Build your LinkedIn connections
How we use LinkedIn is evolving. Where exhibitions and networking events previously gave access to key decision makers, these connections are being forged online. LinkedIn has always been a source to target new business, but we are seeing more interest in utilising the platform and a more open attitude to receiving unsolicited InMails and connection requests. Messaging etiquette still exists; do not spam people and be sure to personalise each message to the recipient. So, how do you build LinkedIn connections?
Shaping the ‘new norm’ of networking
As the world begins to step outside once again, social distancing remains in place. LinkedIn offers an easier route to building relationships. Online networking takes the pressures from event organisers of ensuring adequate spacing and sanitising facilities. How should you use LinkedIn to make meaningful connections? As with any networking event, preparation is key. Build a list of priorities – you can search for people by job role, skill or company so think about what kind of connections are important to you. Whether you are hiring or wanting to meet decision makers or suppliers, have a plan.
What to send? There is a generic message that goes to a user when you send a connection request. If you upgrade to a Sales Navigator account, you can send InMails to users you are not connected with. It is good to tailor your message to the person you are contacting. LinkedIn users may receive connection requests on a regular basis, so it is important to stand out. LinkedIn is all about building networks so if you spot someone you want an introduction to and you have mutual connections be sure to highlight this.
The content of your message should be straight to the point, personal and explain the benefit of connecting. If you have a free trial or a link for the recipient to find out more on without having to commit to an initial message reply, it can be a good way to leave an impression. Don’t forget to follow up, though LinkedIn does have restrictions on messaging those who are not connections. If you feel it is appropriate, you may want to suggest the messaging moves away from LinkedIn to a phone or video call. While the current climate could be a hindrance when it comes to networking, it can also be an honest way of opening a conversation. Consider sharing content in groups to get conversations going organically. Steer clear of being overly promotional – the idea is to open up discussion.
Be mindful of privacy
To ensure best practice, be mindful of user privacy. If someone doesn’t respond it may be that they aren’t a regular LinkedIn user or they simply may not be interested. A quick check of their profile can tell you if they have any recent activity. Be sure to check if you have messaged someone before when sending out InMails – you would not continually pester someone in real life, the same rule goes for online too.