Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections
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.
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.[skype-status]
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.
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