Are you disappointed with the results you’re seeing from LinkedIn or other online networking? Maybe it’s time to modify your approach.

If you went to a live networking event and all you did was talk about yourself, you probably wouldn’t get the best results. But that’s exactly the mistake I see a lot of people making on LinkedIn and in their other online networking. They’re so concerned about what they are going to post, how often they should post, and how they can improve their visibility that they forget what networking is really all about.

It’s about building relationships. And in order to do that, it can’t be a one-way conversation. 

If you want to get more out of your online networking efforts, you need to approach it the same way you approach networking in real life. It’s about engaging with other people.

Visibility is important, but visibility alone won’t build relationships, and relationships are what drives business. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you want people to engage with you, you need to engage with them. You need to nurture your network.

Illustration of people engaging in social media

Spend as much time engaging with the posts and other online activity of the people in your network as you do posting to your own feed. The more likes and comments a post receives, the more that post will be seen in the feeds of the other people in your network. But don’t just go around liking things willy nilly, or leaving meaningless comments.

Take the time to say something thoughtful, to ask a question, or to provide your take on the other person’s post. Really read the article they’ve shared or watch the video they’ve posted so that you can provide meaningful commentary. If you want to share their content, tell your audience why you’ve shared it and what they might get out of reading or watching.

Not only will this kind of engagement encourage your connections to engage more with your posts, but your thoughtful comments may lead people in your connection’s network back to you to expand your network.

If you’d like more help with LinkedIn, pick up a copy of my book, Make LinkedIn Work for You, or register for the online LinkedIn Essentials course.

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