Purposeful LinkedIn Networking

In one way or another, you have access to nearly 610 Million people who are on LinkedIn. Even if these LinkedIn Members are not active on LinkedIn, purposefully networking on LinkedIn is a powerful way to get into the right conversations with the right people, at the right time.

I routinely remind my clients of two important business process facts of LinkedIn Networking.

#1 You do not have to connect with every Tom, Dick, and Betty on LinkedIn. No disrespect to all the Toms, Dicks and Bettys on LinkedIn, they could be fabulous people. I’ll tell them as well, not to connect with every George, Harry or Sylvia on LinkedIn either. I use a very deliberate philosophy to decide who I should connect with. Relevance is at the core of this philosophy. I use the word relevance broadly around life, business, career, community, industry, role, interest and curiosity.

#2 There are two people you should connect with on LinkedIn (and in life). I urge everyone who wants to get the greatest value from their LinkedIn Network to make a new connection every day of their life. The more you network on LinkedIn the easier it becomes to network on LinkedIn.

Many years ago LinkedIn used to show the size of our 2nd level network. Back when I only had a few thousand connections I remember this number being close to 13Million people. Today I am fortunate to have a large and highly relevant LinkedIn Network. As I research new LinkedIn Connections today it has become far easier to connect with them.

The old quote of “6 degrees from Kevin Bacon” has morphed into my quote, “2 degrees away from my Most Important Viewer”.

Here are the two people you should connect with on LinkedIn:

(A) People you can help

These are the people you could help in some way or another.

Maybe it’s your ability to encourage, motivate, inform or educate them through the content you share and the ideas you bring to relevant conversations.

Maybe you can help them through a direct conversation over a LinkedIn or email message or even a quick phone call.

Maybe you can help them by alerting them of future opportunities you discover from your LinkedIn Network that they could benefit from.

Maybe they need help connecting with that a LinkedIn Connection who could be the most profound connection and conversation they have ever made.

(B) People who can help you

These are the people who can help you in some way or another, either in business, life, community or career.

Maybe you can get encouragement, motivation or educated from their content and engagement in relevant conversations.

Maybe you can get into an open and mutually beneficial conversation with them via LinkedIn message, email, quick phone call or visit.

Maybe as your relationship and reputation grow with them, they would be able/willing to introduce you to your next great LinkedIn Connection, (i.e. a potential client).

Maybe these LinkedIn Members are actually your Most Important Viewer (target audience) and again, as your relationship and reputation grow with them, they would be open to a direct business conversation which could turn a LinkedIn Connection into a prospect or better yet a client.

You can adjust my definitions of People you can help and People who can help you as you wish to best fit your specific business or career goals. However, don’t disrespect the core definitions by driving them down to ‘people I can sell to’.

If you are not networking on LinkedIn for mutual benefit, as we should in life, I can guarantee you’ll get far less long term value from networking.

One of the truly rewarding aspects of networking with these two people on LinkedIn is that often one becomes the other. Sometimes you don’t see it happening until the person you thought needed your help introduces you to someone they know well who needs your services, products or skills. And, maybe that person you connect with who became a client, personally needs your help with their own goals.

Two additional important aspects of networking on LinkedIn, which I am committed to are:

  1. My research (searching) on LinkedIn is focused on people who can help me. This is typically influencers or my Most Important Viewer.
  2. I immediately engage with everyone I connect with on LinkedIn. I think it’s a huge missed opportunity when LinkedIn Members fail to do this.

The amount of time I invest in my immediate engagement is based on the potential value this LinkedIn Connection could have to my business goals. Often those I can help will get a friendly LinkedIn message thanking them for the connection and letting them know I will help them in any way I can. Those who I believe can help me (often the influencers or my Most Important Viewers) may get a phone call or business email message thanking them for the connection and inviting them to a conversation regarding their business goals or needs. No sales pitch, ever.

I strive to live by my edit of “Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward through life.” As I discovered the potential of networking on LinkedIn I encourage all LinkedIn Members to do the same.

If your sales team needs to understand and start networking on LinkedIn purposefully, let’s talk.

Teddy
336-283-6121
info@burrissconsulting.com

15 Best Practices of LinkedIn Networking

Networking on LinkedIn is an important practice and must be done correctly and consistently in order to create real business results.

