Your LinkedIn Connections are a powerful mix of personal, educational and business contacts. Once you are connected with these people, you can communicate with them directly, view their profiles and see their own lists of connections. This provides you with a valuable networking tool set.
On the main LinkedIn navigation page, you will find a Contacts section that opens a drop-down menu. Clicking on Connections on this secondary menu will open your LinkedIn Connections list. Use these ideas to network and grow your LinkedIn presence and Connections database:
- Send “Connection” invitations to clients, past clients, co-workers, etc. after meeting them or completing a project with or for them. For better results, write a polite, personalized message to accompany the invitation.
- Look through your best client’s Connections list and select people of interest to whom you would like an introductions to or offer your services.
- Ask your best clients to recommend companies or people to whom you should reach out.
- On the main LinkedIn navigation page, click Contacts. Its secondary menu item, Connections, will let you sort people into groups by tags such as “follow up” or “future prospect” to help organize your networking process.
- Use the search bar in the upper right of the page to find the correct contacts within a company. For example, search for “Marketing Manager Cargill” to view their profiles. Make personal contact by using the phone number they have listed or by sending an InMail message.
- When searching for people, LinkedIn will tell you if you are connected to that person through 1st, 2nd or 3rd party connections. Use these connections to get an introduction or set up a meeting.
- Once you’ve connected with a new person, send an introductory message explaining who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
- Make it a habit to send a personalized LinkedIn message and connection invitation to potential clients after any meeting.
- Pay attention to your Connections who have hundreds of first-degree contacts (called “super connectors”) because they are a goldmine for getting connected with others. Offer trades with these super connectors, such as recommending each other, referring them to others, or swapping introductions.
[info]Tip: If you plan on asking for favors from people within your network, remember to keep in touch with them and nourish the relationships. Send them a card, grab coffee with them, give them a great recommendation, and deliver valuable information to them such as a good article or link.[/info]