10 ways to communicate with your LinkedIn connections

A blast from the past, but well worth repeating. 

Having a strong LinkedIn profile is essential to being found by other LinkedIn members and employers, but you’re job isn’t complete unless you’re communicating with your connections and the LinkedIn community as a whole.

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I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that I spend approximately an hour a day (it’s probably more) on LinkedIn. Their faces register surprise; and I’m sure some of them are thinking, “Does this person have a life.”

Part of the workshop is about explaining the need to communicate with their connections, because networking is about communicating. Other than sending direct messages to your connections, here are 10 ways to connect with your LinkedIn connections.

1. The number one way to communicate is posting Updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. This is when I get remarks from my attendees about not having time to make an update a week.

To illustrate how easy it is, I post two Updates within five minutes as I’m talking to them. The first Update tells my connections what I’m doing at the moment, which of course is leading the workshop. The next one is usually sharing an article from my first degree connections or Pulse.

2. Another way to communicate with your connections is to “Like” their updates. Liking their updates is great, but it takes very little effort to simply click the link. Like, Like, Like. Be more creative and add a comment which can generate discussion, or reply to your connections privately.

Communicate-with-your3. I’ll visit my connection’s profiles–with full disclosure–many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times, as well. When they “drop in” and have disclosed themselves (not Anonymous LinkedIn User or Someone from the Entertainment Industry), I’ll show my appreciation by writing, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

4. You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of Endorsements–here we go again. Add me to the list of people who prefer thoughtful recommendations, both receiving and writing them, as opposed to simply clicking a button.

But, in fairness, Endorsements have a purpose greater than showing appreciation for someone’s Skills and Expertise; they act as a way to touch base. In other words, they’re another way to communicate with your connections.

5. Let us not forget our groups which give us another, significant way to communicate with our connections. Participating in discussions regularly is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. Yes, I’ve gained connections because of the values we shared as revealed by discussions. Just today I connected with a great resume writer who impressed me with comments she made regarding a question I asked.

6. If your connections blog, take the effort to read their posts and comment on their writing. This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community, but blog posts have made their way into the Updating scene, as well. The majority of my Updates are posts that I’ve read and commented on.

7. I turned 50 yesterday. Not surprisingly I received happy wishes from some of my connections. When your connections have an anniversary (work, that is) or have accepted a new job, you’ll be alerted and be given the opportunity to communicate with them. A small gesture but nice to recognize your connections and generate some discussion.

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Take it a step further. So far I’ve written about how you can communicate with your online connections. You can’t lose sight of the fact that an online relationship will not come to fruition until you’ve reached out and communicated with your connections in a more personal way.

8. A very simple way to extend your communications is by e-mailing them. I know, it doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s another step toward developing a more personal relationship. Because you are connected by first degree, you have access to their e-mail address, access which can come in handy at times.

9. Naturally the second act toward strengthening your relationships is to make that daunting call (for some it is a big step), Let your connections know, through e-mail, that you’ll be calling them. Write the reason for the call, such as explaining who you are and what goals you have in your professional life. Nothing is as awkward as dead air and running out of things to say, because the recipient of the call is caught off guard.

10. Finally comes the face-to-face meeting at a place that is convenient for both of you. If your connection lives in a distant location, you may suggest getting together when you’ll be in their city or town. Plan to meet at a coffee shop or a personal networking event if your connection lives close by.

When you meet in person with a connection, he/she becomes a bona fide connection. This is the ultimate way to communicate with a LinkedIn connection. It may not happen often, particularly if he/she lives a great distance from you, but when it does possibilities may present themselves.

Having a great profile is not enough. It’s a start but only the beginning to communicating with your connections. I’ll write LinkedIn profiles for people, and they might have questions about what to do next. Sometimes it’s your activity on LinkedIn that really makes the difference between standing still and realizing success.

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21 thoughts on “10 ways to communicate with your LinkedIn connections

  1. Karen Blow

    Great article! Hadn’t thought abt thanking someone for visiting my profile. Sometimes I think – it’s another piece a “mail” that’s generated in the multitude of emails that we have to deal with on a daily basis. But I see that a quick “thank you for stopping by” doesn’t necessitate a response; instead, it addresses someone took a few minutes to check thing out and the response is a courtesy acknowledging their interest. As always, thanks for sharing. I always seem to pull a great piece of info from your writing!

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Thanks, Karen. I got the idea from someone who saw I visited his profile and wrote, “tag, you’re t.” Meaning he had noticed I’d visited his profile and was acknowledging me for it. So I thought there was a more diplomatic way of saying it.

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  4. Kim Fisher

    I upped the amount of time I spent on linked in from a couple hours a week to an hour a day about a year ago and found that it made a huge difference. The more you use it the more you get out of it.
    I agree with you that I would rather get a written recommendation than an endorsement. I have people endorsing me that I have never even been able to help find a job just because I pop-up at the top of their screen when they log-in. I don’t put much faith in someone’s skills from the number of people that have endorsed them on it.

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      That’s the way to go, Kim. An hour a day is not that much considering the time we waste on silly things. I agree with you on the endorsement thing…much more effort goes into writing a recommendation.

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  5. Teresa

    Thanks for sharing. I work in an educational environment where most social networking websites are blocked from my workstation. As an Employment Specialist, much of my networking on behalf of my job seekers using social media takes place from home. Not having much time from home….these quick tips are helpful.

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      That’s a shame that social networking sites are blocked at work. Have you suggested that it’s part of what you’re teaching? As someone who leads LinkedIn workshops, it makes perfect sense that I have access to LI.

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  6. Robin Simunovich

    Good ideas about networking with LinkedIn! I have a colleague who wondered what to do on LinkedIn after he joined. I think your article will be a great help for new people like him (oh, and us “old” ones too!)

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  7. Sharon

    This is a wonderfully helpful article! I have been on LinkedIn for some time now, but never really knew how best to utilize it.

    Thanks so much for this advice!

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  8. Marie-France Gozzo

    Thanks for this really interesting article. Other than making “updates” I hadn’t given all that much thought to some of the other ways of communicating (though I always send a personal note when I connect or “chat” with anyone!) so this really helpful. And I agree with you, Rebecca, that it’s tough to get younger people involved with LinkedIn. My college age son is really dragging his feet when it comes to getting involved in this site, though it all fairness, he’s not a big Facebook fan either. But I am continuing to share these articles with him, so I will prevail, eventually.
    Thanks again.
    Marie-France

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Thanks for the compliment, Marie-France. I’m approaching the moment when I have to get my daughter on LinkedIn. Starting them early will prepare them for online and personal networking in the future.

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  9. Rebecca Fraser-Thill

    I had no idea there was this much opportunity for communication via LinkedIn. But my first thought: this takes a lot of time to do well. Especially when we’re all off communicating in other forums, too – albeit not in such a professional way. I wonder how LinkedIn can encourage younger people to get more involved in the communication aspect of the site; in my experience, my students have no interest in doing anything further than creating a profile, if that.

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    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Right, Rebecca. It’s hard for college students, or people who aren’t as crazy about LinkedIn as I am, to engage in LinkedIn to this extend, because they don’t have the employment background like those who’ve been working for awhile. They may not feel they have the audience with whom to communicate like they have with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest. But you can change that, Rebecca. Sure you can.

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