To reap the benefits of your network, you’ll first want to make sure it’s as strongly woven as a trapeze net. Start by effectively deploying LinkedIn, the top online networking tool.
Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls, says she uses LinkedIn in six ways to nurture her network:
1. Open and read LinkedIn’s weekly updates. Has someone gotten a promotion? Are friends attending an interesting event? Take the opportunity to send a quick “Congrats!” or “Sounds interesting!” note. That’s a network-nurturing move.
2. Post an event. If you’re attending or hosting an event, let the world know. Invite people in your network, or set up a “meet.”
3. Visit your home page. Colantuono says that, while looking at her home page recently, she saw a friend’s name and realized she’d been out of touch for a long time. It prompted her to reconnect.
4. Respond to discussions. If you’ve joined a group, selectively engage in discussions to build your online professional presence.
5. Spread the word about a job. “It’s a great way to help a colleague,” she says.
6. Recommend a book. You sound smart, and it helps the people in your network learn and grow.
— Adapted from “Seven Ways to Use LinkedIn,” Susan Colantuono, PINK.