LinkedIn: Best Practices for Building Relationships
LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional social network, with more than 500 million users. It's also one of the most powerful business tools on the web today. With LinkedIn, you can find jobs, hire new talent, research your competition and even connect with influencers who can help grow your company. However, many people use LinkedIn to promote their business and brand but forget the most important part of social networking: connecting. While it's easy to send messages or even requests for endorsements on LinkedIn, building a relationship with another user is more effective in the long term. For this reason, we want to share with you the best practices for building strong and long-term relationships on LinkedIn in this article.
So here we go, this article will share with you everything you need to know about how to build strong relationships on LinkedIn. First of all, the first step is knowing what kind of relationship you want to build. Simple connections are fine if your objective is simply business development or hiring new talent but more complex and long-term relationships require a different approach that goes beyond just sending a few messages to another user. In order to build a relationship, you need to add value to the other person's life in some way.
With that in mind make sure you follow these recommendations and avoid the don'ts below.
- Do send an introductory message before requesting a connection
LinkedIn is the most popular social networking site for professionals. LinkedIn allows you to send an introductory message before requesting a connection. So, if you want to connect with another user but don't know them that well yet then this is your best option.
For example, if you want to connect with an influencer, first go and follow all their posts. Write a few comments and share some of his or her content on your own LinkedIn profile as well. When the time comes for requesting a connection then send them a short message explaining why you admire their work and how it has impacted your life in some way.
You can write something like this:
Subject: I admire your work!
Hi there, my name is Martin and I'm an avid follower of your blog. A couple of months ago you published a post that had a huge impact on me and even changed the way how we do things at our company. Because of this, I'd like to connect with you so we can learn more about your experience and maybe discuss a few things. Would you be interested in connecting on LinkedIn?
- Don't use LinkedIn as your primary email address
LinkedIn is just another social network, not an email platform. So don't use it as your primary form of communication with others or you will send the wrong message altogether. Using a business email is more professional and will help you build better relationships.
- Do respond promptly to requests for introductions
When somebody sends you an introduction request, respond as soon as possible. It's a sign of courtesy and respect but most importantly it will make the other person feel like they are important to you.
- Don't use LinkedIn as your personal blog or resume platform
While this may seem obvious for some people, others don’t understand that LinkedIn is just a professional social network. There are plenty of other platforms where you can write about your personal life and experiences such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+. So don't use LinkedIn to post long rants about politics, religion or even complain about work!
- Don't be too aggressive with a connection request
The last thing you want to do is make other people feel uncomfortable and impose yourself upon them. Keep your connection requests short, concise, and only when it’s really needed like before joining a new company or starting a project where one of the members requires an introduction from somebody they know in common with you.
- Do use LinkedIn Premium features
These features are the perfect way to network and build relationships with other users. LinkedIn Premium allows you to see who has viewed your profile, send messages directly through their site and even allows you to display a short ad on your homepage that people can click for special offers or discounts.
- Don't forget about follow-up messages after connecting
Once you have connected with somebody, don't forget to send them a follow-up message. This can be something as simple as saying "thank you for connecting" or it could be an invitation to start a new conversation on LinkedIn Answers where both of you can share your knowledge and expertise in some area.
- Do be selective and thoughtful with LinkedIn group requests
LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with others in your industry or that share the same interests, but just like connection requests they can also be annoying and intrusive. Don't join every group you see on LinkedIn but instead only choose the ones that really matter to you and add value to your profile.
- Don't post your entire resume on LinkedIn, don't forget that it still is a social media platform
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn, especially if they are very active members. The whole point behind this site it to build relationships and contacts with other professionals in your industry or that share some common interest. Posting all your personal details will only scare away potential connections while making you look like a desperate job seeker who is looking for any opportunity.
- Do keep up with your connections by checking their profiles regularly
It's easy to lose track of all your connections, especially if you have a big list. But by checking their profiles every once in awhile and looking for any updates or new information can really help you stay on top of things as well as keep in contact with people that matter most to you.
- Don't post promotional messages on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not the place to post promotional messages or spam about your services. If you do, other users will begin to ignore you altogether and even report your profile for sending out unsolicited messages. So don't use LinkedIn as a way of promoting yourself like other social media channels such as Twitter where it's okay to self-promote every once in a while.
- Do use LinkedIn as a way of keeping in contact with your contacts
This is one of the biggest benefits people have found when using LinkedIn. It’s much easier to stay in touch this way than it would be through other social media sites or just trying to catch up on email once every few weeks after you've lost track of each other.
- Don't ignore LinkedIn Answers
In addition to being a great way for you to share your knowledge with others, it’s also another way of connecting and building relationships with people in your industry or that have the same interests as you do. So don't forget about this site but instead spend some time every week answering questions and contributing your advice to other users.
- Do share information about upcoming events with your LinkedIn connections
This is a great way not only for you to make plans but also be able to connect in person during these events or even after them if they are convenient for everybody involved. So don't forget that LinkedIn is the perfect place where you can share information about upcoming events, meetings or anything else you want to make sure your connections are aware of.
- Do update your profile regularly
Another great way for you to build relationships with other Linkedin accounts is by updating your profile with new projects and professional achievements as well as other interesting tidbits that show others what makes you unique from everyone else. So make sure to keep your profile updated and don't forget other important information such as a professional headshot which is required for those who join LinkedIn.
- Don't use LinkedIn as a primary means of communication
Do respond promptly to requests for introductions: Introducing two people can be extremely helpful, but it's even better when you receive that returned favor. By responding quickly, the person making the request will know they can count on you in their time of need.
- Don't send too many connection requests
It's great to have large numbers of connections, but if you are just collecting them for the sake of having a big number then it will only do more harm than good. So don't send out mass requests or accept every request that comes your way because this can actually turn people off rather quickly.
Need help with the relationship building process on LinkedIn?
As you can see, there are many ways to use LinkedIn for your business. Whether you are looking to expand connections in the local community or build relationships with potential new customers, these best practices will help get you started on leveraging this powerful social platform. If you don't have the time to make the most of these tools, don't hesitate to contact us at Social Media Marketing Services. We can help you build a marketing strategy that works best for your business!
Check out our website www.socialgrowthengine.com for even more helpful articles like this one!