LinkedIn is probably one of the most misunderstood social media platforms out there.
When people think social media, they think of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and they automatically think that LinkedIn is the same as all the other platforms.
They just create a simple profile, upload a profile picture, and post stuff that they like.
But when nothing results from this approach, many are left confused about what is the best approach to using it.
To be clear:
LinkedIn is NOT like other social media sites; it is not MySpace wrapped in a new shade of blue.
LinkedIn is largely a professional network for networking professionals. Your profile here is not the same as a profile on Facebook.
Essentially, a profile here is an online resume for the world to see.
But don’t take that to mean that it doesn’t hold any power as an online media outlet. LinkedIn is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools any entrepreneur can utilize.
LinkedIn allows you to connect with a whole new world of people who can hire you, or who want to work with you.
It allows you to establish your name in front of hundreds of thousands of professionals who are just as serious about what they do as you are.
And it can help you forge lasting, meaningful relationships — but only if you do it correctly.
LinkedIn: The mighty hammer to your Thor
I know it’s a little odd to use a demi-god as a lead in, but it fits.
I mean, you can’t really forge anything without some kind of hammer — be that a literal or figurative one. And thinking of yourself as a rough and tumble superhero can’t hurt either, right?
But on a serious note, LinkedIn truly is an amazing platform that affords you the ability to connect with people who could become some of the most important connections of your life.
LinkedIn has so many possibilities when it comes to connecting with people, establishing your brand and online authority, landing new and higher paying clients in nearly any field, and generating traffic with sticking power that it is impossible for me to cover everything in this one post.
The things mentioned above are just some of the reasons why I love LinkedIn.
I use it for my business to land clients, engage with future prospects, and build my personal brand. Even though I’m still trying to crack this thing wide open, there are a few things I’ve learned and now use that have helped me build relationships that have the power to last.
Want to know what they are?
Let’s cover a few.
#1 – Start with people you know
In general, LinkedIn makes it pretty hard to connect with people you don’t know in the real world.
That’s why you’ll be asked a series of questions about how you know someone when you try to add them to your network.
Therefore, connecting with the people you know that are already on LinkedIn makes the most sense.
Each person you connect with (which LinkedIn refers to as a 1st Connection) opens a larger path for whom you can add to your network.
Let’s say I want to connect with Kelsey Lebert, VP of Marketing at Fractl.
Unless I knew her personally, I wouldn’t be able to. However, she and I are both directly connected with Neil Patel.
Since we both know Neil, then I don’t have to know her personally in order to request a connection. I can simply click the ‘Connect’ button, write a unique message to her, and then hope for the best.
So just start connecting with the people you know who will look good as personal connections and keep an eye out for people that are 2nd Connections that you want to link up with.
#2 – Customize your connection message
If you really want to up your chances for getting connected and building a solid relationship on LinkedIn, then the message you send in your Connection Request needs to be customized on a case by case basis.
As a general rule, I almost never use the default message if I can help it.
Instead, I write a warm pitch to the person so that my message is more personable. Continuing to use Kelsey as an example, here is something I would likely write in hopes of linking up with her:
I hope this message finds you well. I know we are not directly connected, so I hope you don’t mind me reaching out.
I really enjoyed your recent article “10 Tips for Finding the Right Content Marketing Agency” on Inc.com (especially point number 4), and I’d love the chance to connect with you here on LinkedIn.
Have a great week!
Ariel ~ Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketer”
Given a bit more time, I would probably spruce this up a little bit, but I’d be happy sending it as-is too.
This message is personable and polite while also being relatable since Kelsey recently did write that post and I really did enjoy it.
When about to send a request to connect, make sure your message has this type of tone to it so that it’s hard to say no to you.
#3 – Only endorse the skills you know they do well
After you’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn, don’t endorse them for all their skills right away.
It might seem like the best thing to do — but it’s not.
People want to be endorsed for the skills that matter most to them.
So select only a few of the skills that you know the person does well and then endorse them for those.
Once you learn more about what they do and what they do really well, then go back and endorse them for those skills later.
#4 – Keep in touch
Remember the reason why you’re connecting with people.
Most of the time, connections are made in order to open up opportunities in one shape or form. So once you’ve made a valuable connection, don’t forget about them.
Here are a few tips to keep you on their radar and help you build a solid relationship with people you know on LinkedIn:
- Have you worked with someone you’re connected with on LinkedIn? Then why not spend some time writing a recommendation on their profile. Recommendations look amazing on an online resume like LinkedIn and can help the people you are recommending to get even more connections and job opportunities. Doing this is a kindness that many repay in gratitude and many will reciprocate with a recommendation for you too.
- Are you in a similar group of someone who is a first degree connection? Comment on their posts and engage them in conversations there. If you can do this correctly and add to the group discussion, then you can always stay fresh in the minds of those you’re linked with and build your relationship along the way.
- Spend about 10 minutes every day filtering through your home feed. You will find many status updates there and notifications about connections who perhaps had a new job or a work anniversary come up. Like their posts. Leave a comment. Congratulate them on their accomplishments. In short: Engage, engage, engage.
Wrapping it up
Out of all the social networks out there, LinkedIn is one that tends to stump many. Though it is a social network, it’s very different from most other platforms out there.
Getting connected and building relationships are huge for both solo-preneurs and big businesses who want to take their business to the next level.
There are many more ways to milk LinkedIn for all it’s worth. This article covers just some of the basics on how to get connected and why you should spend a bit more time interacting with your connections.
Would you like to know more in-depth methods to upping your game on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below and we just might keep the ball rolling on this one.