I consider myself savvy when it came to social media, and I thought I had relegated LinkedIn to its proper place: I viewed it only as a way to stay connected to individuals I had already met. In fact, until I started contributing to this column regularly, I had a rule that I wouldn’t connect with anyone that I didn’t “know.”
All of this changed for me after a very helpful session with LinkedIn Expert–Alex Pirouz of Linkfluencer–whom I ironically met over LinkedIn after he had read a couple of my columns.
I learned six important lessons from Alex on how to use LinkedIn more effectively:
4) Connect With Purpose
I am in the process of promoting my book and had never considered reaching out to people over LinkedIn for an opportunity to connect and speak. Pirouz led me to a fundamental shift in thinking about who I would connect with and when. Those that are using LinkedIn to make connections see it very much like a virtual conference they are attending–but instead of being restricted by their own local geography, they have access to people all over the world.
That said, building connections for the sake of having a large following is not a sound strategy if you want to effectively grow your business and profit using LinkedIn. Every connection needs to be linked to your goals and objectives in business both now and in the future.
6) Always Add Value First
Whether you are connecting with a potential partner or customer, you need to build value and rapport in order for them to have any interest in who you are and what you do. Just because they accepted your connection invite doesn’t mean they are interested in what you have to say. Remember: to be interesting, you have to be interested.
Building relationships through LinkedIn is no different than dealing with people in a network function, through a friend or colleague, it’s all about adding value first. To be successful on LinkedIn and in business overall you have to first think about WIIFT (What’s In It For Them) rather then WIIFU (What’s In It For You).