By Erika Icon
– Networking is essential to building business relationships. Although the adult industry isn’t exactly a button-down environment like banking or other mainstream milieus, networking is no less important.
Though they were developed for mainstream business networkers, tools like LinkedIn
can help adult-industry insiders gain new connections and reinforce existing relationships. LinkedIn isn’t the easiest networking site to master. Although nothing about the site seems complicated, getting the most out of it can be puzzling.
First, make sure you master the same basics: Upload a professional photo and enter relevant employment history and experience. It’s also good to revisit your professional goals with the assistance of Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool. More so than on social networks, good, relevant keywords help potential business contacts locate your LinkedIn profile. Don’t forget to introduce yourself personally: Share what you love to do when you’re not working, educational and social awards and any charities or other civic activities to which you regularly contribute. Be aware there’s a fine line between promoting yourself and sounding like an arrogant braggart.
Once you’ve fine-tuned the basics, proceed to the extras that can help you grow your professional network.
Begin by looking for other LinkedIn members you already know and asking them to connect with you. Most will. Instead of the standard message LinkedIn suggests sending when you ask someone to connect, consider typing a brief, personal note. Look through existing discussion groups to see whether you may be eligible to join any of them. If you are and they interest you, ask to be admitted. Participating in discussions with relevant, on-topic comments, advice and questions is an excellent way to get to know other professionals.
Exchanging recommendations is a good way to connect with people, because recommendations are public. Although any LinkedIn member may give a recommendation to any other for any reason, it’s probably wise to recommend only those with whom you’ve worked closely and have no reservations. Ask friends and co-workers to recommend you, and offer to recommend them in return. Make sure any recommendations you write are sincere and provide insight of value. The recommendations you give are as important as those you receive to the way others perceive you.
Endorsements are like mini-recommendations and require much less time and thought. To endorse someone, visit his or her profile and click to “approve” topics and specialty areas in which the individual has indicated he or she is experienced. Show your contacts you respect their skills. It makes them feel good about themselves and they may return the favor.
LinkedIn is a professional place, even though it’s social media. People forget that what one says on social media can make or break a reputation, and the same is true for LinkedIn, but even more so. When you leave comments or share material, be ultra-professional or risk giving a potential or current customer, vendor or employer the wrong idea.
Millions of professionals use LinkedIn every day. The company’s in-house newspaper, LinkedIn Today, is the source users turn to in order to find out what’s going on. If you can get an article on this page, you will see hits to your site skyrocket. Check it out several times a week and see what’s been posted. Original content for the page is produced only by Thought Leaders (like Richard Branson). Make sure to follow these people and make comments on their posts. Maybe one day, you’ll be in their league and will be invited to contribute, too.
You’re always able to post articles, blog links, videos, and other content in your Activity Stream. This lets other people know what you’re up to and creates a space where others can learn more about you. Your connections can “like” or comment on what you’ve shared.
Making solid connections should be something every professional always is working on, not something you do only when you need something. Keep building connections in the back of your mind as you go about the rest of the stuff you do every day, and you will have the connections when you need them — or maybe when you least expect them.