are new to LinkedIn or have a modest number it is one of the few occasions you should be glad to be a novice, as ideally you should look at the contacts of each and every contact in your network! The more you have, the longer it takes!
Most people on LinkedIn do not make their network private – it is an option of course – and provided someone has kept their network private you can merrily browse through a contact’s network looking for… well looking for what?
In the first instance people you know. These are people who when they get your personalised invitation to connect will recognise you or at least know who you are and therefore are more likely to connect. This alone can quickly swell your own number of contacts and in turn the size of your network.
Next you are looking for people you would like to know and for these you can either send a personalised invitation or better still ask the mutual contact whose network you are searching, if they can introduce you.
It makes sense to plan how you will go right through your network looking at each contact’s contacts looking for useful people you want to connect with and then follow our advice on how. If you already have hundreds of connections and have never done this, we would recommend doing it alphabetically until you have gotten through all your contacts, a few at a time.
Moving forward we recommend that once a week or once a fortnight or at a stretch a month you visit your contacts page and look at your Connections and click ‘Recent Activity’ where LinkedIn lists your ‘New Connections’ which you can then look at more closely.
Better yet, it lists ‘Connections with New Connections’ which takes the hard work out of reviewing your network for new opportunities to connect. This is a brilliant way to find new contacts.
Also, look at your sent invitations too and either archive or delete those that have been accepted and revisit those that have not yet been accepted. You can check what you said and you need to make a decision – and do take a look at their profile first to see if it looks active.
So, do you still want to connect? If not you can withdraw the invitation. Or leave it in place in the hope they might one day get to it! You can also forward it, perhaps to a shared contact and ask them to give your potential contact a nudge.
It may also be worth contacting them via email or another social media platform as this could be more effective if you are ultimately trying to build a relationship with them.
Kelso Consulting can help you make the most of LinkedIn, the social network that means business through a variety of approaches