SINCE IT WAS spawned in 2003, LinkedIn has earned a reputation as a place where users are inundated with useless connection requests from strangers.
But despite the pitfalls with the network, The LinkedIn Code author Melonie Dodaro said it is still possible for users to make the website work for them.
Dodaro, who will be speaking at the Social Media Summit this March, said there is a tendency for people to simply gather connections without an end purpose.
Below are her five top tips to make the most of your LinkedIn network:
1. Make a real-life connection
“You can certainly and absolutely build relationships on social media, but to truly take that relationship to the next level it needs to move past social media.
“Whether that is a phone call or personal meeting depending on how you do business, that’s really the key and is what most people are missing when they are trying to figure out what to do with these social media tools.”
2. Don’t be too eager on LinkedIn
“There is this delicate balance between building that relationship and maybe being too aggressive.
“That’s the mistake I see people make. Either they don’t do anything or they are too aggressive in saying, ‘hey, I see that we have just connected. I’m a website designer, are you looking for a new website?’
“Give a bit of time to build a relationship before you start trying to pitch something like that. That’s actually called spam.”
3. Make it personal
“When somebody wants to connect on LinkedIn, for example, you can just click the connect button or you can personalise that message.
“At the end of the day, people are getting inundated with requests from people they don’t know and they are always weary and say, ‘Who is this person and why are they trying to connect with me?’ All it takes is one to two short sentences to tell them (what they need to know) and they’ll connect.”
4. Beware of strangers
“When people start to reach out and connect with people they don’t know on LinkedIn, they are at risk.
“If they get five people that flag them as spam or they click the ‘I don’t know this person’ button, their account gets restricted and they can no longer send requests to people unless they have their email address.”
5. Join a group
“I think that one of the challenges with spam has occurred very much so in LinkedIn groups, where you have people who own LinkedIn groups that don’t moderate them. Joining groups, however, can be phenomenal to instantly increase the size of your network.
“For example, if I was looking for someone to help me with a new website and I needed website designers or developers, I would only find you in the search results if you’re part of my first, second or third degree network or a member of the same group.”
Melonie Dodaro will be speaking at the Social Media Summit in the Aviva Stadium on 1 and 2 March.