In my other post, "LinkedIn Profile Tips for Market Researchers," I outlined how to best utilize LinkedIn as a Market Researcher and provided tips to strengthen your profile. In this post I’m going to take it a step further and outline ways to effectively network on LinkedIn as a professional within the market research industry.
The World Wide Web is an enormous place, and it can be a bit challenging to figure out how to fit in and where. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that finding a place to fit in on social media can be very beneficial. An incredible 92% of marketers indicated in a 2014 survey that social media is important for their business. LinkedIn can play an integral role in the market research world, and you may be wondering how. So, here’s my outline on how to use LinkedIn for networking.
The best place to start is on your homepage, a pretty easy first step. It’s important you are paying attention to your main feed, connections' updates and what they are sharing. Additionally, make sure you are engaging with appropriate content and connections, by liking commenting or sharing, which can quickly and easily be done through your main feed.
As I previously mentioned in my "LinkedIn Profile Tips for Market Researchers," groups are great for gathering information as well as contributing information and knowledge. Groups can help you identify key influencers or targets. There are a large number of industry-specific groups to join, and don’t just stop at one; find a few that are a good fit. Groups can help you learn the behaviors and language of your key targets. By joining groups you also gain the ability to bypass being a first connection to view a member’s profile as well as message them. It’s a huge benefit to have this type of access to a key target’s page to learn more about them.
The connections area on LinkedIn gives you a few options: keep in touch (shows connections with whom you’ve had recent activity), add connections (import connections from an e-mail account), and find alumni (allows you to search for members from your past schools). Personally, I think the keep in touch tab is one of the most helpful, as it automatically shows you suggestions for how to engage with your connections, for example, congratulating them on a new job or promotion. It’s always important to make a personal touch with your connections and not forget they exist after the initial connection has been made.
Now, let’s discuss how to find more connections. You can do a quick search in the top box on your homepage by simply typing in a member’s name, company name, job, etc. If you want to specifically search one of those options, instead of all of them, simply click the drop down menu on the left side of the search box. The advanced option, located to the right of the search box, can really help you narrow down your search by industry, location, current company, title, keywords, etc. If you are a premium account member, you can narrow your advanced search down even more by years of experience, function, seniority level, interested in, and groups. Once you find appropriate members with whom you believe you should make a connection, make sure to write a personal connection message, something short and simple that tells them why you want to connect.
In addition to searches, you can see if a mutual connection can introduce you to a potential connection. LinkedIn’s “Get Introduced” feature can create a warmer welcome and personal touch. It’s basically word-of-mouth for connection building and will more than likely always have success. Similarly to being at a party and getting introduced to someone, it’s your job to create the conversation and build (network) after the introduction.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
This is an important feature on LinkedIn, and it does exactly what it says – shows you members who have checked out your profile. I personally take advantage of this tool as much as possible and look at it at least once a day. I strongly believe it’s one of the best places to find key targets. Not only does it show you the members who have viewed your page, but it shows how you rank for profile views against your connections, company members and professionals similar to you (great place to find key targets). If your profile views are high, then you are clearly doing something right with your networking, as you have successfully created ways to gain visibility. This area also shows you suggestions for how you can gain profile views and visibility such as, adding a skill to your profile, joining a suggested group, updating your summary, or following a suggested member. I strongly suggest taking full advantage of this option when it comes to networking. It gives you a lot of key information on a silver platter.
On the other hand, you need to make sure you are identifiable as well and allow members to see when you have viewed their profile. To ensure you have this option turned on, go to your Privacy & Settings (scroll over your thumbnail in the upper right hand corner), under the Profile option click Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile and select the first option Your name and headline (recommended).
There are at least 332 million members on LinkedIn, that’s an entire social media country in itself – so go get out there and start networking, the opportunities are endless. For more information on using social media within the market research industry, download our free white paper. Or, check out our latest eBook on market research success.
I hope you find these suggestions useful!
Social Media Coordinator,