In the vast ocean of professional networking, LinkedIn stands as the lighthouse guiding marine industry experts to safe harbors of opportunity and collaboration. Surprisingly Linkedin is the most used tool for marine professionals, and I always give advice to every new member of our industry to build out their linkedin profile and connect through that.
But how does one navigate these waters to build a network that not only spans the breadth of the sea but also delves into its profound depths?
Setting Your Compass – Define Your LinkedIn Networking Goals
Before setting sail, it’s crucial to chart your course. In order for this process to work, you need to know exactly what your goals are and who your ideal target audience is. For marine professionals, this could mean targeting shipbuilders, marine biologists, or naval architects. Your goals might range from finding new clients, seeking mentorship, to sharing industry insights. With a clear destination in mind, your journey on LinkedIn will be more focused and fruitful.
Charting the Waters – Engage Before You Connect
The key to smooth sailing on LinkedIn is engagement. You wanna make sure you are engaging with these people, leaving comments on their posts, liking their posts, engaging with their comments left on other posts. This could involve engaging with content on maritime innovation, environmental conservation efforts, or naval engineering breakthroughs. This approach not only puts wind in your sails but also signals to others that you’re navigating the same waters.
Crafting Your Message in a Bottle – Connection Request Etiquette
When you’re ready to drop anchor and connect, your message must resonate like a foghorn in a quiet bay. The hardest part of this entire strategy is knowing what to say when you send that connection request. A connection request might reference a recent article on oceanic preservation or a shared interest in maritime technology. It’s about crafting a message that’s as tailored as a captain’s uniform, showing that you’re not casting a wide net but seeking a specific crew to join.
For all that is holy do not say something like “I see we have mutual connections”, there are many texts that have become the equivalent of spam and that is one of them.
The Art of the Follow-Up – Thank You Messages and Persistence
Once a connection is made, a prompt and personalized thank you message is the equivalent of a salute at sea. After someone accepts your connection request, you want to send them a thank you message… The key here is personalizing this message. Perhaps mention a detail from their profile related to the marine industry or express enthusiasm for a shared maritime project. It’s these nuances that turn a simple acknowledgment into a bridge to further conversation.
Diving Deeper – Using Audio and Video Messages
To truly make waves, consider the power of voice and video. Audio messages are very powerful because it allows the person to hear your voice, which again, breeds familiarity and they feel like they know you more. In a field as dynamic as the marine industry, a voice message discussing the latest in naval engineering or a video greeting from a shipyard can create a personal connection that text alone cannot.
Avoiding the Sirens – Navigating LinkedIn’s Spam Filters
In your quest to expand your network, beware of the sirens of LinkedIn’s spam filters. If you’re paying for LinkedIn, LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator, you are going to be able to send more connection requests to people versus if you were using the free version of LinkedIn. Stay under the radar by keeping your connection requests within the safe harbor of under 50 per day. Or you’ll be flagged.
Polishing Your Vessel – Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your flagship; it must be shipshape. If they’re still not following up, it might be because your profile isn’t optimized. Ensure your profile reflects your expertise in the marine industry, from the courses you’ve navigated to the seas you’ve charted. A polished profile is your beacon, signaling your expertise and professionalism to all in the industry.
I despise it when people reach out to me trying to sell something in marine and don’t have a single thing related to the marine industry on their profile.
As you hoist the sails of your LinkedIn networking journey, remember that the marine industry thrives on the strength of its connections. Be persistent, be personal, and above all, be passionate about the marine world you inhabit.
Connect with me on Linkedin at Merrill Charette
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