Reputation and relationships are crucial in business, which is why networking and influencing are integral to growing a brand, whether that’s for a company or a professional. Stanley Henry shares insight on how to grow your network online.
A site predominantly for B2B connections, LinkedIn enables people to connect with a business or career focus within a like-minded community. Since its inception, LinkedIn has proved to be a powerful networking tool right across the globe. In New Zealand, LinkedIn is used by 2.3 million people, 47.7 percent of the entire population, with the majority aged 25-34 years, and has experienced a growth of 34.7 percent since 2016.
People tend to associate LinkedIn with one function – job seeking – but the opportunities it affords beyond this are vast and should not be ignored. From bolstering professional networks, creating meaningful connections, gleaning insider expertise from established experts, to building credibility, LinkedIn is a vital tool for both business and individuals.
Due to the events of the past two years, people have been unable to meet in person and the culture has shifted. Connections are now being made by messaging and staying in touch through LinkedIn. In 2020, there was a 55 percent increase in conversations among connections on the site. And, for in-person meetings and networking with potential clients, the first place people are often seeking out information on a contact is via LinkedIn, so it’s important one’s profile is represented optimally.
Increasingly, digital marketing agencies are being asked by clients to assist with LinkedIn however this is a very specialised skill set and not all agencies have the knowledge required.
Below are some strategies for building digital influence faster, without having to outsource:
- Start by using your personal profile. Who you are on LinkedIn is far more powerful than any company profile and will equal in more organic reach. Building a personal brand is about ensuring others know you as a person first.
- Share your professional journey. Building a personal brand is about ensuring others know you as a person first. For SME owners, the best thing to do is to share the business journey. Be authentic with your storytelling.
- Use pictures of yourself. People build rapport much faster with faces and we recommend candid shots in a work or professional environment. We often send photographers to events where clients are to get shots of them that look more natural.
- Comment and engage with other people’s posts. LinkedIn is about having professional conversations. As a user, you don’t need to make your own content, you can instead comment on other people’s posts. They get a notification along with everyone who interacted with that post before you. LinkedIn also displays your engagement within your network, so your connections know what you are interacting with.
- Show your scars not your wounds. Share your business journey – both good and the bad – and be authentic with your storytelling. Share the wins and the lessons you have learnt but don’t share the wounds when they are fresh. Show others how you have grown from your experiences and what you learnt to help you in the future.
- Be consistent. Content on LinkedIn doesn’t stay around long. It is unlike social media platforms where your entire profile is content. We recommend dedicating a minimum of 10 minutes a day on the platform so your connections are still seeing you. It is a small time-commitment to invest in your business connections and peers.