LinkedIn is one of the most important tools out there for growing your business. But just creating an account and even adding connections is not enough to grow your business using LinkedIn. Instead, you need to foster meaningful relationships and nurture them into business opportunities.
In this article, we share key tips for building relationships with LinkedIn connections.
A Big Missed Opportunity on LinkedIn
A lot of business owners feel that LinkedIn doesn’t work. They often don’t see the results they are looking for, and thus give up using the platform. This is a major mistake because the key is to take advantage of the opportunity available.
Many LinkedIn users focus on growing their network. They dedicate hours and days to establishing new connections. It’s true, that you do want to build your audience, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The big mistake most make is that they don’t put nearly as much time or effort into nurturing their connections.
The result? You end up with a lot of connections and 0 relationships. This won’t help you grow your business. Instead, you need to dig deeper and build relationships with your connections. Rather than just focusing on increasing your number of connections, focus on strengthening the value of each connection with a relationship.
Here’s how you can do that:
Don’t wait until the connection barely knows who you are to make your move. Think about it like dating. The best time to follow up is when you are fresh on someone’s mind. Right after the date. LinkedIn relationships are similar.
Pay attention to the timing. Pick opportunities when you’re already on their mind to start a relevant conversion. Some examples of good times to make your move include:
- Immediately after forming the new connection
- After answering their question
- After responding to their comment
- After a group discussion
These events all give you a natural reason to reach out and talk about something specific. They also ensure that you are already on the connection’s mind, which can make it easier to take the next step.
But, what should you say? You can ask a follow-up question, compliment them, ask for advice, etc. It all depends on the specific interaction you had and what your target action is. Over time, you can nurture your relationship and even transform a few LinkedIn chats into a phone call or meeting.
Use Upcoming Events
Keep an eye on your LinkedIn connections and if they are attending upcoming events. You can look for both online and in-person/local events. Consider events that you also plan to attend or would be interested in.
Events are a great opportunity to engage and build relationships. You can look to connect with them at the event, or even use the event as a reason to start a conversation.
Check out who is attending the relevant events and reach out to a few people by message. Let them know you also plan to attend and would love to chat with them. If it’s a virtual event, you could instead ask a question or say you’d love to connect and chat about the event afterward.
Events give you a common point of interest and many topics to talk about. If it’s an in-person event, it gives you an appropriate reason to connect face-to-face.
Leverage Business Travel for Meetups
If you have upcoming travel events coming up, use it as an opportunity to connect with people in other locations. You can view your connections’ location under “My Connections.”
Look for the location you plan to go to soon. You may have a few connections nearby, or maybe more! Depending on the numbers and the type of connections, think about potential meetup ideas.
Reach out to the connections letting them know you’ll be in town. If it’s only a couple, consider inviting them out for a coffee or snack so you can chat about their business. If you have many connections, consider putting together a small-group networking event.
Asking for advice is a great way to boost someone’s ego and give them a chance to talk about something they are knowledgeable about. It’s one simple way to start a relationship with your connection. Ask for their opinion or advice on a relevant topic that connects you.
Start by briefly introducing yourself. Reference something you both have in common, as well as a genuine compliment or observation about them. Then, ask for their opinion or advice and explain why you are asking. Simply providing an explanation makes it far more likely that they will share their insight, and this can be a great start to a business relationship.
Here’s an example.
“Hey, Susie! I’m happy to see we’ve recently connected here on LinkedIn. I noticed that you shared an article in the [NAME] group recently. I also thought this article had some very important insight into our industry, and I really enjoyed your take on it. It appears that you have a really solid background in the subject, so I wanted to ask you if you think that [Insert question]. Thanks for connecting and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!”
Listening is important, but so is providing value. One of the best ways to build meaningful relationships on LinkedIn is to serve as a resource for your connections.
How can you provide value? Monitor status updates, engagement, questions, etc from your audience to find topics that they are interested in and curious about. Then, you can add value by providing a resource (including original resources and curated content that you add insight to).
Positioning yourself as a resource for your connections increases your value. It can help generate opportunities for you offline and ultimately help you turn more connections into clients.
Here are some ways to provide value:
- Reply to their statuses with insightful comments or questions
- Engage in discussions publicly
- Send a detailed response privately after a public discussion
- Share key insights, news, and articles
Get Help from LinCredible
Building connections is just the beginning. In reality, you need to form meaningful relationships if you want to use LinkedIn to your advantage. When you focus on relationships, you’ll find more business opportunities come your way.
Take the next step and focus on creating and strengthening relationships with your connections using the tips in this article. There are several other resources that can help, and one of the best is LinCredible.
LinCredible helps you leverage your existing network by reaching out to and engaging with them in various ways. Our done-for-you service can save you time and hassle while ultimately helping you build relationships that turn into opportunities.
Learn more about LinCredible and how we can help your business today. Book your free discovery call here!