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Building the Right Connections on LinkedIn

Building your network on LinkedIn is one of the most important things you can be doing to build your business. You’ll want to connect with people you’ve met and worked with in all walks of your life, including friends and family.

I often refer to LinkedIn as your ‘Trust Bank Account’. When you invest your money in a Bank Account you gain interest. We all know that storing money in jars around our house isn’t going to do us much good, and it is exactly the same with our network. If we have little pockets of people and connections all over the place, we won’t be getting the same value as if we bring them all together in one place.

For the business owner, this is definitely via LinkedIn.

The value of your network is the trust you have stored up. It is someone’s opinion of you, their belief in your professional ability and skill, their trust in your character and their willingness to help you succeed.

Tap into this and you’ll quickly build your business.

The real power of LinkedIn kicks in when you’ve connected with a minimum of 200 people, which should be easy for most people to do.

At this point your status updates, images, articles and comments will start to gain the exposure they deserve because it isn’t just this initial 200 people that will see it – it’s their network too.

If you are connected with 200 people who are also connected with 200-5000+ individuals, the power of your 2nd-degree network begins to become infinite.

Let me explain. If someone in your network likes, comments, or shares on your update it will appear in their feed and be visible to a high proportion of their connections. Thus, your message is now being seen by a much bigger audience (and for free).

When I began TheProfile.Company I announced the launch on LinkedIn. A member of a local networking group I am part of ‘Liked’ the comment. A few hours later I noticed an invitation to connect from someone I didn’t know. I wrote back and asked if I could help them at all. Within a week, he became my first paying client. Prior to this, he was a complete stranger and someone I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to make contact with.

So here are some starting points to get you going:

 

  • Should I connect with everyone?

The answer to this question is – It depends. It depends on what you want to achieve. A popular online LinkedIn training provider I know recommends connecting with thousands of people in a very short space of time and shows you how to do this without LinkedIn shutting you out of your account.

Personally, I disagree with this teaching, and I think that the very fact that LinkedIn will bar your account shows they don’t agree with it either.

If you’re receiving invitations from people you don’t know and wondering why it could be they are following this teaching. Let how you feel about this be your guide to whether you want to do the same to others.

Simply put, LinkedIn is about developing valuable connections to people you want to do business with and/or, you want to refer business to.

Your wealth is in your network

This is a popular definition of wealth and is basically saying, that should you lose your business, your home and basically everything you own, you are still wealthy if you have a strong network of people ready to support you to start again.

So, should you connect with everyone? Well, let us see…

If you’re in sales

If you’re in sales, having a tight network of people you value, and that value you, will allow you to take full advantage of the ‘Advance Search’ function to find new leads. However, if you are connected with lots of people you don’t know, the ‘Shared Connection’s button will deliver little value since you won’t know the person you share in common well enough to ask for an introduction.

If you’re a Thought-Leader

If you are someone with a mission to change how people think or feel about a subject and want people to be part of a ‘moment’ then connecting with anyone who asks is important.

They may not be an ideal prospect for you or even be considering buying from you at this stage, but they may well like your message and want to be part of what you are doing. If you have a strong LinkedIn profile that reflects your message, then you can be pretty certain that an invitation is because they want to know more about you and what you stand for.

Connecting with them will allow your updates, articles, and images be shared with their network and ultimately spread further.

If you’re looking to build a following, I definitely recommend connecting, but before you do read on…

 

  • How Should I Handle Invitations

With all the invitations that you receive, the best practice is to write back and ask the person why they want to connect. If they haven’t customised their message it might be LinkedIn didn’t give them the chance or they simply skipped the step. Either way, asking will generate new leads if not start a conversation.

If you don’t want to invite them into your network yet, you can simply reply without accepting their invitation.

If you’re running the Thought-Leadership strategy, however, I recommend writing back and accepting the invitation. As a further note, you may wish to add a tag to their profile to remind you that they asked to connect. ‘ This way you’ll have a record of the origin of the relationship and can easily apply more advanced strategies later. Personally, I tag ‘Asked to Connect’.

 

  • What is the right way to send an invitation?

Since you have to handle invitations from people you don’t know and also send back messages asking them why they want to connect, you can do your bit to help build your network without putting people in the same situation.

When sending an invitation to connect, there are a few things you want to do:

Firstly, always send the invitation when viewing their actual LinkedIn profile as any other method could result in the invitation firing off without giving you the option to write a personalised message. This means not clicking the blue Connect button in the search results lists or suggested connections. You need to view their actual profile.

Secondly, you want to personalise the message and say how you met the person and/or why you want to connect. Don’t rely on them seeing this though so if you ask something specific and they don’t respond, make sure you mail again within a few hours of connecting and repeat your request.

Thirdly, you’ll need to say how you met. You will likely need to select ‘We’ve done business together’ even if you haven’t. It’s just one of those things. The alternative is to look at their profile and see if they have provided their email. If they have, ‘copy/paste’ it into the box that appears when you click ‘I don’t know this person’.

 

Summary

  • Reply to connections asking why they want to connect with you
  • Decide whether you want to accept everyone or only those you see as valuable
  • Personalise your invitations
  • Build a minimum of 200 connections
  • Share content regularly and
  • Comment /Like /Share other people’s content regularly

Got a question? Post them below and we’ll do our best to answer.

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