Many business owners know the benefits of business networking, how the process of developing positive business relationships leads to introducers, advocates and referrals.
LinkedIn as a business networking, relationship building tool is so powerful. There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to supplement and reinforce your own business networking activity to increase and enhance your visibility to a wider audience.
Having a completed and up to date LinkedIn profile is at the core of your LinkedIn activity. Help people to see at a glance what you do, and want to find out more about you and your business. First Impressions really do count.
At the very minimum you need:
- Recent, head and shoulders photo
- Impactful Headline – tell people what you do and how you can help them
- Up to date Contact details
- A strong ‘About’ section to generate interest
- Incorporate key phrases and words that people looking for your business type will use to find you
- A clear call to action – what do you want people to do as a result of viewing your profile?
- An attractive background image that showcases you and your business
Make Relevant Connections
- Connect with your fellow networking colleagues. First connections are able to direct message each other, provide Recommendations, make Introductions, therefore it is essential to connect with those who you know, like and trust.
- Personalise your invitation. Make it relevant to the person – if you know them, remind them how you know them. If you don’t, tell them why you would like to connect with them.
- Avoid generic templates, a genuine connection invitation will help to start your online business relationship with the same warmth you use when meeting people in person.
Keep In Touch
Use the Messaging facility to send messages to your connections who you haven’t seen or communicated with in a while.
- Keep them up to date with things that are happening that they might be interested in
- Share an article or a post that may be of interest to them personally
- Ask how you can help them and keep this non sales related (ie; who would they like an introduction to)
- Send a Voice Message or Video Message for that personal touch
- Invite them to a one to one business conversation and get to know them better. Use the plethora of technology available to so:
Zoom, Hangouts, Skype – and of course, face to face once we are able to socialise in person again. Or just pick up the phone and have a conversation.
- Be proactive and research your connections – who might be a good connection for someone else?
- After a one to one or a group meeting, record the types of professions that your networking colleagues would like to meet. Follow up by being proactive – check your own LinkedIn connections to see who might be suitable to introduce to your colleagues.
- Use the Share Profile feature – this will open up in a new Message, ready to send to your connection. Remember to personalise the message and explain why you are making the introduction.
- Or, you could use the Group Messaging facility to introduce two people to each other. Once the introduction has been made, you can follow up with each person after a few days to find out if the introduction was valuable to them.
Verify Skills and Expertise
- Be proactive – implement a system of viewing your fellow networkers profiles and checking which skills they have listed on their profile.
- Have you had first hand experience of a specific skill? If so, and your experience has been positive, then Endorse that person for that skill. Remember only the top 3 skills are visible, you need to expand the section to view other skills.
Recognition and Appreciation
- Who have you had a one to one meeting with this week?
- Who have you heard speak this week?
- Who has given you a genuine referral?
- Who has impressed you with their knowledge, their expertise, their attitude?
- Who has recommended you and your business?
We all like to be recognised for something that we have done well and/or appreciated for our contribution. Why not use LinkedIn to showcase other people? Here are some ways you can use LinkedIn Posts to do this:
- Share your ‘golden nuggets‘ of learning following a networking meeting, a training course, a seminar, a talk – what have you learned, how will you implement the learning and importantly, what others will gain from participating in future events.
- Talk about what you have appreciated about someone – it could be purely that someone has gone out of their way to help you – so let them and your LinkedIn community know that you appreciate them, and why.
- Write an information post about a company, their services/products and why this has impressed you.
- Thank people for referring you to others and or testimonials you have received from them.
- Share their events, their achievements, their business stories
The Gold Dust
- Be Proactive! View your fellow networker’s Activity section on their Profile. What updates have they recently posted?
- Like and Comment on their posts. This is like gold dust!
- Your actions will help to boost the reach of the post, encourage more engagement from others and add real value to their presence.
- You will also raise your own visibility, and enhance your own reputation as a good networker.
There is no higher accolade than providing a genuine, written testimonial for people who have provided a great service, gone the extra mile, have delivered a product/service that has exceeded expectations.
- In LinkedIn, the Recommendations feature is where you can give truly genuine testimonials and provide great value to your connections.
- Many business networking groups will have part of their meeting devoted to giving referrals, leads and providing verbal testimonials. If you have provided a verbal testimonial during these meetings, follow up with a written Recommendation in LinkedIn.
- Don’t wait to be asked! Make it a habit to write a Recommendation for that person as soon as you finish your meeting. Don’t leave it for another day or time, now is the perfect opportunity to do so.
A couple of things to be aware of…
- Only provide a Recommendation when you have personally experienced what you are recommending.
- Never ask for or expect a Recommendation in return – genuine recommendations are those that are given without expectation.
Be Kind Without Expectation – Never Ask for Something in Return