Think of LinkedIn as a virtual business networking forum and be on your best behavior. Much like going to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, there’s a right way and a wrong way to build your contact list. This article will give you some guidelines you can share with your virtual assistant so you can do it the right way.
Your virtual assistant can use LinkedIn to look for business associates, partners, customers, suppliers and others you do business with or would like to do business with. But you have to take caution: If you send invitations to people you don’t know, they have the option to report it to LinkedIn and you could be banned from the service for what they consider spammy behavior. So here’s some tips:
- Include your LinkedIn profile on your e-mail signature. This way, everyone you e-mail is encouraged to invite you to join their network.
- Add customized buttons to your blog or Web site that compels your business network to hook up with you on LinkedIn.
- Search for classmates from your college or university using the search function.
- Click the “Expand Your Network” button at the top of the page. If you have their e-mail address, your virtual assistant can type it in, along the contact’s name, to find them on LinkedIn. If they aren’t registered, LinkedIn will send them a request to sign up.
- Your virtual assistant can ask for an introduction with the “Get Introduced” link. This allows you to ask one of your active connections to make an introduction to one of their connections that you aren’t yet connected with.
- Posting your LinkedIn profile on your other social networking accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, can also generate new connections.
- Finally, your virtual assistant can sign you up for specific networking groups within LinkedIn. You can invite other members of the group to connect with you based on your mutual interests.
These seven tips for building your LinkedIn contact list should take you a long way down the road to business social networking. If you have other tips, share them with us in the comment section.