Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections

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Anybody who has any professional life at all (or even those who don’t) should have a profile on LinkedIn. It isn’t enough to have a profile. The profile must be complete and it must be working for you effectively.

LinkedIn is an extremely effective way to build relationships that will eventually lead to opportunities for you in business. It is also a great way to strengthen your network, keep it strong and get the most out of it for your business. Initially, you establish connections that will help you to increase your online exposure and boost your reputation. Make sure that your business has a profile that people can check out. You should include people with whom you work in your company.

Once you have accomplished that, you need to go to a deeper level with those people with whom you have started to build relationships. If you connect but don’t interact, neither of you will actually be gaining anything. Your interactions with other people are critical to the success of your business and you basically have to go from connecting with people to relating to them on a more personal level.

  • It’s all in the timing: Right after you have made a new connection, been introduced to a new business associate, responded to a question, received a response to a question that you have asked, or received a comment on some content that you have posted, you need to take the next step and start to actually communicate with that person in some way. There are many different ways that you can approach the person, such as complimenting him or her on something that he or she has said, asking a question (which demonstrates that you are interested), ask for some advice, or request an invitation to a person whom you don’t know yet but whom your new connection does.
     
  • Making the most out of events: You should pay close attention to the activities and events that your LinkedIn connections are involved with. There are probably a lot of events that are of value to you and your business in many ways. An easy way to find out about them is on LinkedIn. If they are attending those events, your connections will have them posted on their profiles. You should try to find live events that are taking place in your geographic area. Web events are another possibility and they can be of great benefit. You should visit the event’s RSVP page, check out who is going to be attending the event and communicate with a few of those individuals. You can send them a message through LinkedIn, telling them that you plan on attending that particular event and that you look forward to speaking with them there.
     
  • Combine face-to-face interactions with several connections in one location: If you will be travelling to an event that is in another city, state, or part of the country, you can make a point of setting up face-to-face meetings with several of your LinkedIn connections. You can meet them for coffee or lunch or even invite them to a small networking group so that you can all interact together.
     
  • Be a resource to others: It is important for you to know how to listen to others. However, it is also very important for you to be a resource to other people who need the benefit of your knowledge and expertise. That is a very effective way to build significant relationships with your connections on LinkedIn. You should pay as close attention to your LinkedIn connections as possible so that you are always on top of whatever information people need from you. Pay especially close attention to discussion topics. Discussion topics are one of the main building blocks of your relationships, which will eventually lead to increased business. You should reply to your connections’ status updates, questions, etc, publicly (even if your responses are brief). You should then follow up with a more detailed interaction.
     
  • Ask for advice from your connections: The majority of people love to give other people advice. People really enjoy being asked to give their opinions because it makes them feel that they are valued and appreciated. Whenever you reach out online, you should first explain who you are, how you came to reach out to that particular person, offer a sincere comment, and then ask for advice and explain why you are asking for their advice. You will be pleasantly surprised about how receptive the other person will be to you.

Conclusion

LinkedIn is one of the most effective professional social media websites. Absolutely everyone should have a profile and should be connecting all over the place and interacting as much as possible. It is critical that you not only have a profile on LinkedIn but that you make sure that your profile is as complete as it can possibly be and that you devote time to it on a committed and very regular basis.

We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. Please contact us at CompuKol Communications for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team and don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page.

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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.

7 Responses

  1. Connie Williamson says:

    I enjoyed this article very much. I am new to social media and to Linkedin. I have established an amazing network but have not been actively networking with those connections. You have given me some excellent ideas for following up. Thanks.

  2. JoAnn Petaschnick says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Publishing and editing professionals
    Discussion: Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections

    Thank you for an excellent article and great advice on how we can make the best use of LinkedIn.
    Posted by JoAnn Petaschnick

  3. Darryl Warren says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Writers World
    Discussion: Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections

    I actually enjoyed the idea of combining traditional networking tactics with LinkedIn, and appreciated your suggestions on how to do this ( i.e. I got meat on this one). I also understand what Mr. Mathie is asking and I might be able to offer a few ideas.

    Mr. Mathis, getting an invitation to join their network means somebody is trying to network with you. I had as similar situation, and had to go back to discussions I had participated in, finding the individual in question. I went to the discussion and clicked on “see all new discussions” ( a choice located under the “start a discussion” bar under your picture when you open that group). Once there, you look on the left and you will see “discussions I’ve joined” and when you click on this it shows all the discussions you have participated in. Usually their response within the discussion can tell you something about who they are. Also you can always click on their profile as well to see who they are and use Google to verify their credentials and reputation.

    You can send them a message off of the discussion group making those inquiries concerning how they know of you by sending a message privately (select “reply privately” within their response in the discussion) if you wish to make inquiries before accepting their invitation.

    I would limit settings on your LinkedIn profile so connections do not have access to your connections list if privacy is an issue.

    I hope this helps.


    Posted by Darryl Warren

  4. Ian Mathie says:

    I read your article with great interest and understood very little of it. This is because anything more complicated than a quill is a mystery to me and the world of cyberspace is something with which I struggle. I have managed to sign on to Linked In and joined in with a number of useful discussions, but all this business about making connections leaves me lost. 
    A number of people have sent me messages asking if i will accept to join their networks, but I haven't a clue what this means or how to get hold of any of them afterwards, so how can I know what they are up to? 

    You mention about events being listed on line – where? How do i find these if nobody gives a link? Please don't just say look on the internet, that just confuses me more. The internet is more of a mystery to me than the spiritual life of the mosquito. I need idiot pointers. 

    Friends keep telling me to look at their stuff on Facebook, but when i try it asks me to 'sign up' to something which is not explained and there is no way of finding out what i am signing up to until I do so. So how am i to make sense of this? I won't sign up to anything I don't have even a basic understanding of than nobody prints a simple handbook. 

    So how does one find all these 'connections? How do I find how many I may have acquired without even knowing it, who they are and what they do? 
    The discussions I have read and joined in have been interesting and informative, but beyond that i haven't a clue what Linked In does. 

    Can you explain as clearly as in your article?

  5. Ian Mathie says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Writers World
    Discussion: Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections

    Darryl – Thanks for this. I think it could be very helpful once i understand it. To do that I will have to follow you instructions and play with every button I can find on the system to see what it does and relate it to what you have explained. Learning anything with computers seems to take me ages, but I get there in the end. Thank heaven we didn't have computers in our planes when I used to fly jet fighters forty years ago, I'd never have got the job done. It seems to me computers have a way of complicating the most simple tasks until one has been through a long and complicated learning process and filled you head with all sorts of new and unnecessary jargon.
    I spend more time these days just trying to keep up rather than doing anything useful. Nevertheless, thanks for the guidance.
    Posted by Ian Mathie

  6. Nathan says:

    The best way to get more LinkedIn connections is by having quite a few when you start off.  That's how I did it anyways.  I ended up purchasing a few connections first to get my LinkedIn account going.

  7. Christina Schierling says:

    Thank you for posting this article.
    Your advice is wonderfully specific, practical and unique.