The Importance of Growing Your Online Professional Network

Sales for Life Admin
Sales for Life Admin

An average of 8 stakeholders influence buying decisions within a company. But most sellers only have around 1 or 2 contacts within a company—and sometimes, they aren’t even influential decision makers. And the fewer contacts you have, the higher the risk of the account leaving you.

That’s why the modern seller should be savvy enough to use social media to broaden their networks. 

Always remember: Your network is your net worth. Although it may sound like a cliche, it really holds true—especially in sales, where you especially need to capitalize on the relationships you have built in order to boost your career.

That’s why you should learn how to grow your network in ways that are doable and easy to understand. And the most optimal way to do so is via LinkedIn.

The reason content sharing and network development are so intricately tied together is because of the viral nature of content. Can you grow your network on LinkedIn without sharing content? Definitely. But if you want to accelerate the process, you’ll have to share content.

That’s because content sharing on social networks has one distinct advantage—it can be seen by others outside of your network. If you share an article for IT leaders, and 3 of them in your network engage with it, your words and opinions will be broadcasted to those 3 people’s entire networks. 

Think of the people your buyers are connected to—they are probably in similar roles or industries. So if 3 IT leaders like, comment on, or share your article, similar people outside of your network will see your words and opinions giving you free publicity. And that’s powerful.

Basically, content sharing allows you to grow your network with the right type of people, naturally growing your influence on them in the process.

Here’s how you can capitalize on creating content on social media to grow your network.

Check Your LinkedIn Views

As your buyers become more digital, a greater number of them will be visiting your LinkedIn profile. However, you can be proactive about it, speeding up the process by sharing content that will naturally spark other people’s curiosity. This will cause them to be, in turn, curious about who you are, why you do, and why you’re talking about a specific topic.

Sharing content allows you to drive people to your profile. And if you happen to share content for a particular type of audience or customer, there is a strong chance that those types of people will come to your profile.

Now, how can you capitalize on this?

The most important thing is to check your LinkedIn profile views daily. Then, identify people who have titles that may be important to you as you want to grow your network. These could be actual customers, or just people who could help amplify your message. Reach out and connect with them by writing a custom message that allows them to understand the reason why you’re reaching out. 

But don’t just connect with everyone who checked out your profile (unless you really want to do so!). Just as you would qualify someone’s interest on phone, email, or text, a visit to your LinkedIn profile must be qualified as well. Imagine a spectrum of interest, where one side is cold and another side is hot. If you don’t qualify the interest of the LinkedIn profile viewer, you could be missing out on a good opportunity.

Check your content engagement

As you seek ways to grow your LinkedIn professional network, don’t forget to check your content’s engagement to see how you can optimize it to boost your efforts. See who’s liking, commenting, and sharing your content—and you should take note of who these people are and find out why they engaged with your post.

To check content engagement, click on the Notifications bell on the top navigation bar to see who’s liking, commenting, or sharing your content. Then spend some time engaging back—reply to comments and react to shared posts. Next, connect with those whom you feel would bring more value to your network, and could benefit you in return.

If you see that someone has taken the time to engage with your content, you should not only engage back but also reach out and connect with those whom you feel would be a good fit for your network. These could be people that could directly help you, or people who have the influence and clout to help you spread your message. They may not be able to help you immediately, but by connecting with them and providing value to them, they can, in time, positively influence your business outcomes.

Connect With Unknown Key Account Stakeholders

The most natural way to grow your LinkedIn network is by reaching out to those whom you can identify in particular accounts.

Gaining a connection on LinkedIn is seen as a big deal by many, especially when you’re connecting to salespeople. Because let’s face it: A lot of sellers don’t really make the effort to provide value or substance to their customers. No one wants to be hit with a sales pitch out of the blue, so connecting with sellers doesn’t make sense to most buyers. But if you proceed by providing value and insight, you can turn things in your favor.

Always remember that the best way to have someone accept your LinkedIn invite is by leading with value. Connect with them in a professional manner and let them know why you want to connect, without mentioning your sales pitch. Be humble in your approach and messaging, and don’t settle for generic commentary—focus on why you’re reaching out, and mention your desire to genuinely connect and learn more from them.

Connect With Known Account Stakeholders

If you want to expand your LinkedIn network, it makes sense to start with people with whom you’re already actively engaged with. You’re probably already talking to several people within the accounts you’re working on—but have you made an effort to connect with them on LinkedIn?

Just because you’ve got someone’s name and email in your CRM, doesn’t mean that you’ve established a professional relationship with them. It just means that you have their contact information in your database. A relationship happens when there’s interaction, and doing this online via LinkedIn can be a beneficial way to achieve this.

Start by opening up all the accounts or leads that you’re actively working on in your CRM. Decide how early or late-stage they are, but identify the key people you’re working with in each account’s respective sales cycles.

Next, reach out and connect with these people with a custom message. Since they already know you, they wouldn’t feel apprehensive about your effort to connect with them. Once you’re connected, send them a message saying that you’re looking forward to staying in touch on LinkedIn. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

Even if you already know each other, it’s still crucial to connect with these people online. This increases their chances of seeing and engaging with your content, allowing you a new opportunity to nurture your relationships with them.

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