LinkedIn is a great tool for professionally connecting with hundreds, even thousands, of prospects, customers and referral partners. But so what? Is that large “LinkedIn connections” number translating into large sales for your business? Here are five “little extras” that can help you personalize, and deepen, your relationships:
- Don’t use the standard connect invite. With increasing “trolling” by users looking to indiscriminately build their connections, most LinkedIn users are now getting regular requests from people they do not know. A simple personal phrase will help you stand out and warm up your connection. Instead of “I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn,” compose a brief sentence or two of how you are connected, and even how you might help each other. “We met at the recent Chamber breakfast networking event. Since we both target local printers, I’d like to discuss how we might work together.” “We spoke at the marketing conference in St. Louis. I’d like to interview you for my blog on your recent success in government contracting.”
- Be regular and liberal with recommendations. After a great project, post recommendations on the LinkedIn pages of team contributors. One simple recommendation lives for years as a reminder to that connection and demonstrates your ability to work well in teams.
- Use keywords. In the “specialties” section of your profile and your company profile add key search terms such as industry, location, expertise and other terms that are specific to your offering.
- Fill in all Interests, Groups and Associations. Let’s face it. Often our best connections are not work related at all. Perhaps you worked alongside someone on a non-profit committee or together you organized a Police Youth softball team. What people do in their “off” time speaks strongly of their passion, their commitment and their value system – qualities much more fundamental than skills and experience. Make sure you include all of these groups, and the connections associated with each one.
- Have all your links included and labeled. Choose the “other” option when setting up your links and describe them with relevant terms. For example, rather than using the generic “my website,” use “My no-nonsense sales tips.” You can also use calls to action such as “Download my free report” or “Contact me here.”
How do you personalize your LinkedIn profile and usage? Share in the Comments section below.