It all starts with knowing who you want to connect with. Who, in what companies, industries, and regions?

As you connect on LinkedIn you’ll create opportunities to connect with even more people you want to connect with.

I love the old adage, “6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.” This is so old school. Today it’s “3 degrees of separation from anyone who connects with purpose and intention on LinkedIn.”

I ‘preach’ this regularly and am obliged to do so again here:

“There are two people you need to connect with on LinkedIn, those you can help and those who can help you.
Consider the invites from those you can help, as you purposefully send invites to those who can help you in your business or career.”

 

  1. As you connect on LinkedIn remember to smile and be friendly. You’re networking with other real people.
  2. Follow the Dale Carnegie principle; ‘make the conversation all about the other person.”
  3. I’ve added a spin to this philosophy in my Networking for Mutual Benefit; “Make the conversation all about the other person until you get permission to talk about yourself or your business.”
  4. As you connect you never know who knows who, and who can introduce you to who. This could be considered mysterious, however, for me, it’s one of the coolest things about networking.
  5. Keep connecting, and as long as you are doing it correctly, with purpose and intention, focused on your goals, trust the magic of networking will work.
  6. Don’t just network on LinkedIn, find opportunities to meet in person or have a Skype or Phone conversation. “Digital Face to Face is better than never face to face.”
  7. People want to do business with people they trust, respect and like. Get into open conversations, this can help you achieve greater trust, respect, and relationships.
  8. Listen to what your connections say or ask. Don’t listen to respond, but rather, listen to understand first and foremost.
  9. Remember to Give to your LinkedIn Network. When you give ideas, information and/or new philosophies that are relevant to your target audience, this adds to the trust, respect, and relationship.
  10. Don’t confuse barfing out brochures and case studies as a form of Giving. Give your target audience what they want, need, & are interested in, even if it’s not about your business.
  11. Help your LinkedIn Network, including your target audience, to connect with others who can help each other. Do this with no expectations of anything in return.
  12. Pay attention to your LinkedIn Network as you continue to grow your network. Show empathy and bolster their self-esteem when and where you can. You will always be remembered for caring for your network.
  13. If you lead with Give and care for your network, they will be acceptable to introduce you to others who you need meet. Ask for introductions when you can.
  14. Pay attention to who your network is connected to, and to whom they can introduce you to. Again, as you get permission, ask for appropriate introductions.
  15. Networking is a life style, not something you do once a week or when an urgent need arises.

I discovered years ago that my Network is my most important asset in life. This includes my LinkedIn Network.

Never disrespect your LinkedIn Network, continuously build your LinkedIn Network, develop a diverse LinkedIn Network, help your LinkedIn Network, care for your LinkedIn Network, share your LinkedIn Network and Give to your LinkedIn Network with no expectations.

It’ll return great dividends if you do.

Read more of my articles about Networking on LinkedIn on my blog

If I can help you and/or your team with your LinkedIn Networking practices, let’s talk.

/Teddy

336-283-6121

How big should our LinkedIn Network be?

Here are just a few of the questions I’ve heard regarding the ‘right’ size of a LinkedIn Network:

  • Is there a target number of LinkedIn connections?
  • Can you have too many LinkedIn connections?
  • Is there an optimum number of connections?
  • When should you stop connecting on LinkedIn?
  • I have 500+ connections now, is that enough?
  • My boss thinks my LinkedIn Network is too big, what should I do?

There are many opinions about the right size of a LinkedIn Network.

I answer these questions with my philosophy regarding networking on LinkedIn.

My decisions around connecting on LinkedIn are very purposeful and focused on my business & professional goals. Additionally I strive to connect on LinkedIn for mutual benefit.

As I wrote in my first book – Networking for Mutual Benefit, “Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward through life.” I apply this to networking on LinkedIn as well.

My primary purpose regarding networking on LinkedIn is to search for and connect with people who can help me move my business forward.

However, I also intentionally accept invites to connect from people who are relevant to me in many other ways. I offer to these LinkedIn Members my help, when and where I can.  Who knows, one day these people who want my help now, may be able to help me in the future. You never know.

