LinkedIn: How To Use Your Connections

by Julie on April 10, 2009

spiderweb

The entire point of LinkedIn is to create an online network of professional relationships – that you can hopefully use for referrals, recommendations, building your business and the like.

The standard ways to utilize these connections is to nurture them. Connect with your people through offering your own status updates, asking and answering Q & A’s, giving referrals and by responding to changes in their status (such as new jobs, promotions, board memberships, etc.) Follow the golden rule that you must build and grow the relationships before you need to ask them for help, advice or a job.

But, there’s another way to harness the power of your LinkedIn Network. Let me tell you a little story. I was doing work for a wonderful children’s book about bonobo apes – we wanted to team up with the San Diego Zoo because they are one of only five U.S. zoos that have bonobos.

I went to LinkedIn and searched ‘San Diego Zoo’ – and three people popped up in the search results, one of whom worked in the marketing department. But the best part was that LinkedIn showed me my network relationship to this person – and he was only three connections away.

Immediately, I crafted an email explaining the work we were doing and sent it to my 1st connection, who gladly passed it on to the 2nd connection, who graciously passed it on to the 3rd connection at the San Diego Zoo. Boom, a qualified referral.

The broader your connections, the greater the possibility that you can be connected – across your professional web – to people that you need to know.

Remember to always contact your connections and your connections’ connections with the greatest respect and professionalism.

Image courtesty of foxypar4

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