LinkedIn: Strategically Expanding Your Business
Many people may try networking but find it doesn’t yield the results they are hoping for. Most people are not trained in networking. However, there are important approaches that will help you to succeed in networking. You have to become clear about what you are seeking, so here are some tips.
Tip 1: What is your Goal?
Tip 2: Who are the Best People or Organisations to Help You
Tip 3: Who are the Best People to Reach Out for Support
Tip 4: Visualise What You Want to See Happen
Tip 5: Don’t ignore Gut Feel or Intuition
There are key principles to consider:
Your Attitude. Your attitude will be how people determine what sort of person you are. It is positive to be in an attitude of gratitude and be helpful to others. That is to help others with no expectation of return. Just know that what goes around comes around. It is important not to go in for the hard sell but get to know people.
Second Degree Networking. It is important to be discerning about who you have in your network given your goals. The power in the network is in the 2nd degree contacts. These are who your Contacts know or are connected to. They are all links in the chain but your network expands through the 2nd degree contacts. There is also who those people know and the permutations go on.
From a marketing perspective the most important consideration is if you have set your profile up in a way that reflects who you are and what you are about, that is a very important step. This will be how people decide if they want to connect with you. So the key messages you write will be significant in defining you. Remember that many people do interpret differently so if you can write it simply but clearly, then most are likely to get the same message.
The second important fact is to communicate in a way that attracts rather than repels a network member. To make a connection based on shared interest is the motivation to send the message. If the person seems open to the message it is important to meet up with them and meet face to face if they are local. Strategically it is wise to look for Contacts that are in close geographical proximity, you don’t want to have to catch a plane on a hunch.
Thirdly, sending messages can be limiting or misinterpreted, face to face contact is multi-faceted and you can get an idea of whether this Contact is in fact important to your network. People can sound good in cyber space but in person you can sense what is important and their character. So LinkedIn is a good way to facilitate those face to face contacts.
Fourthly, if you find the Contacts are indeed meeting your criteria of the right people, then keep in touch with them. You may make contact every 3-4 weeks to say hi or to convey some interesting information that they may be interested in. Keeping in touch in a simple and friendly way is how you build relationships. Not too much information up front, as they may be time restrained and overwhelmed by your enthusiasm. Allow people to get to know you, a too formal approach may create some distance.
Lastly, strategically you could form a Group with key members. The group could discuss topics in common. Relaxed participation is what networking is all about and new ideas and ways of doing business can arise from taking the initiative. You may even lead the discussion on socially interesting topics as a way of creating some form of community and getting to know others better. Every person wants to make a difference and as a business network not only can you reach your business goals through shared interest and social goals as well. Increasingly the social side of the equation is filtering into business life, as governments withdraw funding and business expand their Corporate Social Responsibility. This many have found, has expanded their credibility and created more fulfilling lives.
Enjoy LinkedIn and remember, every day is successive. You cannot fail to connect.