With over 433 million users LinkedIn really is a valuable (free) tool for opening up opportunities for you and your business.
However, just like when you network in person there is a social etiquette to ensuring you connect with the right people in the right way.
Patience is a virtue even on Social Media so when you connect with someone on LinkedIn, be sure not message them immediately and sell yourself. That smacks of desperation and is a sure way to be deleted as a connection immediately.
Connect and wait
Wait until you have the right opportunity to build the relationship.
Wait until you have the right professional opportunity to assist the new connection with what they do.
As Brian Tracy (author of Eat that Frog) suggests:
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, what’s in it for me”.
Helping others should be a natural extension of your business. That’s why you got into business wasn’t it? To help others in some way?
So get out there and help the people that you want help from.
Show that you are thinking of the connection and what they do and they are much more likely to help you be successful in return.
Here are our Top 4 tips on getting the most out of connecting with someone on LinkedIn.
Find out what will help the connection
If you’re connecting with somebody on LinkedIn then you need to try and understand what is valuable to that connection.
Is it more opportunities?
Is it increasing profitability?
Is it gaining access to more people resources?
Make an effort to ask them where they need help in their business, and keep that in mind when you see an opportunity.
Sometimes a great ice-breaker is discovering that you both have something in common, such as having worked at the same company in the past or using the same cloud accounting software such as QuickBooks Online.
Now that you know what is valuable to a connection then the easiest way to help others is to simply share your knowledge.
Every connection and every day is an opportunity to show your expertise in your subject matter. If you are a subject matter expert on some area that may assist a connection then share this knowledge with the connection and share it for free.
This is free from a financial perspective and will only cost you a little bit of your time, but will go a long way to showing your connection that you have valuable knowledge that they or their connections may need.
Making connections aware of an opportunity
It’s important to keep an eye out for opportunities for your business as well as your connections.
It could be the opportunity to contribute to an article in the media or it could be a tender that they should submit a proposal for. The important thing is to having your key connections in your mind as well as your own business when you looking for opportunities.
Once you see an opportunity, think about who could benefit from knowing about it.
I have made key business connections, who have contributed significantly to my revenue, simply based on sending them an opportunity that they have pursued and subsequently won.
A single opportunity for someone else can change your business immediately.
Give an introduction
A lot of people talk a big game, but fail to follow through.
Hoarding your connections isn’t going to grow your network. Set your connections free. If you know somebody who can make a difference to a connection then introduce them.
If one of your connections posts a role and another connection would suit it perfectly then introduce the two of them.
A lot of people think to introduce people, but mainly through apathy, never actually follow through.
Make an effort to actually send out relevant introductions or opportunities each week.
Ultimately you have to remember that you only get out of LinkedIn what you are prepared to put in to it and because LinkedIn is free the vast majority of professionals and businesses don’t spend enough time in building their network on LinkedIn.
However because it is free is exactly why you should be spending some time each week building your network.
You can derive a huge return for your business with no financial output simply by connecting with people and continuing to build these relationships the same way that you would in real life, by helping them.
Now that you understand how to build your LinkedIn relationships sustainably next month we will discuss making your LinkedIn profile standout from the crowd.
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