The following is an eleven step LinkedIn connection strategy to help you make the most of your professional networking:
- Post a decent photo of yourself, and completely fill out your LinkedIn profile.
- Flesh out your profile. Be honest in describing your experiences, skills and accomplishments. Also identify who you’re targeting with your LinkedIn profile (who you want to attract and connect with) and how you help those who decide to connect with you.
- Genuinely connect with others on LinkedIn who fit your target audience. You can use LinkedIn searches or the “people you may know” section of LinkedIn to introduce yourself and explain how you can help them (with no expectation of anything in return).
- Follow up with new connections by offering to help them in some way. You might send them a useful article or introduce them to another potentially useful connection of yours who could help your new connection.
- Once you make a new connection, ask for a short introductory phone call with your new connection. This allows you to put a voice with a name, so to speak. Trust-building is expedited when you can take online relationships off-line.
- From the off-line introductory phone call, find an additional way to help your new connection and follow through on whatever it is you plan to do to help them.
- Ask your new connection if you can add them to your email list. If they say no, respect that. If they say yes, build a relationship over time through your email newsletter and/or blog content.
- Share regular useful content with your connections via your email list. Be sure the content is relevant to your connections (i.e. your target audience) and periodically make sales offers for the products or services you provide, which may be beneficial to those on your email list.
- When your connections make a purchase from you, personally thank them. Go the extra mile with customer service and offer them some additional helpful articles that are relevant to their purchase, or introduce them to others who have purchased the same product or service from you.
- Following a connection's purchase, check in to ensure things are going well for them, now that they're your customer. Listen to their feedback and offer any further assistance you can.
- Continue your email and blog relationship with your connections/target audience and periodically check in with individual connections to see how you might help them without any agenda other than to be a resource for them.
These are just a few ways to find new people on LinkedIn with whom you can reach out, connect and build meaningful relationships to your mutual benefit.
posted by: Nick Venturella