Building Better LinkedIn Connections
All too often business owners will resist using LinkedIn to build relationships with prospects, make connections with vendors or partner with others. LinkedIn might seem like a place that’s good for uploading your resume and connecting with people you already know. But in reality it’s a place where you can make great connections that can help you further your career or grow your business.
Relationship building is what makes a company memorable. Think about Apple, Ritz Carlton, Hershey’s (and various other companies) and how they share similar values with their customers. You want to do the same with your connections. Connect with those who share your values and then begin building a relationship with them.
- One way to do this is to share content that is relevant and helpful to them. Consider their needs and how you can help them. Do research on them and follow what they are doing.
- Build relationships with your connections through groups. Join LinkedIn groups related to your market niche. With these highly targeted people and business, you can share insightful advice and help those interested in what your company has to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as well. Be a participant in the group.
- Be genuine in how you deal with your connections. Be honest. Don’t be phony or pushy with your sales focus.
- Give recommendations to those you have worked with. They might even return the favor and give you a recommendation.
- Share and comment on updates from your connections on a daily basis.
- Endorse your connections. The Endorsements feature allows you to recognize a particular skill or area of expertise of your connections. When you make an endorsement, they receive a notification that lets them know you think they are great at “blogging” or “Social Media Strategy” or “Choosing Wine.”
- Give compliments to your connections on their products, services or posts.
- Act as a resource to others. Add value and advice to status updates when necessary.
- Send a “thank you” message when someone accepts your invitation.
You’ve taken the time to get connections on LinkedIn. Now take the time to build those connections into lasting business relationships. Professional networking has always been about giving something in order to get something back in return. Online networking is no different. Whatever your goals are, building relationships with your connections is a win-win for all involved.
What Happens Next
LinkedIn is about connections. Connections make up your network. Your network brings you opportunities. In short, new opportunities come from relationships you have built.
There are many ways to find and make connections on LinkedIn. You can use the advanced search to target people, groups and companies you are interested in. Simply type in your search term, such as a particular skill, certification or industry, and then choosing the filters like the location or company size to get a more distinct search. The results will show up as a photo, title and the connection to you.
Or you can use the skills section to research skills and search terms. It includes related terms, people and groups that best match the skill you input.
Every connection you make on LinkedIn should align with your own values. Build your own profile so that it includes not only your current position but every job and instance of volunteer work you’ve done in the past. Keep your status updated. Send personalized invitations to connect.
Build relationships and new connections by joining groups and interacting on them. Meet connections at local events they are attending.
Contact connections that live in areas you are visiting when you travel. Ask them if they want to meet up for lunch or coffee. Or have a small group networking get together with several contacts that live in the same area.
Reach out to influential connections, explaining who you are and who referred you to them. Give them a compliment before you ask for their advice.
Don’t just be a listener. Serve as a resource for your connections. Provide value and insight to others. Send private detailed messages to connections with additional tips or resources to help them accomplish their goals.
Don’t just connect with others. Be involved and build relationships with your connections.