Networking for business is critical to your success. You find people with whom you can synergistically carve out a relationship that will be mutually beneficial and one that will stand the test of time. Connecting with influencers is key.
There are so many different social media channels with which you can connect, depending on your business needs and your offerings. The various social media channels offer a variety of features and tools. However, the one thing that they have in common is that all allow people to connect with other people. Networking (online as well as in person) is extremely important for your business. There is a great deal that you can do online to connect with other people and to establish and maintain solid and fruitful relationships. Many people use numerous social media channels for business but one of the strongest ones of all is LinkedIn. Between setting up a complete profile, using the Questions and Answers feature, and taking part in discussions on LinkedIn groups, you can form some incredible relationships that will really help you to get to the next level with your business.
When mutual benefit is discussed, it truly means that you and the other person help each other in a profound way and that you maintain that sort of relationship. There are certain steps that you should follow in order to connect with influencers on LinkedIn. If you follow the steps diligently, you will succeed at connecting with the people with whom you feel you want to connect.
Finding the people
The thing to do first and foremost is to fill out your profile on LinkedIn completely. You need to make sure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. If you aren’t confident that you will catch all errors, you should ask someone to take a look at your profile after you have finished filling it out. A second pair of eyes is generally a good thing.
Once you feel that it is perfect, you need to start searching for other people with whom you wish to connect. You should think in terms of your connecting with a large number of influencers and other people with whom you share a common interest. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you have a personal brand that is communicated clearly through your LinkedIn profile. A wonderful way to gain a strong foothold in LinkedIn is by offering to write recommendations for other people. Of course, you can only do that for people with whom you are closely connected. The recommendation should be solid and meaningful and you can only write that if you know what you are talking about. Once you have written a recommendation for a person, there is nothing wrong with your asking the other person to write one for you.
When you are searching for people with whom to connect, it is important that your reason for connecting with them is a solid one. You should look for people who complement you professionally. If you don’t have that connection, you most likely won’t be able to get very far in business together. An excellent filter is the other person’s profile. If you don’t see any sort of real connection between you and the other person, it probably isn’t worth pursuing it any further.
Connecting with the most appropriate people
Always keep in mind that it is about quality, not quantity. It won’t do you any good if you have 10,000 connections on LinkedIn but only know 300 of them. It is not enough to be able to say that you have a certain number of connections because those people whom you don’t know won’t be able to help you at all. Your goal is to establish relationships in which both sides benefit. Also, because of the quality of LinkedIn as a social media channel, the quality of your connections is also a big contributing factor when it comes to you success through that channel. When you reach out to someone to connect with you, make sure to stay away from the template greetings. You should write a more personal message. After all, your relationship will be based on the fact that you are both human beings and the fact that you will react to each other emotionally. Canned messages won’t do anything for you or your business.
Give more than you receive
Once you have established the connection and both sides agree that they want to be connected, reach out and let the other person get to know you better. Interacting is exactly what will allow your relationship to grow and to flourish. That can take many forms, including asking and answering questions, partaking in discussions, and offering to write recommendations. The fact that you may never have done business with the other person is not relevant. Considering that it is the beginning of your relationship, there is no way that you could have yet. The more you interact, the stronger your relationship will become.
Act as a person who does the connecting
As you continue to use LinkedIn for your business, not only will you connect with people but you will also connect people with other people. If you see that two people with whom you have a connection will benefit from being connected to each other, connect them. Everyone will be happy about it. You should do that at every possible opportunity.
Always keep mutual benefit in mind
Consistency and mutual benefit are what allows your relationship to succeed. Never be strongly connected one minute and then not there the next minute. People need to be able to depend on the fact that they can count on you always. If you can prove yourself in that manner, the other person will show you the same thing in return.
You should never discount any connection. It is very important to be open-minded and to consider the value in all people when it comes to connecting with people through LinkedIn. Of course, influencers help you to get where you want to be and even if it seems challenging at times to connect with them, it is well worth the effort. LinkedIn can help you in many ways to bring your business to that next level of success. If you find that some connections are not worthwhile in the end, it is totally fine for you to let them go but you will have made that decision after you have educated yourself and have considered the pros and cons of the situation.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).