LinkedIn contacts are professionals like you and me. They are not by nature ‘contacts’ or ‘prospects’ – while that well may be true, they are actually – well – humans. Your network is comprised of real people who respond to thoughtfulness, intelligent contribution, mutual professional support, and of course, regular contact.
Following is an approach designed to make LinkedIn networking as meaningful as possible to the humans on the other end of the link. Also recognizing that we are all human – the suggestions here are also designed to be implemented in 15 minutes per day.
A Week in the Life of a Human-centric LinkedIn Networker
DAILY LINKED-IN ROUTINE – PART ONE
First, take each day and do something on that day, each week. This should take 6-10 minutes.
- Monday: Recommend someone. Nothing puts a smile on someone’s face better than a heartfelt recommendation. When you sit down to do this, keep in mind:
- Don’t JUST be a salesperson; be a person first, sales second. Don’t just recommend people you want to do business with; recommend people in a way, and with timing, that can be meaningful to them.
- Be sincere. Nothing will backfire here – or anywhere in social media – quite as badly as lack of sincerity.
- Be original. Don’t say the same thing over and over, because depending on how it’s viewed online, that could become obvious and embarrassing for you. Don’t use form letter language. Take the time to do it right – or don’t do it at all.
- When shouldn’t you recommend? When you have pending new business, or when you have nothing good to say.
- Tuesday: Meaningfully contribute to your favorite group. Start a discussion, or post something thought-provoking. Whatever it is, be a part of creating the meaningful forum that you enjoy so much.
- Wednesday: Review your contacts. Who’s missing? There will always be someone who you haven’t yet connected with, despite all your best efforts and spotless organization. Take 5-10 minutes to track down a few email addresses, and start to find the people you wish were in your network again.
- Thursday: Support other people, and they’ll support you. Make note of who in your network is trying to get something off the ground, and do what you can to support it, so long as it’s relevant to your business. Join a group, comment on their new blog – whatever it is, do it – then post it as your linked-in status. It’s good karma. But…
- Don’t join and then never comment. You don’t have to comment every day, or every week. But if a month goes by, maybe you should put your efforts elsewhere.
- When you do comment, do not promote your company or your services. It’s OK to put in a link to your website or profile, but don’t crowd the conversation with sales messaging. Take five minutes and say something that shows off your expertise.
- Friday: Do something to support your corporate brand. Do something that strengthens your business’ brand, and you’ll in turn strengthen your own professional network. Ask yourself: Am I lifting the firm as a whole, or just myself?
DAILY LINKED-IN ROUTINE – PART TWO
Every day, use the second half of your 15 minutes to perform the following LinkedIn activities – try to do each of these a little bit every business day.
Post one status update every day. If you spent time reading something, others might find it useful, too. And the next time you write something, you’ll find you have more people listening when you share your own work. If there’s a trackable link, use it. Again with the karma factor: help others to track their results, and you set a good example for social media users everywhere.
- So you’ve changed your status… now what? Can you share that information in other social media forums, as well? Is there something to share with more contextual detail with any of your groups? Likely this will only take a second, and it will greatly expand the reach of your effort.
Connect, Support, Help Out. Linked In is a connection between two humans, with a lot of other connections that surround it. Rotate thinking about each of your contacts – dig deep into one person per day and think: what can I do to help them with their business? Maybe other people will do the same for you.
Respond, respond, respond. When people invite/ask for help/etc…. they mean you. They may be speaking to a large group of contacts, but every group is made up of individuals.
Show your smarts.
- Be a Thought Leader. Put your best foot forward by putting your best thinking forward.
- Send Only Your Best. Don’t crowd other people’s inboxes with anything less than your best thinking, and information that is genuinely useful and relevant. Be real: what do people value from you? Give it to them, and give them the best you’ve got.
Establishing a LinkedIn routine is just like any other new habit – it will take a while to kick in, and some weeks will be better than others. If you fall out of the routine, don’t worry too much – just jump back in. Remember… you’re only human.
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