LinkedIn: 5 Ways to Build Relationships, Faster and Better

A well-written, complete LinkedIn profile is a foundation of your online presence. Yet LinkedIn is more than just a place for an online description of your work life. The core of LinkedIn’s value is that it’s a powerful tool for reaching out to people you know, and those who you’d like to know.

Here are five ways to use LinkedIn to connect with professionals and build business relationships.  

1. Use LinkedIn to prepare for a first-time meeting – checking out someone’s profile is a fast way to gather some decent business intelligence. You can see what they look like, discover who you may know in common, and find out a few things to talk about. LinkedIn is also a great way to follow up after networking events. Whenever you’re handed a business card, let the person know that you will connect with them on LinkedIn.

2. Personalize your communications on LinkedIn. Social media is fantastic for reaching a range of people, but let’s face it: canned, formulaic messages fall flat. When reaching out to connect with someone, have a peek at their profile and add a message tailored to their needs that lets them know what you bring to the relationship. Most people don’t do this, and yet it’s an easy way to stand out.

3. Written recommendations are a powerful part of your LinkedIn presence. When asking for a recommendation, tee it up by email in advance. I offer to chat with the person about the recommendation for a few minutes, and let them know that I will jot down their main ideas, and email them a first draft so that they can change it as they see fit. You can then send a formal recommendation request through LinkedIn and it’s much easier for them to complete the process.

4. Follow your LinkedIn contacts regularly. Have a look at your LinkedIn activity feed – a couple minutes a day will do nicely. You’ll learn about what’s happening with your tribe of contacts, including trigger events (such as a job change) that let you know when it may be a good time to reach out to them with a personalized message.

5. Track your contacts with the new LinkedIn Tags feature. You can group existing and potential connections using tags that segment them into subgroups. This can be very useful when planning outreach or marketing campaigns.

How to: Move your cursor over “Network” at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and select “Contacts,” in the left-hand panel, click the “Manage” link to the right of “Tags.” You can add new tags to your list by typing tag names into the box.

In the previous blog post I offered some tips on improving your LinkedIn profile. If you’re wanting to create a more engaging profile and to make the most of LinkedIn, feel free to contact me. I write personalized LinkedIn summary sections for professionals, and advise them on how to use LinkedIn more effectively as they build and maintain key business relationships.

 

About the author

Steven Steven Moyes is an executive and career coach who works with emerging leaders, executives, and business owners to define what they want to achieve, develop an effective strategic plan, and get extraordinary results. steven@forward-edge.ca

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