I’ve been a serious user of LinkedIn for the last year, but the ugly truth is, I’ve been on LinkedIn since 2008 and pretty much ignored it for a great deal of that time, even as I was paying for the service, and losing all these InMails each month. Did I need to get a brain?
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. There are hundreds of thousands of users who signed up, created a profile and then walked away from it hoping someone would notice, leaving thousands of opportunities on the table. In Alcoholics Anonymous the saying is “Keep coming back. It works if you work it,” and as I’ve discovered, that’s pretty much the slogan for LinkedIn.
Over the years, I have created thousands of connections over the years, mostly by saying yes to anyone who asked. Not the best strategy, may I add. Many of them have no relevance to what I do, or my aspirations for building my business, but based on the great advice I’ve received from LinkedIn Coach Christine Hueber, I’ve been building a more relevant network.
LinkedIn is a great platform to connect and build business, and with more attention to the details, I’ve attracted new clients, and opportunities as a result of being consistent in my actions. I have forsaken most of the other social media platforms, because frankly, there are only so many hours in the day, and my posts from LI get sent over to Twitter anyway.
Relationships are what drive business, and life.
Taking time to build meaningful relationships is just as relevant on social media, as it is in person, and taking the time for it is essential if you want to succeed in any aspect of your life.
Living in the Bay Area where the traffic is horrendous every day, I have to be really clear about where I’m spending my time and resources in order to maximize them, and usually opt for a virtual connection where I can set up a video conference or a phone call to connect instead of driving for an hour and half each way. Very time efficient for both parties, and just as meaningful.
Recently, I decided to reconnect with my Bay Area network, and gave myself a 30-day challenge to get to know people again. Many of them I’ve met at my events, or other events, and some I’ve never met in person but have connected with me through my network. Profiles are good at giving you the overview, but frequently they are not the full story of what the individual is doing at this time. This a way to get personal.
I set time aside each day to have 10-minute conversations to catch up, and see how I can be of support to them. Within hours of launching this challenge, dozens of people said ‘yes’ and my calendar is filling up. The conversations are wonderful and people are delighted to engage.
What I love about this is the opportunity to reconnect, make myself visible again, and find out how I can support them. If there are opportunities for me in this conversation, I’m more than happy to explore. However, the main incentive for this is to make my connections meaningful.
Related: How To Embrace Failure
Here are my tips for creating meaningful connections on LinkedIn.
1. Take the time to congratulate people on their work success, and/or their birthdays. It shows you care.
2. Post articles relevant to business, the workplace, and the people who do the work. It’s not Facebook!
3. Visit with your network from time to time. 10-minutes is not a lot of time, and people really respect you for making the effort.
4. It’s easier than going to networking events that may not give you what you want!
5. We all need relationships to succeed, and you get the opportunity to make sure you build good ones.
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