Leveraging LinkedIn: The Strength of Weak Ties
In 1973, Mark Granovetter proposed a theory about social interaction in the American Journal of Sociology entitled The Strength of Weak Ties. His assertion was that people close to you know about the same opportunities, projects, people, job openings and events that you do. As a result, while your close network may have the best of intentions, they may not be able to help you with access to new opportunities because they are the same ones you are already aware of.
If you expand your reach beyond your closer circles, you tap into your other connections which exposes you to a whole new set of options. You are able to access things happening in their circles while providing them access to yours. This is the strength of weak ties. It can be a very mutually beneficial relationship.
The easiest and fastest way to strengthen your weak ties is to broaden your LinkedIn connections. If you have not already created an account on LinkedIn, I strongly recommend you do so. Here are your next steps:
- Add the people you know to your network. LinkedIn will then create a list of people it thinks you might know based on mutual contacts. Go through those and add your outer circle to your network, too.
- Get active! As you build your online network, post periodic updates about opportunities you have available as well as those you seek.
- Update your LinkedIn status with links to articles that you find interesting. Others may enjoy them, too. More importantly, they will remember you for posting useful information.
Doing this will put you on the radar of your outer circle. If you see a post from a distant colleague that resonates with you, reach out and say hello. Your initiative will leverage your weaker ties and open up new circles of contacts and opportunities.