Nurturing LinkedIn connections

LinkedIn can be used as a simple ‘business card holder’ where all you do is connect with people so you can have their up-to-date contact details at all times. Or, on the other hand, it can be used as a powerful connection channel to create new contacts, deepen relationships and open the doors to business opportunities.

In both cases, as LinkedIn is a network of professional connections, there is a fundamental need to nurture your contacts.

I was invited last week to speak at the CEO Institute on the power of LinkedIn for business and below is my ‘P-E-R-M’ principle on ‘nurturing your LinkedIn connections’ which I shared with the group.

P – Personalised invitations

The first impression counts. Even on LinkedIn.

So when you send an invitation to connect, make sure it is personalised and meaningful to the person who is receiving it. For example, you can refer to a networking lunch you both attended, a contact you have in common, the reason why you would like to connect with them or how you might be able to help each other or work together.

Think about also personalising your response to invitations sent to you. If appropriate, you could even refer them to your other social media profiles (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.).

E – Engage

Your connections could quickly forget about you unless you are an active user and they can see your name popping up on their screen on a regular basis.

Ways to make yourself more visible on LinkedIn include: sharing an update, commenting on your contacts’ updates, sending them a message, taking part in a group discussion, updating your profile, connecting with more people and receiving recommendations.

R – Recommend

Has your mother ever told you that ‘sharing is caring’?

In the LinkedIn world, sharing your satisfaction with people you have worked with by writing a recommendation for them is the epidemic of nurturing and caring. It’s the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ and deepen your relationship with them. Plus, they might be inclined to return the favour!! J

M – Meet with them

Your relationships can only go so far online… Give them a call or propose to catch up for a coffee to get to know them and their business a bit better. It is when the virtual connection is taken to a face-to-face level that the real potential of the relationship can be nurtured.

What about you? What are your tips for nurturing your LinkedIn connections? Have you tried something which resulted in positive outcomes for you and/or your business?

By Kim Larochelle, PR Mentor

You can find Kim on LinkedIn and Twitter.