When you think about it, you’re most likely to get referrals from people you have a strong relationship with - people you ‘know, like and trust’ to use the well known networking saying.
If LinkedIn is all about making connections, how do you make sure those connections develop into meaningful, productive relationships? You might feel quite proud of the fact you’ve grown your network to over 500+ contacts but how many of those people really know you? How do you take LinkedIn from being just a list of names to becoming a powerful business tool?
At traditional networking groups in the ‘real world’, you will be most successful if you turn up on a regular basis so that you can build relationships and stay ‘front of mind’. It’s all about being the mortgage broker someone immediately thinks of when they are asked to recommend someone. If your attendance is sporadic, you’re unlikely to enjoy the same success as someone who’s there every week.
It’s no different in the online world. If you just dip in and out of LinkedIn when you feel like it, you won’t be getting the most out of it. So think about how you can build a consistent approach into your routine and be visible.
There are some other useful parallels with traditional networking. When you attend a networking event, you’ll decide:
what to wear
what image you want to portray
what topics you want to talk about
how you’ll introduce yourself to someone new
how to follow up with someone after the event.
You need to consider the same things on LinkedIn. How often will you ‘attend’, what image does your profile give, how will you communicate with people, how will you connect with someone new and how will you continue the conversation?
Above all, it’s important to be natural and authentic so try and come across on LinkedIn as if you were meeting someone face to face. Always think about how you can help someone and add value rather than adopting a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) approach. The likelihood is you will get something out of it but not if that’s your primary motivation. The biggest turn-off is if someone connects with you and then immediately starts selling so aim to connect, maintain a regular presence and gradually grow the relationship.
Here are some helpful tips which will get you into the habit of using LinkedIn effectively each day but that won’t take up a lot of time.
Log in and scan the homepage
Have a look at your connections’ updates - ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ as appropriate
Like and comment on any company updates
Choose 3 people you’re keen to build a relationship with and like or comment on their updates
Choose 3 groups to actively participate in and join in the discussions
Once a week, start a new discussion in a group
At least once a month, publish an article via LinkedIn publisher
Don’t leave it there, though, if you’ve entered into conversation with someone, make sure you give a response. Review your notifications to see if any comments have been made. Remember to review your messages too, in case someone has contacted you directly. Be mindful of which area of the platform you’re in - whether you’re in a 1-1 ‘meet for a coffee’ environment such as Messages or at a networking type event such as in a group or public conversation.
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