Creating Value Relationships with LinkedIn

Building communities through social networking and social PR is the new marketing.  It’s no longer about WIFM, but rather, what’s in it for WE.

In addition to being a powerful social networking tool for B2B partnerships and even B2C, Linked In is rapidly becoming the recruiters tool of choice.  Now, you can search and follow companies, and apply for positions directly on LinkedIn using your profile in place of your CV/Resume.

Would you like to expand your sphere of influence by building genuine, sustainable relationships with your LinkedIn communities?

Here are some tips for optimizing your LinkedIn account with your professional communities:

1. Defining Your Brand with Your LinkedIn Profile

Who do you want to connect with? Why?  What’s your “title”. Choose  keywords for your title that will speak to companies and colleagues you want to connect with.  What are you offering? What problems do you solve?

Take some time thinking about these questions, and create a solid summary profile. Much like a  CV , the first third of your profile is what get’s read. Be sure to have a complete profile that includes your photo, website,  endorsements, blog posts, industry related reading, and possible slide shares. And be sure to include your contact information (phone, Skype, and e-mail).

Tip: You can see how many times your profile has come up in search and how many times it has been viewed daily.  This is a great barometer for determining if your LInked-In brand is attracting the intended audience.

2. Cultivate your network

Tony Robbins often says, “Your network is your net worth.” When looking for people to connect with start with your first degree of influence.  Who do you know? Who have you worked with?   Then reach out to others in your industry and to those  that compliment or even supplement what you do.

In my case, I find connecting with other Talent Management Leaders, Sales and Marketing Directors and start-up CEO’s  mutually beneficial.  I may have the solution to a initiative the company is launching, and conversely, they may have referrals to other companies seeking my areas of expertise.

If you are a job seeker, introduce yourself to recruiters in your industry and then stay in touch. If you are a consultant or a small business owner, look for other businesses that could serve as potential partners, where you both could benefit by offering more value to your clients if you were a team.  Using LinkedIn’s advanced search you can search by geographical area, group affiliations, job title, company, industries and even education (school’s attended).

Tip: When inviting people to join your network, avoid the generic default message:  I’d like to add you to my Linked In network. Rather personalize your message with a introduction and perhaps a statement like: How can I know if someone I’m connected with is a good prospect for you?

A word on Endorsements

I love when colleagues, employees, and clients I have worked with ask me for endorsements. If someone asks you, take the time and write a thoughtful endorsement that creates a visual in the reader’s mind.  Be honest and generous with your endorsements, and be sure to ask for them.

3. Giving Back

Linked In has hundreds of discussion groups that you can join or even create. (the current limit is 50). Join these groups and engage in intelligent dialogs, by proposing thought-provoking industry questions, as well as answering questions at least several times a week. 

Approach groups with the attitude of “What can I give”, rather than “What can I get”. Offer resources as often as you can, and connect others in your network when you see a good fit.  

Again, for job seekers, recruiters will often look at how active you are in groups to determine your level of expertise, your  collaborative competencies, and your communication style. Be sure to update your status a few times a week. Often times, I update my status by  sharing a  link to a recent article from an trade magazine journal, a new trend I recently came across, or simply a motivational message of my own.
Tip: Avoid selling your services to your groups, sending brief messages with a link to your website.  Again approach all your connections as relationships that you value and want to cultivate. “What can I do for you”, while sharing what you are looking for.

4. Create Trust with consistency and accountability

Live relationships , like social community networking, requires trust to flourish, and that means showing up 100%.

Keep fresh content on your profile via your status or project updates.  Check your Linked In messages frequently.  Stay in touch with members of your group- ideally once a week. 

Share your ideas, projects, a  resource, your blog post, ask how you can help them.  I have had many telephone conversations emerge, and relationships develop as a result of my Linked In Connections.

Does this seem like a lot of work?  It isn’t, once you get into the habit. By following the tips above, you will begin to build relationships of trust in  your social networking.

How alive is your LinkedIn network?

Do you have a potent summary profile, and accurate, catchy title  that describes what problems you solve?

How many groups are you active in?

How many viewers open your profile?

How many phone or in-person conversations have resulted from  Linked-In connection?

Does your Linked In profile needs a lift? I invite you to contact me today to discuss how I can help you!