LinkedIn is the social media platform for professionals and business connections. Ideal for building your professional profile, it can be harnessed for job seeking, recruitment, networking, and building valuable professional relationships and connections.
DID YOU KNOW: Numerous LinkedIn users join the platform then fail to fully leverage their contacts on the platform.
Yet the entire point of this social media platform is to build meaningful and valuable relationships that are related to your work, career, business, and industry. You need to know how to get LinkedIn connections and how to make them work for your benefit.
So how do you connect on LinkedIn?
Making LinkedIn work for you
The entire purpose of using social media in all of its forms is to build connections. Engaging with these connections adds depth and purpose to your endeavours. It is through engagement that relationships are born.
Through solid online social relationships, opportunities are created and your business can benefit from referrals and introductions for mutual benefit.
Building your list of LinkedIn connections will enhance both your online visibility and your online influence. It will also help build your personal brand.
The visibility you have is directly proportional to the number of connections you have – but only if these connections are strategically targeted. Yet there is much more that LinkedIn is good for than simply connecting on a superficial level, and a deeper use of the platform can really maximise the benefit of the connections you make there.
Consider this: Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is just the first step; if you have no further interaction or dialogue with them, what was the point? What have you accomplished?
New businesses and well established businesses have many things in common, and one of these is their relationships. Relationships take time to be built from initial connection, and LinkedIn provides a unique and dedicated social platform for business to business relationship building and fostering connections and relationships between professionals.
The question that then begs to be asked is, how can you develop LinkedIn connections that are meaningful?
6 ways to develop meaningful LinkedIn connections
- Don’t waste time
The ideal time for you to seek a deeper connection on LinkedIn is promptly after you have made a new connection, been introduced, or answered a question or received an answer to a question you have asked on the platform. This is the right time to initiate a deeper, one-on-one conversation. By doing this, you are setting the tone for ongoing dialogue, and potentially even phone calls and meeting in person.
- Leverage location information
You can see where your connections are via their LinkedIn profiles. If you are in a particular area, find out which of your connections are located there and determine who you can meet with for the benefit of that relationship. This is ideal networking practice and can lead to greater things – you just have to make that first move and stimulate the interaction.
- Link to both existing and past real-life contacts
Search for and reach out to people from previous jobs you’ve held, volunteer service, school, college, and university. They may not themselves have a direct interest in your industry, but their connections might – and your access to these connections can be very valuable in time.
- Seek professional or expert advice
People love to feel like their views and opinions are considered to be valuable and seeking advice from your connections on LinkedIn is a great way to make them feel important, boosting their egos, while captivating their attention at the same time.
Do this by explaining who you are, highlighting your commonality, asking for their advice, and complimenting them on their experience or expertise in a subtle way. You need to also have a valid reason for seeking their advice and this should be communicated to them.
Thank them in advance for any help they can offer. By doing this, you are deepening your connection with them and building a stronger relationship in small steps.
- Take advantage of upcoming events
Some events are highlighted on the network and you can see those in your area and if any of your connections are attending. These events represent a very valuable opportunity to connect with your online connections in person; they also provide opportunities to meet new people with whom to make new connections via LinkedIn.
- Be an industry authority
You can maximise your effectiveness and develop much more meaningful relationships in the LinkedIn platform by being an authority in your niche. Serve as a resource to your connections.
Look to your connections for their status updates, questions, and discussions to see where you can provide added value, resources, insights, etc.
By being perceived as a valuable resource by your connections, you will create further opportunities to move your relationships with them out of the platform and into the real world.
Reply to status updates and discussions, but only if you have something of value to add. You can follow up with them via private messaging on the platform to provide extra information for their benefit.
Have you done our free LinkedIn eCourse? Get it here!
How else can you build your network so that it continues to grow with appropriate, high value members for you?
First and foremost … you need to be updating your status regularly, showing an active presence on the platform.
FAST FACT: Two-thirds of LinkedIn users visit the platform at least twice a week.
To appear in the news feeds of your connections and maintain your visibility and presence in their minds, you need to be active on a consistent basis. This does take some effort, but the rewards will be yours to reap.
Activity includes status updates, sharing and commenting on the activity of your connections (first, second, and third-degree), sending invitations for connection, answering questions, and participation in LinkedIn Group Discussions.
If you use Twitter…
Be wary of sharing tweets directly to LinkedIn. It won’t allow for further engagement with your tweets in the LinkedIn platform. It can also be annoying to many of your connections.
Consistently look for opportunities to connect – use the “People You May Know” feature, the Alumni search feature, and your second and third degree connections.
Time your activity strategically. Most users of the platform are active in the afternoons and early evening. This is the time you should aim to be active as well for greatest visibility and response.
Create and share your own unique content. This includes news, insights, and articles that pertain to your industry and your niche. They need to be relevant to your connections.
But remember, it can’t just be all about you! You need to be a resource – using social media to just be “me me me” will annoy your connections very quickly. When what you share with your connections is of high value to them, they will share it on – and this is how your online visibility grows exponentially.
Make LinkedIn work for your maximum benefit by strategically participating on the platform in order to build more valuable connections, getting to know those connections on a deeper level, and generating opportunities for face-to-face meetings. Investing in social networking is the key to optimal business growth and success.
Meanwhile, did we mention we have a free LinkedIn eCourse?
4 Week LinkedIn Optimisation Course: Not only do we share a bunch of valuable, relative and useful info on our blogs, but we’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of this platform especially for B2B enterprises. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, take a look at this course to raise your profile, generate leads and boost your business – so LinkedIn can start working for you.
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