As I wrote in my first book, “you should connect with someone new every day of your life.” I like to apply this philosophy to my LinkedIn Networking as well. The practice of consistent networking in a purposeful way can create a very meaningful, relevant and beneficial LinkedIn Network.

Therefore, my rule for connecting on LinkedIn is clear (to me): Accept all invites from people who are relevant to me in some way or another, regardless of whether I have met or talked with them yet.

My general rule for sending LinkedIn invites is; I send LinkedIn invites, focused on my business goals, to my target audience and their influencers. My intent is to connect with these people in order to ‘develop and nurture some level of mutually beneficial relationship over time.’ When possible I pull these people into an open conversation in order to discover if what I do is relevant to them.

All of this supports the foundation of my answer to the questions presented at the beginning of this article:

There is no optimum or target size of LinkedIn Network. The 500+ LinkedIn Network size only shows you have done some networking per LinkedIn.  You should never stop connecting with purpose and intention on LinkedIn, regardless of what anyone says to you.

You should continue to, purposefully and with business intent, ‘meet someone new every single day of your life.’ Because, the next connection you make on LinkedIn may be the greatest connection ever. Use LinkedIn properly and you never know the potential of that next connection. The magic lies in these words, ‘you never know.’ Alternatively, stop connecting and you could miss out on something fabulous.

I wish you successful, relevant and mutually beneficial LinkedIn Networking.

If you want help for your team regarding Networking for Mutual Benefit using LinkedIn, let’s talk – info@BurrissConsulting.com or 336-283-6121

 

Should I begin using LinkedIn as a Senior in High School?

The answer to this question is similar to another question:
 
Should I start saving money in high school? 
Yes, you should start saving what money you can as early as you can.
 
Look what $1000 a year can create if you start investing at 16 yrs old. 
Base on a simple 5% APR.
 
At age 22 – $8300 in the account. At 35 – $34,000, and at 65 – $222,000.
Imagine if the APR were closer to 10%, the result would be closer to $1.4M at age 65.
 
Financial advisors will tell us to follow these best practices for the greatest financial results:
 
  • Start investing as early as we can
  • Consistently add to the funds
  • Manage the risks relevant to our goals
  • Diversify our investments
  • Reinvest the interest
  • Measure our results
 
A financial asset and a LinkedIn network are two different types of assets, however, managed correctly they are both important assets in life. There are great similarities in the best practices of these two assets.
 
As a LinkedIn consultant, I offer these best practices of Networking on LinkedIn:
 
  • Start as early as you can. 
  • Consistently grow your LinkedIn Network every day.
  • Manage the risk by making purposeful decisions of who you connect with.
  • Diversity your connections beyond your current role/career.
  • Reinvest in your network by helping your network when and where you can.
  • Measure your network to ensure you are actually building a mutually beneficial network.

Grow your LinkedIn through every phase of your career and business.

Starting early with these best practices can create the greatest value in your life if you are purposeful and deliberate in your actions.

 
If however, you are going to start building your LinkedIn Network in high school you will want to commit to the process, otherwise, your LinkedIn Network will become stale and become disconnected, just as our high school friends become when we lose track of them in life. I recommend installing the LinkedIn App on your smartphone and use it at least a few times each month as you begin networking on LinkedIn.
 
The more you connect on LinkedIn the more chances you’ll have to find ideas and philosophies that can help you in your career journey.
 
The more you connect on LinkedIn and engage with your network in meaningful ways, the more you can grow your personal/professional brand. 
 
Here are a few examples of value:
 
  • LinkedIn helps you stay in touch with the career journeys of the people you meet in real high school and beyond.
  • LinkedIn helps you to meet new people through your existing network.
  • LinkedIn can help you discover new career ideas as you start and travel through your career journey.
  • LinkedIn can help you uncover new ideas and sources of knowledge through the people in your growing network.
  • LinkedIn can help you stay aware of industries, companies, and people you are interested in.
  • LinkedIn can help you to be discovered through your 1st and 2nd level connections as an authority in the space you want to be known for.
 
I am an advocate of starting to grow your LinkedIn network before you leave high school. Deliberately begin to use LinkedIn with purpose and focus on your career and business goals.
The return on investment can be significant.
 
If you want to discuss this philosophy further, contact me – info@BurrissConsulting.com or 336-283-6121