Part 2: Social Networking Series

9 Ways to Strengthen Your LinkedIn Relationships

Much like a live networking event, we log onto LinkedIn to make business connections. But as you know, simply making the connection isn’t enough. You need to build relationships. LinkedIn is a great way to do this – and it’s especially easy if you leverage the Law of Familiarity (law number 9 in my book).

Think back to your first day at a new job, your first date with your significant other or your first day of a new class. You probably felt anxious. But after a few ‘happy hours’ with your co-workers, some marathon phone calls with your new ‘special someone’ and several study-group sessions with classmates – you started to relax. This is The Law of Familiarity – people feel comfortable with people they know. The more comfortable people get with you, the more they will ‘like and trust’ you and the easier it will be to build a relationship. Click to tweet.

Now let’s apply this law to LinkedIn. Here are nine easy LinkedIn strategies you can use to stay in front of people and increase your familiarity, without being pushy or obnoxious.

Respond to Status Updates: Join conversations. If a connection shares a notice about an upcoming event, wish them luck or ask for more information about it. You can also share the announcement and employ the Law of Giving!

Research New Connections: Check the new connections in your network to see if anyone has connected to someone you know. If you come across someone you have met, but who is not yet a connection, send them a connection request. You can even ask how they know so and so. Also, email a response when someone connects to you – not just an acceptance.

Ask About Groups: If a connection has joined a group that sounds intriguing, email them and ask if they are finding the group useful. Another idea is to post a status update asking for feedback on people’s favorite groups and why.

Ask or Answer a Question: Reply to the discussion forums when there is an existing conversation you want to weigh in on. You can also initiate a forum discussion with a question.

Acknowledge New Job Positions: When you see a connection has a new job title, congratulate them and ask about their new position.

Reach Out to Those Looking for Work: When you notice that someone has left their job, ask what kind of role they are looking for next. Nothing shows support more than reaching out when someone needs you.

Update Your Status: Updating your profile keeps your name in front of your connections. This activity will appear in the weekly updates they receive.

Provide Recommendations and Endorse Others: Provide recommendations for connections when you are familiar with their work. This may also connect you to other folks who want to learn more about them. Endorsements are another option – and are much quicker. A simple click announces to the world that you see their expertise in a specific area. If you don’t know their expertise, though, don’t endorse them. It minimizes the meaning.

Employ a “Search and Seek” Strategy: Search to see who has viewed your page and contact those individuals to see if you can be of any help to them. I have even emailed people saying that their name popped up on my update and it motivated me to reach out and connect. See where it leads.

Remember, LinkedIn is strictly for professional networking which means you should look professional in your picture. Use a ‘head and shoulders’ photo of yourself (alone) and wear professional-looking clothing, at least from the waist up.

Think maintaining relationships using 140 characters or less is impossible? Come back next week for the final week of our Social Networking Series where I discuss key relationship building strategies using Twitter.

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