For most people, after creating a profile on LinkedIn, the focus tends to shift to growing the number of connections they have, but more important than the number of connections is the strength of those connections. If you only connect to someone but haven't any dialogue, what are you really accomplishing?
Having 250 strong connections that you know well and can connect to on a deeper level generates more business and creates more meaningful relationships than having 1000 connections.
The key to making your LinkedIn connections work is developing relationships, having meaningful conversations, and when possible in-person meetings are essential to moving from the connection phase into the relationship phase.
Here are five ways to turn those connections into more meaningful relationships:
Timing - After you’ve made a new connection, provided an introduction, answered a question, asked a question, or had someone comment on your status update or group discussion you've found a reason to take the next step and initiate a conversation. Conversations can lead to phone calls, ongoing dialogue, or in-person meetings.
Leverage Events – Find events in your area, that your connections are also attending and reach out to one or two of those connections. You can send a message to let them know you will be attending the same event they will and that you look forward to meeting them.
Traveling – Reach out to connections when your traveling to let them know you’ll be in their area and ask them to meet you for coffee or lunch.
Get Advice – Everyone loves to share their opinion. Asking for advice will make your connection feel important which can lead to a deeper relationship with your connection.
Be a Resource – Helping your connections is a great way to develop more meaningful relationships. Read status updates or discussion topics and questions to see where you can reply and add value, then send a detailed message with additional tips and resources to benefit your connections.
How have you strengthened your LinkedIn connections? Please share your comments below.