LinkedIn is a fertile ground for those wanting to research almost any business niche or industry. Even with all its adjustments and changes over the last several years, LinkedIn still remains the most business-oriented social network, with a strong slant towards jobs and careers – as well as on networking, in the truest, most traditional sense of the word.
LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to “Friend” everybody like Facebook does. In fact, indiscriminate contacting is considered a major LinkedIn faux pas. This social network operates with contacts restricted to first, second and third level contacts… and also Group contacts.
Without diligent networking, it can take a long while to build up a solid contact base – but do avoid the typical beginner mistakes, which are:
- Adding everyone in your email accounts, past workplaces and educational institutions. Stick to those people who share or influence your interests, goals and industry only
- Recommending everyone they can – whether or not they’ve ever worked with them before
- Joining too many Groups; then not bothering to monitor or interact
- Joining Groups that are inactive
Finding the right people on LinkedIn is a vitally important foundation to lay – so choose or accept contacts carefully and with an overall goal in mind. After all, you want to be able to monitor your business branding feedback and interaction – as well as research others.
Who should you connect with on LinkedIn? The network will offer to search your friends via email accounts, previous and current workplaces, professional organizations and educational institutions first.
Only connect with those who:
- Are in related or similar careers
- Possess similar interests
- You are currently networking with in other areas of your life
- Possess skill sets you can learn from
- Are consistently active on LinkedIn
If you find someone you’d like to connect with, but you don’t know them:
a) Follow them, if you can
b) Look for someone you already know to introduce you (but make sure you have an excellent reason to want to be introduced)
c) Look for Groups they are active in. Join this Group (providing it is actually a good fit for you and your goals) and make sure you are consistently active there too.
You can invite people to become first level contacts by accessing the See who you already know on LinkedIn page.