How to make LinkedIn meaningful for your business
Why did you join LinkedIn? Bridget Greenwood, director of Financial Social Media UK, takes a guess and offers six tips to how you can use the site and, in particular, its built-in CRM system, to make meaningful connections that can help build your business
Ask the question in a room full of financial advisers/planners “Are you on LinkedIn?” and pretty much every hand goes up. Ask the question “Do you know why?” and all of a sudden there aren’t nearly so many hands up.
And if you think about your own LinkedIn activity, ask yourself: Do you often find yourself receiving lots of random requests to connect on LinkedIn never to hear from these people again?
Whenever you do check your timeline is it often filled with posts and activity that is of little interest to you by people in which you have little interest?
You know you’ve got some really decent connections on LinkedIn but finding them and managing your connection with them in a meaningful way is nigh on impossible with the way you currently use LinkedIn?
The main reason people find themselves in this position is because they joined LinkedIn with the attitude of ‘let’s give this a whirl’, rather than with some serious forethought. Did you know, for example,that LinkedIn has it’s own CRM system built in just for you to manage your connections?
Six steps to building key relationships
So here’s six simple steps to follow to change all that and start seeing the incredible returns you can get in building, maintaining and nurturing key relationships by using LinkedIn.
1. Treat your online networking as seriously as you do your offline networking. Go through your contacts on LinkedIn and remove anyone who doesn’t offer you any value in the relationship. They can’t introduce you to anyone of value, they’re not sharing anything that interests you or entertains you. Note that you can only do this on the desktop: Go onto their profile, click the arrow next to endorse, and remove connection.
2. Making connections with someone isn’t all about what’s in it for you. There needs to be some enjoyment or reason to connect for that connection to develop and be meaningful. You should now be left with a whole bunch of people you’re connected to who you can learn from, wish to engage with, entertain you, inspire you and whatever other quality is important to you. This means when you visit your timeline now it should be filled with posts and activity you’ll enjoy reading and engaging with. Start engaging in terms of liking a post, sharing it or leaving a comment.
3. Take advantage of the CRM system built into LinkedIn to really ramp up your networking. Go through each of your connections and sort them by tagging them by how you know them. You’re allowed up to 200 tags. You can tag by profession, group, shared education, supplier, provider, peer, event – you choose. LinkedIn offers default tags to get you started. One of the ways you can do this is under the Relationship section of their profile. Click on under their profile picture and you’ll see a range of options, including tag.
4. Now you’ve tagged your connections it’s easier for you to keep in contact. Perhaps you like to attend a Business Show that happens each year. You can tag all of your meaningful connections you make at that show and keep in touch with them easily. For example, the Business Show is coming up again this year and you want to reach out to everyone and let them know you’ll be there, are they going? It’s a great way to reconnect, follow up on any of those conversations that you didn’t quite get around to but meant to have, or strengthen an already decent relationship. Please don’t abuse this ability to send group messages – that’s called spamming. Make sure you uncheck the box ‘Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses’.
5. Use the notes section as well as tagging connections. This is a private notes section you can use to record any pertinent information about your connection – for example describe how you met the person and what you discussed. Again you can do this on their profile.
6. Set a reminder of when to get in touch with your connection again. Imagine the power of making a new connection, recording in the notes section how you met and how they said they were going on holiday in a month’s time, or running a business event, or had an important meeting, or doing a charity event – whatever it might be. You set a reminder to get in touch to ask them how it went. No one goes to that level of care in nurturing relationships yet it’s so powerful and thanks to LinkedIn’s CRM system only takes a few minutes of your time to achieve. This will build authenticity and trust levels that will open doors for you to have meaningful business conversations with professional connections, directors, the people you want to influence.
Bonus tip: Knowing you want to record meaningful info as you connect with people means having meaningful conversations so every aspect of your networking improves.