I’ve often heard variations of:
- I’m on LinkedIn and I keep getting lots of connection requests
- I’m on LinkedIn and I’m not really sure what to do next.
- I’m on LinkedIn and people I don’t know want to connect with me
If you’ve also wondered this, keep reading.
What is LinkedIn for?
I think of it as a professional networking site, a place to meet and get to know other professionals. Maybe that sounds like an electronic version of the many networking meetings that business owners go to.
It is possible to get invoiceable business from LinkedIn (I know this as we do), in the same way as networking meetings. That’s what I focus on doing, but not by being a pushy sales person, or simply thrusting my business card into peoples hand (as some do at networking meetings)
Why more connections are good
I often hear two arguments:
- Connect with anybody (LinkedIn Open Networker)
- Connect only with those you know well
My belief is that more connections are useful and therefore, with some caveats, I’ll connect with anybody. I recommend others do too. Some benefits of more connections:
- More potential for others to see the useful material I make available
- More potential for me to see people “I know” in discussion groups
- Much better results when I use the search function
- What other benefits do you see?
Focus on the connections that matter
It is possible to waste hours talking to everybody. Focus on those connections that matter to you.
Using the tag function on LinkedIn can help you to do this easily. From the main menu select Contacts and then Connections. This lists all of your connections and allows you to arrange them into useful groups (e.g. I have one called “A-listers”).
Connecting won’t get you invoiceable business
Once you have a connection, do something with it. LinkedIn is a good vehicle to start to understand others, know how you can help them and vice-versa. Check out their profile, what status updates do they issue, what groups do they belong to (and what do they contribute to them)?
You can, to a point, chat and get to know them. However you then need to get the conversation offline!
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4 tips to start getting more from LinkedIn
- Connecting with a wide range of people is good, so I do accept connections from those I don’t think will spam me
- To connect with them simply accept the request, then send them a quick “Hello”
- Use the tag function to arrange your contacts in a useful way.
- Connections per-se are useless, unless you are doing something with them (e.g. using the search facility).
- Develop a contact strategy for those relationships you want to take further
Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees. Click here for your copy.