Are You Ignoring Your LinkedIn Connections?

Are you collecting LinkedIn connections like you used to collect baseball cards? And are they just sitting there—like that box of baseball cards in the closet—gathering dust?

Well, it's time to take action and use LinkedIn to maximize those relationships. Follow these six simple steps to create a win-win situation for you and your network.
.

Step 1:  Define with whom you want to go deeper

Your LinkedIn network is made up of many types of people, and they've become part of your network for differing reasons. Start by choosing the people with whom you'd most like to meet or have a conversation.

For help with this, check out my worksheet Finding Your LinkedIn Target Audience (see below).
.

Step 2:  Make a list of typical keywords they would have on their profile

What combination of keywords could you use to filter your entire network down to the perfect list? These would be words your target audience might include on their profile, like:
.

  • Title
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Schools attended
  • Industry
  • Certifications
  • Educational majors
  • Job functions
    .

Step 3:  Perform a "connection only" LinkedIn advanced people search

Put your cursor into the Search box in the top toolbar. Then choose Search for People from the drop-down list. Next, click All Filters in the top white toolbar and check "1st" under the Connections filter. Then click the blue Apply button on the top right.

Now that you have a listing of your complete first-level network, take advantage of all the additional filters that are available on this page, including locations, current and past companies, industries, etc.

In addition to the filters, you can enter keywords in the top search box to tighten the search down even further.
.

Step 4:  Set a search alert

Once you have completed a search that gives you a really good list of the right people, click the Create search alert box. Then each week LinkedIn will email to you any additional people who meet your defined search criteria.
.

Step 5:  Send a message offering your help

After you review the full profile of someone on this list that you're interested in chatting with, send a direct LinkedIn message and thank the person for being part of your network. If the person is merely a casual acquaintance, remind him/her how you came to know each other. Then mention ways you might be able to collaborate or help each other. You may even want to include a time that you're available for a meeting or phone call.

The easiest way to send a direct message is to click the Message button on the person's profile. You can also include attachments and links in this message to give your connection additional information.
.

Step 6:  Set the appropriate follow-up

Your connection may not be ready to meet or chat right now, but that doesn't mean he or she won't be interested in having a discussion with you in the future. Consider setting up some type of follow-up reminder for yourself in whatever system you use.

Your LinkedIn network should be one of your most treasured business assets, not simply a "dusty" digital collection of random people. Once you follow the six simple steps outlined above, you'll realize just how valuable your network can be for accomplishing your most ambitious business goals.
.

Finding Your LinkedIn Target Audience Worksheet

Download (PDF, 130KB)

The post Are You Ignoring Your LinkedIn Connections? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.