Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Networking tips from the pros, part of Growing Your Small Business with LinkedIn.
- [Instructor] There are many ways your LinkedIn profile can be used to grow your network, including examining the types of connections you can make, and exploring the tips, tools and techniques at your disposal. Here, we'll look at several networking tips and best practices to follow when reaching out to, connecting with and growing your LinkedIn connections. Number one, use LinkedIn to make connections before attending an in-person event. Instead of meeting a person for the first time at a networking event, see if you can make a LinkedIn connection ahead of time.
Then, when you have the opportunity to introduce yourself in person, you can mention that you both are already in each other's networks. This gives you common ground that can break the ice if they don't remember you. And if they do remember you, they'll feel like they're chatting with a business acquaintance that they knew prior to the event instead of a stranger. Two, make sure to personalize every single connection request. When sending invitations, avoid generic boilerplate messages. The last thing you want to do is look like a spammer. After you click the connect button, LinkedIn will give you the option to customize your connection request.
Personalize each message by offering a warm greeting, sharing your name and your business, and the reason you would like to connect. In other words, keep it short, simple, and friendly. Three, don't hesitate to make indirect connections. In other words, it doesn't have to be all about collecting prospective clients when you network. You should also be intentional about connecting with valuable business intermediaries, including event organizers, speakers and facilitators, potential referral partners, mentors, and strategic partners.
These are connections who may not necessarily be potential clients and customers. However, that can spread the word about your brand, get you an audience with the right people, and facilitate connections on your behalf. Four, save the sales for later. When a member accepts your invitation to connect, don't immediately hit them with a sales pitch. Instead, start off with a short, friendly thank you for accepting the invitation while you evaluate the next best opportunity to reach out. Five, be sure to respond promptly to all messages you receive on LinkedIn.
The one connections who reach out to you to feel like their message is important and you appreciate the time and effort they took to contact you. Number six, follow up strategically. Remember that people do business with those they know, like and trust, and they generally consume multiple pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. So it's likely you'll have to do some nurturing before your prospects are ready to buy from you. Therefore you should be strategic in your communications and avoid coming on too strong or salesy at first, and figure out creative, helpful ways to engage connections on a regular basis.
You could accomplish this in several different ways, including replying when connections comment on your posts, sharing an article or other resource you think they would find valuable, congratulating connections on a work anniversary, a milestone for completing a project or winning an award, inviting them to an event you plan to attend or speaking at, or making an introduction to someone who could be helpful to them. Number seven. Regularly publish relevant, informative, and engaging content. We've previously discussed content publishing and how valuable it can be as a positioning and networking tool.
Here are a few common examples of content types. Live video is a great way to share information, experiences, and perspective through the most engaging form of content. Use video to introduce yourself, your product, service, or solution. You can make a quick tutorial on how to do something, or take people behind the scenes of your business. Publishing articles is the primary vehicle for sharing content to your LinkedIn network. Contribute your professional insights, share your knowledge on a particular topic, and express your opinion on relevance subjects.
Also actively share other content you come across. Have you read an article you think some of your connections might find entertaining or useful? Is there a video available that does a great job of explaining a concept that pertains to your business or the industry you're in? If so, take the opportunity to share that content with your connections. You can add hashtags, solicit feedback, and provide brief commentary to further the conversation. One more great thing about the content you share, there's a good chance that it'll show up in many of your connections' LinkedIn feeds, and occasionally their notifications, which keeps you top of mind and positions you as a helpful, active, and knowledgeable resource.
- Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
- Building your brand
- Creating a strong network
- Networking like a pro
- Turning leads into clients