Table of Contents
According to LinkedIn, about 60% of professionals agree that keeping in touch with their online network helps with their job search. Additionally, about 70% of the people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection. Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that networking plays a crucial role in any job search, increasing a job seeker’s chances of landing their dream role.
While both online and offline forms of networking are essential, online networking on LinkedIn is popular, convenient, and quicker. Last year, we spoke about some LinkedIn networking trends to help you strategize your networking plan. This year, we are back with some more trends to help you optimize your networking strategy in 2022.
1) Leverage your personal brand to network
Your personal brand plays a key role, especially when it comes to online networking. Think about it like this – when someone reaches out to you on LinkedIn, how do you learn more about them? From their LinkedIn profiles, of course! Your personal brand is reflected in your LinkedIn profile which is a key motivator for people to respond to you. Thus, it is an essential tool to use while devising your LinkedIn networking strategy.
A personal brand refers to the characteristics that allow you to sell yourself to your target audience. Developing a strong personal brand is a conscious effort of creating a public perception of an individual. Your experience, skills, expertise, attitude, and personality form your personal brand identity. This allows people to understand you better before developing a relationship with you. Some key sections of your LinkedIn profile that reflect your personal brand are:
- Activity log
Use these sections to effectively demonstrate the skills and expertise you want to be known for. For example, if you want to establish yourself as a content marketing expert, you can use “I help companies market their products and services through words and stories” as your headline. On the same lines, you can creatively talk about your expertise and experience in the other sections. Your activity log is another great way to showcase your interests and skills. By engaging with relevant content, you can show your knowledge and ability to provide advice to potential employers.
2) Use content to build relationships
As mentioned above, how you sell yourself influences someone’s decision to interact with you. Thus, a clear picture of your key skills, interests, and preferences is important when reaching out to someone for networking. Content creation and engagement are two authentic ways of showcasing this picture to your target audience. Creating posts, blogs, videos, or infographics on relevant topics demonstrate your area of expertise and knowledge. Additionally, liking, commenting on, or sharing others’ content on relevant topics also reflects your interest and ability to discuss more about it.
When you reach out to professionals for networking, they will most likely check your profile. Constantly creating and engaging with relevant content will show up on your Activity Log, thereby convincing the target audience of your potential. We strongly recommend creating LinkedIn posts on relevant topics regularly, while liking, sharing, and commenting on content from industry experts to keep a high level of activity.
According to a study, about 60.5 million spam content pieces were removed from LinkedIn. Additionally, about 104K pieces of content were removed after they were reported as spam by users. So, you can imagine the amount of spam LinkedIn users have to go through every day. Now, what if your message or online behavior looks fishy too? It would decrease or completely end your chances of receiving a response. Hence, it is important to keep the following LinkedIn networking etiquette in mind.
- Add a profile picture before sending any messages.
- Use professional language.
- Add personalized connection requests.
- Think about adding value to your target audience before making any requests.
- Reply to all comments and messages.
- Send generalized messages randomly.
- Send connection requests again and again.
- Send follow-up messages more than twice.
- Leave people on read.
- Burn bridges by not responding or being rude.
4) Utilize your offline connections to build relationships online
In the last couple of years, online networking gained more momentum. However, offline networking is popular too and adds equivalent value to job seekers. Face-to-face communications make it easier for people to connect and remember each other.
Offline networking events are a great place to initiate and develop these relationships. That said, online networking is an effective way to keep in touch with these contacts made during offline events. After meeting people offline, you can add them on LinkedIn to keep your conversations going. We would advise the following when adding these connections online:
- Send them a personalized connection request, mentioning the event where you met them.
- Make sure your message is grammatically correct.
- While people may be interested in talking to you face-to-face, they may not always be open to continuing the conversation online. So take the hint and pursue relationships with people who are genuinely interested.
- Don’t put your requests straight away. Invest some time in knowing the person and convincing them that you are looking for a two-way relationship where you would be willing to help them too.
LinkedIn groups are online communities of people who discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities of similar interests, such as an industry or function. For example, if you are a digital marketer, you can look for groups on email marketing, content marketing, and digital marketing. Some examples of relevant groups that you can join are:
- Marketing Pros – Largest Marketers Group: Digital Inbound Social Media Content Search Email SEO Jobs
- Content Marketing Institute
- Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more
- Digital Marketing
LinkedIn groups are a good source of connecting with like-minded people with similar interests. In fact, LinkedIn also provides the group members an option to InMail any other group member. This means it is not necessary for the other group member to be added to your network to initiate a conversation. You can reach out to them, introduce yourself to the group, and add them to your network later. You can find some of the most relevant people to network with within LinkedIn groups.
6) Prioritize quality over quantity
“A larger network will help you reach out to more people.” This is a common misconception among job seekers. It is a ‘quality’ network that will help you fetch better results instead of a larger network. Suppose you are an HR professional who is looking for opportunities in the HR domain. Now, if your LinkedIn network has 1,300 connections but most of them are from the operations and finance background, the benefit that you could receive from them would be low.
On the other hand, even if you have 500-600 connections but most of them share your background and industry, the results could be very different. This is because the information provided by them would be more accurate and applicable. Hence, it is okay to reach out to a lesser number of people every day but as long as they are relevant, your networking strategy will fetch you good results.
7) Network with people outside of your geography
Technology has changed the way the world looks today. 100 years ago no one would have thought of being able to speak to or see people residing in different parts of the world. However, today, everything is at your fingertips. Sitting in one part of the US, you can easily connect with people working in Germany or the UK.
So, as a job seeker looking to optimize their LinkedIn networking strategy in 2022, think global! Do your research and reach out to key people from your target industry and company globally. Don’t let geography hinder your networking. This will also be especially helpful if you are looking to relocate to a different country.
LinkedIn networking has immense scope. As a job seeker, you can do a lot with a high-quality LinkedIn profile and a strong networking strategy in 2022. A strong personal brand can be a great add-on too. If you need any support working on your LinkedIn networking strategy, feel free to reach out to us.