6 Steps for Networking and Making Live Connections on Linkedin
LinkedIn can be used for more than passively waiting for people to respond to your profile. If you don’t take an active role in managing and promoting your account, chances are not much will happen. Here are 6 steps for networking and making live connections on linked.
1. Make sure your profile is complete and compelling. This means filling out all the sections and having a decent profile picture. Any picture is better than not having any at all, but try to have a good professional looking photo that shows you to your best advantage. The more institutions that you list that you are or have been associated with, the more people will be able to find you who where also associated with those institutions.
Although your profile will list your accomplishments, it should be focused on the reader, and what your unique value proposition is. You proposition should state how you will help a prospect with your knowledge, experience and processes. A prospect is not interested in who you are, until they know how you can help them.
2. Remember that Linkedin is social media first and foremost. People want to be engaged, spend some time browsing online, and have a conversation. They are there for business and to pursue their goals, but they need to have a chance to get to know people. Nothing will turn off members sooner, or cause them to block then you a “hard sell,” or appearing so often in their timeline it seems like you are stalking them. Keep it light and social. Contribute value and prospects will be happy to interact with you.
3. When sending requests and messages, make sure you personalize them in a way that the person you are contacting knows that you understand who they are and how you can help them. Make it a point not to use the default request for making connections. The default implies that you put no thought or effort into your request. A better request for a connection would indicate that you had read a member’s profile, and picks out specific areas that you feel are of interest to that person, and how you can be helpful.
When someone accepts a request for a connection, whether you made the request or they did, send out a personalized thank you. This will start your new relationship on the right foot. Follow up in a reasonable time with other helpful personalized messages to start building a relationship.
4. Join the maximum of 50 groups that Linkedin allows. You can join some groups related to your industry, networking if that interests you, or groups about hobbies that interest you. But you mostly want to join groups where you ideal prospects hang out. You then need to monitor these groups and respond to the group wherever you can be helpful. You can also ask questions for the benefit of the group, but remember to avoid the hard sell. Groups will give you another opportunity to meet members in your grouping of ideal prospects on a favorable basis.
5. Consider getting Linkedin Premium. This will allow you to target prospects who are in your ideal client category. You can identify contacts by location, business size, occupation, education, groups they participate in and many more factors. Target a manageable group of people each week like 3 to 7 contacts. Engage these people with in-mails, group engagements, following their posts and commenting, and perhaps asking for a connection. You can try Premium for free for a month.
6. Take the relationship offline. After you have built a relationship with your prospect over a period of time, you can suggest to the prospect that setting up a meeting for coffee or something simple would be a good idea. Use your expert knowledge of the prospects situation to suggest a reason that could be mutually beneficial to both of you such as sharing ideas, resources or skills. People are on Linkedin to form business relationships and most potential prospects will respond positively to a well thought out invitation that shows you understand the prospects situation, and can provide a benefit to the prospect.
This is the process I use to make Linkedin an active source of prospects, rather than hoping for the odd passive referral. Please try it out for yourself. I would love to hear how it works for you, and what improvements or refinements you would have to suggest. I am excited to learn all I can about social networking.
If you find this article useful, please join my newsletter here to receive many more useful tips.