As we are in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, online networking has never been more important to stay top of mind and build connections.

There are three essential building blocks of LinkedIn – your profile, your connections and your interaction on the platform. I find that many professionals focus on the first one – creating a strong profile, but they don’t take it to the next level by strategically building their network (meaning sending and accepting connection requests) and maintaining a consistent presence through liking, commenting and sharing posts.

Here are some ways you can fire on all cylinders when it comes to strengthening your LinkedIn presence. Remember that LinkedIn is where business professionals gather, do research and look for information especially now.

  • Make a connections plan – How will you find contacts and build your network?
    • Consider following your former firms/companies, alumni groups and trade associations
    • Search for contacts through their companies
    • Review your connections’ connections (especially your colleagues and competitors) – who do they know who you know?
    • Utilize the ”People You May Know” feature
    • This is a great tool to browse while commuting – download the LinkedIn app
  • Go through your Outlook contacts and make sure you are connected to important contacts on LinkedIn and vice versa. Note – while you can export your LinkedIn contacts into a CSV file, there is no way to do a mass upload of your Outlook contacts into LinkedIn and send them automatic connection requests. Your requests have to be done individually.
  • Use LinkedIn’s  “People You May Know” tool and connect with individuals who have viewed your profile (but only if you actually know them – if you send too many requests to individuals you don’t know, you can be temporarily be put on LinkedIn’s naughty list and have your connection permissions suspended).
  • Search through your colleagues’ connections as well as those of your competitors for common contacts who you haven’t yet added to your network.
  • Regularly write content valuable to your connections and share it on social media with a brief synopsis.
  • Be generous – like and share others’ posts and congratulate others on their successes, especially your VIP connections. While many of your connections may not be ready to hire a lawyer at the time, they may be in the future. When they reach that point, you will be top of mind.
  • Today, most people do not send an email when they move jobs, instead they use LinkedIn to notify their professional networks. It’s up to you to do the due diligence to find where they landed.
  • It’s important to link in with the people you meet in person who you consider worthwhile to extend the relationship online. Think about individuals you met at conferences or events over the past six months and reach out to them now – the craziness in the world today is a perfect reason to reach out to someone with whom you haven’t been in touch.
  • Congratulate the successes of those in your network through its notifications section
    • Job moves, promotion, job anniversaries, professional milestones (an appointment to a board, an award, the publishing of a book, etc.). Use these professional milestones to reach out to individuals who you’ve been meaning to contact. I have seen these notifications serve as the catalyst to reigniting relationships.
  • Fill out all past positions and add in your past educational institutions so that you can showcase all of your experience and also reconnect with former colleagues and classmates. it’s also a good idea to join the alumni groups of former firms and schools, which can help you reestablish and grow relationships.

Reach out to me with any questions on these tips and stay safe.