Last year at the Social Media for Small Business Summit, Jo Saunders, one of Australia’s best LinkedIn experts, shared her tips for creating and cultivating your personal network on LinkedIn. Below is an excerpt from her expert masterclass session:
Tips for creating and cultivating your personal network
● Have a strategy behind whom you want to connect with and have your own strategy – The strategy that’s right for me probably wouldn’t be right for you and won’t be suitable for somebody else. Some people want to connect to every man and his dog all around the world. Some people will have a tight network. It comes down to who your ideal client is, who your ideal connection is, and what you’re trying to achieve. If you run a local business and all your clients are local, then connecting to someone across the globe in a different industry may not be a fit. Think about not just looking at the ideal client but the ideal connection because that’s how LinkedIn works.
● Next, think about who knows those people – Look at the people in between the second level connections. If you want to connect to a mining company and deliver your services, look at who works for the mining company. Not only that, but also look at whom they are connected to that you might already know. Or you might want to know because when you engage on LinkedIn, you’re reaching beyond your first-level connections, and that’s that sort of difference between the other platforms I think is powerful on LinkedIn.
● Refine your connections – At this time, LinkedIn only allows 30000 connections, so if you are getting to that point, it is time to refine your connections. I keep my connections quite tight. This is why I think it’s essential to have some strategies around it.
If you’ve gotten to this point where you’ve just accepted everybody, because you think, yeah, why no — I would say no. I think it’s good to get your strategy right early on, so you don’t hit that issue. Think about who they are, are they an ideal client, are they a strategic partner, are they a supplier, are they an industry leader that you can learn from or someone you can engage with. Have different categories of people because that will help you have a diverse network of people. Then you’re not connecting just to your clients or potential clients. A good tip is if you have reached that limit is to follow connections instead, and you can always swap them out with older connections that become irrelevant as your business and strategy evolve.
● Engage with conversations and with your connections – Avoid the habit of spamming people. With engaging conversations on LinkedIn, you add value and credibility to the people you want to connect with and do business with. Build that rapport first, as it will pay off in the long run.
● Look for opportunities to collaborate with the people you want to do business with – Please do your research and make sure they are the right fit with value alignment.
Jo Saunders is an international LinkedIn expert, marketing strategist and social media educator who has helped people since the nineties. Jo guides professionals and organizations through the complexities of LinkedIn and social marketing tools to build visibility, authority and influence. Jo is the author of “Get Good or Get Off”, a guide to getting it right on social media. A host of LinkedIn local Perth and video series, the Connection Couch, and the number two LinkedIn expert in the Asia Pacific for 2018, with the Social Media Marketing Institute.