In order to receive an all-star strength on your LinkedIn profile, you need to have 50+ connections. However, while it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, it’s important to stress that the quality of the connections matters more than the quantity. To determine the connections that are most valuable to you, ask yourself the following questions.
What is the purpose of LinkedIn connections?
LinkedIn connections are about engagement, human interaction, and being proactive – they’re not about numbers. Connecting via LinkedIn is a way of meeting and building a professional relationship with business people alike. It’s also about keeping in contact with them and getting a glimpse into the work that they have been up. This is necessary for building an ongoing working relationship and ensuring that they are someone that you’re proud to do business with (and this usually leads to more relevant connections through mutuals!).
The people that you’re connected with the type of posts that appear on your LinkedIn feed, so this should help determine which connections are meaningful and relevant to you.
Who are the people you should be connecting with via LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform and should be used to connect with people in your work life. Personal relationships should be left to other social media sites, such as Facebook.
Additionally, your connections should be with people who you want to do business with. This includes both clients and business allies.
The target market for your business is the type of person that you want to attract to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile should demonstrate to your clients what you can do for them and encourage them to connect with you. However, it goes both ways. You should be able to rely on the quality of other people’s profiles to determine whether you want to reach out and add them first if you genuinely believe that they can benefit from your business and be a future client.
Your business allies are not just the people in your industry, but also the people in an industry that you can collaborate with. An example of this is my professional relationship with Albert Gigl from MW Partners. Albert is a Specialist Dental Accountant, who I often do business with for my dental marketing branch, 360° Dental Marketing. While marketing and accounting are two separate industries, we’re able to collaborate for the benefit of our clients.
Collaborating allows you to share clients and provide referrals. It also allows you to provide more to your clients than you would have been able to if you were working alone. Your business allies will depend on the nature of your industry, however connecting with them can open up many doors for your business and clients.
How to eliminate irrelevant connections to ensure yours are meaningful?
Sitting in a gold mine of hundreds of connections is fantastic, but only if they’re relevant and meaningful to your business. LinkedIn is a powerful way to market your brand, so in order for it to be worthwhile, you want to ensure that it’s reaching the right people.
If you know you’re guilty of accepting all friend requests, now’s the time to filter through them and keep only the ones who add value to your business. Here’s a checklist to ask yourself:
- Have I worked with them? If you already have a working relationship with them, keep them.
- Am I likely to work with them in the future? Even if you haven’t worked with them yet, is there a chance you’ll benefit from each other’s business in the near future?
- Do I know them in real life? If you do, it’s necessary to keep a positive relationship by keeping their connection on LinkedIn.
- Have we attended the same networking events? You may not know them well in real life, but if you’ve been introduced to each other or you’ve attended the same networking events, chances are you have similar business goals or mindsets. If it’s likely you’ll have the chance to work with them, keep them.
- Are they interested in my business and am I interested in theirs? This is especially important if you don’t know them. Is there any interest in this connection or are they simply there to increase your numbers?
- Will they help my business? Essentially, this is what building professional relationships in the business world is all about.
This is also your chance to go through your connection requests, as there may very well potential clients amongst them.
How to approach new connections?
We meet new people every day, so making new connections is just as important as assessing your existing ones. When requesting a connection on LinkedIn, you’ll notice the option to send them a message/note. This gives you the opportunity to personalise your message to really demonstrate that they’re not just a number to you. Your message should be authentic and not come across like you want to sell to them straight away. If you’re not genuine, people can see right through that and it could damage the chances of them wanting to work with you in the future.
In your message, you should tell them why you’re connecting with them and how you can both benefit from connecting and working together. For example, you may have mutual connections, similar interests, or you may both be a member of the same group. It helps to write yourself a script and customise it for each connection.
Forming quality relationships ensures that you have a positive reputation in the business and is important in marketing the likeness of your brand.
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