Whatever our endgame is when it comes to LinkedIn – developing new business, finding a job, creating a community etc. – extending our network and creating new contacts is a key part of that. In most cases, this usually means us focussing on increasing our own connections – however, there’s more to it than that.
There’s also a huge amount of value to be had from taking a more proactive approach to strengthening the network around us – in particular, being able to put two of our direct connections in touch with each other when we believe they would benefit from connecting.
LinkedIn gives us a few different ways to do just this and, in an ideal world, we should be looking carefully at doing this – some might even consider this to be the very essence of good networking! In any case, it’s certainly well worth considering and there are a number of ways that you can achieve this through LinkedIn, according to the situation and your own preference:
Option 1: Write to both people in a single message – you can do this by composing a message from within your Inbox and then selecting both connections as recipients. Simply make an introduction to each other (or a summary of the situation / benefits) and do make sure that the box remains checked that allows them both to see the other person’s name and email address;
Option 2: On every LinkedIn profile, there is a link marked “Share” just at the bottom of the “grey” overview section at the top which allows you to send it to another connection. Click on this and add a short explanation before sending it to the other person – it’s then for them to follow up between the two of them.
Option 3: Simply send a message to one of your connections suggesting that they request an introduction (via yourself, of course) to the other person – don’t forget to add a link to their profile to make the other person easy to find;
Option 4: Equally, you can simply send a message to one of your connections encouraging them to add the other as a connection, using a personalised message and stating that you have been encouraging them to get in touch;
These options might simply allow you to put two individuals in your network in touch with each other who you feel might benefit from being in contact. Alternatively, it could be the ideal way to help a colleague extend their own network by putting them in touch with your own connections who could be of value to them.
Whatever the circumstances, think about the connections you might be able to help foster – it will strengthen your own network at the same time as extending theirs, so it’s always good to keep an eye out for where these opportunities might exist.
And never feel awkward about doing so. At any social or networking event you attend, I guarantee that you introduce people to each other – just take that process which comes as second nature face to face and do the same online. The benefits you gain will be as large as the ones they do.