With the holiday season upon us why not set aside some time today and during the weeks to come to give back and show some gratitude and holiday spirit to your network by paying it forward on LinkedIn? Here are 5 ways you can do just that:
1) Write an unexpected Recommendation for a connection.
If you worked with or hired someone who turned out to be a rock star go ahead and write a recommendation for them. It’s also a great way to reconnect with a connection that’s drifted off your regular keep-in-touch list. Just be sure to keep it brief and specific, and avoid writing a generic recommendation because they’re often not very useful to your contact and probably won’t get displayed.
Most folks don’t even display recommendations that sound similar to this, “Joe is a stand-up guy and someone I’d be happy to work with again in the future. Most people think they know sales, but Joe really does!” This might have some posting value if it instead said, “Joe is a reliable, proactive and positive team player, and if I were asked to name a few sales leaders to be on a speaker panel, Joe’s name would be at the top of my list. He exceeded our team goals quarter after quarter and made it to our President’s list 5 years in a row.”
And if you didn’t know you could elect not to display a reco on LinkedIn, here’s how:
2) Endorse a connection’s skills when you’re reminded of someone (maybe via a tweet, email, status update, blog post or prompt from LinkedIn). Since LinkedIn added the Endorsements feature (I hear both groans as well as praise for it during my Leveraging LinkedIn learning sessions), you can make a point to endorse at least 1 connection’s skills during your regular visits to LinkedIn. Having skills with added endorsements on your profile helps LinkedIn’s search engine find someone like you more easily and you’ll be ranked higher in the search results.
3) Invite new or old contacts to connect on LinkedIn.
Just be sure to send a PERSONAL message expressing what you noted, respect or appreciate about them, and if you only “met” them via Twitter or somewhere random like that, just be honest about why you want to be connected on LinkedIn (“let’s not lose touch”). Whatever you do, don’t use the default Invitation to Connect message unless you’re using your smart phone right in front of them at an event or on the subway (or whatever) and have opened the LinkedIn mobile app.
4) Make mutually beneficial unsolicited introductions.
When you absolutely, positively know that 2 of your connections would benefit by knowing each other, use LinkedIn to make an introduction. Just be sure that in the message you explain your motivation and then let the 2 parties take it from there. When you make intros within LinkedIn your connections can usually see a bit more about the other party (via their profile) and can then decide for themselves whether they want to take the conversation further and/or outside of LinkedIn.
This is a great time of year to stop being a lurker in the groups you’ve joined on LinkedIn. You can give back and pay it forward by sharing your knowledge, advice and insights where applicable. Just use the Search feature within a group to find discussions relevant to your knowledge base and start sharing what you know. Maybe even consider starting a discussion by asking a question about a current topic relevant to your industry. Folks will appreciate you generating an interactive dialogue, especially when they learn something from it.