7 simple steps to make meaningful LinkedIn connections.

Whether you’re an avid LinkedIn user or you’re only just in the midst of creating your LinkedIn profile, it’s essential that you use the social networking site to its full potential by building meaningful business connections.

LinkedIn is used by millions of businesses and people from all over the globe, so before you go about accepting connection requests from everyone who sends them your way, think again.  Although LinkedIn is a professionals’ website, it is not fully free from spammers, hackers and people who are not looking to make genuine connections.

LinkedIn is the place to be selective when it comes to choosing your connections.  There’s no use in making meaningless and random connections, the first thing we all focus on is building up our connections in order to grow our online influence, visibility and credibility.   But what’s the use in making all these connections if you aren’t really connected?  If you’re simply a connection of someone and have no further dialogue or contact, then what have you really accomplished?

In order to attract the right kind of connections to your profile, here are a few little things to think about:

  • Consider your target audience, are you looking for users to approach you or vice versa?   If you’re in the energy sector there’s no point advertising yourself to attract agricultural industry workers.
  • Figure out how you want to present yourself on LinkedIn. Do you want to paint yourself as an expert in a particular field or are you just starting out?  Make sure you use the right keywords when it comes to summarising yourself and describing your work and attributes.
  • Another way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to use it in a similar way to that of Twitter. By adding as many relevant contacts as possible in order to increase the chance that you’ll be seen, resulting in an online presence and the sharing of your work on the platform.
  • Connect with your clients. Connecting with your existing customers and following their company is an excellent opportunity to stay up to date on any changes within the organization.
  • Identify common contacts. If you think you know them it won’t hurt to try and link with them.  When you’re attempting to make that first point of contact with someone who you may not know, but you wish to know, find a hook, or a link.

Due to LinkedIn’s privacy settings it’s difficult to connect with people within companies that you haven’t worked with before, or met.  Therefore before sending out a random, blind connection request, search around and see whom you might know in common.  Ask them to introduce you.

  • Be an open networker. The best way to approach your connections and REALLY connect is to write them a short and snappy, customised email or message.  Introduce yourself, your business and why you’d like to connect.  Alternatively introduce yourself and tell them you share a mutual connection.
  • There are 7 simple steps to follow in order to really make meaningful connections on LinkedIn:
  1. Never send someone a cold, blunt email that’s more or less saying ‘buy my stuff.’
  2. Try to make your first contact point focus on the other person, it will come across a lot better, will be well received and it will hopefully make them like you better.
  3. If you’ve read or researched some of their work, tell them you’ve done so, it will gain you brownie points.
  4. Engage in an actual conversation about them, not you. The time will come to talk about you eventually.
  5. After this conversation about them you will be able to determine if they need what you sell. Then and only then should you make the conversation topic about you.
  6. Don’t just start sending streams and streams of information about your business and what you’re selling, ask their permission to send it, build a mutual interest.  This way they are more likely to pay attention to what you’ve sent them.
  7. After you’ve sent your information to them, follow up with them to gain their opinion on what they saw. If it’s a positive opinion, take it further and ask them to take another step.