How many times have you met someone after a networking event, added them on LinkedIn, then never talked to or seen them again? Probably too many. LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful business to business social media platform to engage with prospects, customers, business partners and leaders, so making meaningful connections and maintaining them are key.
Making relevant and meaningful connections
There are a two things that I hear on a regular basis:
- LinkedIn’s newsfeed is full of rubbish, and
- It’s full of recruiters and I’m not looking for a job
This is a result of a large and irrelevant pool of connections, and it’s easily fixed: clean up your connection list (disconnect with people you can’t stand seeing on your newsfeed overtime) and commit to making new connections meaningful going forward.
If you’re after as many connections as possible your newsfeed will be flooded with irrelevant information from individuals you have nothing in common with, and who have nothing to say or share that is relevant to you. So don’t just connect for the sake of it, connect for a reason that is applicable to you and your industry.
Once you start being more selective about who you connect with on LinkedIn you’ll find your content feed will be far more valuable to you and you’ll discover more interesting people to connect with.
But don’t stop there, that initial meaningful connection is a valuable touch-point that could turn into multiple touch-points and eventually a strong business connection or relationship.
Touch-points to turn a connection into a coffee
- Timing – if you met someone at an event, meeting, or have phoned or emailed them in a business capacity, aim to connect with them within 24 hours so you can reinforce their value to you.
- A personalised message (touch-point 1) – Instead of using the generic LinkedIn message to send a connection request, write a personalised greeting that tells them why you want to connect, or what it was on their profile that you thought would make them a great connection (yes you should read their profile first). This not only gives them more of a reason to agree to connect, but it also turns that connection request into a message in your LinkedIn messages – why this matters is next.
- Say thanks for connecting (touch-point 2) – if your connection request is accepted, and you’ve sent a personalised message, you’ll find the connection acceptance notification appears in your messages. If you’ve had no response to the original personalised message then now’s your chance to say thanks for connecting, and increase your chances of them seeing your original message and responding to you.
- Engage with their content (touch-point 3) – if they’re a LinkedIn ‘creator’, as in they use the platform to share/post ideas and content, then here’s your opportunity to engage with their posts. If you know the subject well then comment on their posts with your own thoughts or ideas. Otherwise you can ‘like’ the post and if it’s relevant to your network you could also share it. The person will receive a notification that you’ve engaged with their content – giving them further exposure to your name and what material is relevant to you.
- Ask for a one-to-one (touch-point 4) – by now they know your name, they have been exposed and spoken to you at several points, so asking to meet up for coffee is much easier and also more likely to be successful.
I use these steps frequently when I meet someone who I’d really like to build a business relationship with. It works! My network and business relationships is 100% up to me, and with a time consuming series of face-to-face group networking, this approach is how I squeeze in that little extra to make new connections, which on occasion can turn into incredibly valuable relationships.
Phillips & Phillips runs one-to-one personalised LinkedIn training for professionals wanting to learn how to use the platform effectively.