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

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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