Working with a client today, he told me, “I’m not really sure what to do with my LinkedIn account now I’ve set it up.”It’s a good question, and one that many of us are probably secretly wondering. How do you gain business via LinkedIn? The first thing you need to do on LinkedIn ? after writing yourself a great profile ? is to start increasing your number of connections. I’m a great believer in quality connections rather than connections for connections’ sake. However, you need a certain number of connections on LinkedIn to extend your reach to find the people who matter to you. My client was using a great marketing person to help him find good potential connections. She knew his practice strategy and had already found and linked him up with some cracking connections. However, that’s where it had stopped. If your LinkedIn connections are just sitting there, and you’re not doing anything with them, then you’re missing a massive trick. So, what should you be doing? Firstly, allocate some time every month to look through your LinkedIn connections. Tag any potential a-listers as you review your list of connections. Who haven’t you spoken to in a while? Who is due an email? Who do you need to move from a level 1/2 relationship connection to a level 3 relationship connection? When I talk about a level 3 relationship connection, what I mean is someone who is no longer just a name, but someone who you trust and who you have had a real-time conversation with on a one-to-one basis. The challenge you now face is how to “tempt” your LinkedIn connection to do more than just swap emails with you, but actually pick up the phone and start having a dialogue. For example, my client found a LinkedIn connection who would have had a fantastic network into the people he needed introductions to. He could also reciprocate with his network of clients and suppliers. It was what I call a “slam dunk” moment. So he was duly despatched to put together a compelling email to the LinkedIn connection in question, suggesting why it would be very beneficial for them both to talk. What do you need to do with your LinkedIn connections to start to get the value from them? Heather Townsend is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.
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