There is so much power in networking, and in our highly technological world, much of it is done online. There is a sociological phenomenon called a “weak tie relationship,” which is what one would call an acquaintance or someone with whom your relationship is fairly weak. This type of relationship is important because of its opportunity. Think about it – you probably have more acquaintances than you do close relationships. For this reason, weak tie relationships can be greatly beneficial in networking and in developing professional connections.
Now think of your connections on LinkedIn: how many do you know personally, and how many are weak ties? This is where your opportunity lies. LinkedIn is an exceptional networking tool. You have the ability to connect with other professionals in your field, capitalize on job opportunities, and form professional relationships with businessmen and businesswomen across the country. Professional networking via LinkedIn is essential in growing your senior living community.
Listed below are 5 tips on how to perfect your professional networking skills on LinkedIn.
- Join groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn, each with hundreds or thousands of members. Some great groups in the senior living industry are “Senior Living and Care Professionals,” and “Assisted Living Professional Network,” just to name a few. Group members post daily on topics ranging from marketing tips to job vacancies to Baby Boomer trends.
- Convert weak ties into strong business relationships. Connect with others in your field, introduce yourself, and share facts about your community. If your connection is local, offer to buy him or her a cup of coffee. Face-to-face interactions will nurture your relationship even further. If you happen to be traveling, reach out to any connections in that area.
- Ask for referrals. Once your connection is nurtured into a real business relationship, try asking for a referral. Maybe they know someone looking for a community or perhaps they can put you in contact with another professional in the senior living industry. Make sure to follow the 80/20 rule: nurture the relationship 80% of the time, ask for referrals 20%. Remember, your connections are people, too. It can be easy to forget there are real people behind those little pictures on your computer screen.
- Post, post, post. To network yourself and your community effectively, it is imperative to post information to your personal page, your community’s page, and on groups. Get your community’s information out there as much as you can. Post blogs, fun facts, openings, etc. The more people see it, the more likely it will be that someone will contact you. Remember, you’re part of an online community. Make yourself a household name within the industry.
- Purchase LinkedIn ads. Advertising is always a great way to get your name out there. LinkedIn ads will give you exposure on the site and allow those looking for a senior living community to contact you. They may contact you directly or through your community’s page. Either way, any kind of direct contact with intent is a fantastic networking opportunity.