5 Easy Ways to Pay It Forward on LinkedIn

The holiday season has arrived, which for many symbolizes a time of giving. To maximize your joy between now and New Year's Day, set aside a half hour each week to show some gratitude to your connections on LinkedIn. Here are five easy ways you can pay it forward this holiday season.

1) Recommend a Connection

If you worked with or hired someone that turned out to be a rock star, go ahead and write a recommendation for that person. It's also a great way to reconnect with a someone who has drifted off your regular contact list. Just keep your recommendation brief; be specific because generic recommendations are useless to your contact.

For example, a recommendation similar to this would probably not be displayed: "Bob is a stand-up guy and someone I'd be happy to work with again in the future. Most people think they know sales, but Bob really does!" This might have some posting value if it instead said, "Bob is a reliable, proactive and positive team player, and if I were asked to name a few sales leaders to be on a speaker panel, Bob's name would be at the top of my list. He exceeded our team goals quarter after quarter and made it to our President's list 5 years in a row."

2) Endorse a Connection's Skills

I’ve heard mixed reviews about LinkedIn’s decision to add the new “To Do” list. But I think it’s a great way to endorse your connections. The next time you're reminded of a connection, maybe via a tweet, status update, blog post or prompt from LinkedIn, endorse at least one skill for that person?

3) Seek New Connections

Just be sure to send a personal message expressing what you noted, respect or appreciate about them. If you only "met" them via Twitter or through some other social networking site, just be honest about why you want to be connected on LinkedIn. For example, you could say you don’t want to lose touch. Whatever you do, don't use the default Invitation to Connect unless you're using your smart phone right in front of them, perhaps at an event or on the subway,  and have opened the LinkedIn mobile app.

4) Make Introductions

When you absolutely, positively know that two of your connections would benefit from knowing each other, use LinkedIn to make an introduction. Just be sure to explain your motivation in the message. Then, let the two parties take it from there. When you make introductions within LinkedIn, your connections can usually see a bit more about the other party (via their profile) and can then decide for themselves whether they want to take the conversation further and/or outside of LinkedIn.

5) Share Knowledge and Insights via LinkedIn Answers

Unlike the Discussions section within LinkedIn Groups, promoting your personal/professional brand in Answers by way of sharing your knowledge, advice and insights is an accepted way to pay it forward, and possibly be recognized. Maybe you'll win a Best Answers green star! I also think that for folks that live in smaller metros where the in-person networking opportunities are limited, Answers is a great way to broaden your reach and grow your network online.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Please share any other ways you know to pay it forward on LinkedIn. Do you have any success stories you can share from participating in LinkedIn Answers?

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(Photo credit: Mark Mrwizard/Flickr)



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