While there are many important LinkedIn tips, having a focus on the relationship with our connections is critical. Once upon a time on LinkedIn, we only connected with people that we actually knew and endorsed. Today, its likely that you and I have connected with people who we wouldn’t recognize if we bumped into them on the street. In this article, I cover LinkedIn tips related to strengthening the relationship with select connections which increases the total value of your network.
We often hear statements like “LinkedIn doesn’t work. I put up my profile, and connected with people, and nothing happened.”
While there can be benefits to having passive connections on LinkedIn, I see these loose connections as untapped potential. Every connection represents a relationship possibility / opportunity. A chance to learn. An opportunity to broaden your horizons.
Step 1: Develop a practice of paying a visit to the profiles in your LinkedIn network
LinkedIn Tips – Familiarize with the professional background and interests of your connections: There is so much potential goodness in learning more about the people who are connected to you. Both so that you can be of more value to the person and because you never know what opportunities, ideas and avenues will open from discovering something new about your connections.
LinkedIn Tips – Understand their goals: Hopefully, you have made a connection with this person for a reason. Taking the time to understand something about their professional and personal priorities goes a long way to making a relationship more meaningful. “How can I help you?” are magic words. Of course, this requires finesse and needs to be done in context.
Step 2: Decision Point
Now that you understand your connection a bit better, its decision time.
- Is this someone you’d like to get to know more?
- Are you content to have them as a connection?
- Or do you see a reason to cull them from your connections?
Step 3: Take an Action
If you want to keep them as a regular or high-priority connection, then you can create value and strengthen the relationship by taking an action during the profile visit.
Here are some ideas:
LinkedIn Tips – Follow-up: If you see this connection as high priority, reach out to make that coffee meeting, call or email conversation happen. While the Messaging function is very easy to use in LinkedIn, it can be a bit of a judgment call as to whether email would be more direct.
LinkedIn Tips – Endorse a Skill: I am not a giant fan of LinkedIn’s Skill Endorsement feature. However, as it seems here to stay, people who are serious about their professional identity need to pay attention to their skill endorsements. Where you have confidence that your connection has a particular skill or expertise area, support their branding efforts with your endorsement. It takes just a few seconds.
LinkedIn Tips – Point out a Typo in their profile: We’ve all been in a situation where we thought we took care to ensure an error-free document, only to find an annoying spelling error, typo or obvious mistake. This is a simple, 1-minute favour you can do on an ad-hoc basis if you notice something.
LinkedIn Tips – Make introductions in your network: One of the key strategies to be of value and relevant with your network is to be a connector. Someone who knows people and who brings people together. When you know two different people who you think would mutually benefit from meeting each other, make the introduction. Write about the overlapping interests and talk-up the achievements of each individual. Everyone wins.
LinkedIn Tips – Refer a resource: If you share overlapping industries, professions, or interests, you may know of a high value resource, like a LinkedIn group, a site, newsletter or book that could be of use to your connection. Share it.
LinkedIn Tips – Say hello: At a minimum, rather than visiting their profile and departing, you can send a quick hello / check-in message (if appropriate to your relationship).
LinkedIn functions like your CRM. Develop the practice of better understanding your network through regular profile visits and follow-ups. I’ll do a follow-up article on some simple things you can do on an ongoing basis to support the members of your LinkedIn network.
To better leverage your time and presence on LinkedIn (and ensure you’re making the impression you intend to, get in touch regarding LinkedIn profile services.