Do you want to make meaningful connections and increase your network on LinkedIn? With the right approach and strategy, you can maximize the platform and get the best out of it. In this post, you’ll learn how to do just that. We’ll show you a 5-step process to create a successful LinkedIn networking plan and share helpful tips to become a networking pro. So let’s get started and find out how you can make the most of LinkedIn!
Why Network On LinkedIn?
STEP 1: Set LinkedIn Networking Goals
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for networking, building relationships, and lead generation for entrepreneurs. However, LinkedIn can also be a time suck if you don’t have a clear plan or goals for how you want to use the platform. That’s why setting networking goals aligned with your company’s vision.
Not sure what LinkedIn networking goals you should set for your business? Here are a few examples:
- Increase brand awareness by X%
- Grow your LinkedIn network by X%
- Generate X leads per month from LinkedIn
- Connect with X target customers/clients per month
- Secure X speaking engagements/media placements per year
Setting networking goals aligned with your company vision ensures you’re using your time on the platform most effectively.
STEP 2: Create A LinkedIn Networking Strategy
LinkedIn can be a goldmine for entrepreneurs willing to work to create a strong network. But where do you start? How do you create a LinkedIn networking strategy that will get you results?
Here’s a 3 phase LinkedIn Networking Strategy that you can adopt and adapt to go deep, not broad, with your LinkedIn connections and build strong relationships that could lead to the networking results you seek:
Phase 1: Targeting
The first step is to be specific with whom you want to connect on LinkedIn. Getting laser-focused will help you stand out when reaching out and engaging with them. Try to answer questions like these when targeting your dream client or customer:
- What do they do?
- What’s their title?
- What company do they work for?
- Where are they located?
Phase 2: Engaging
Engage with your target market by sharing valuable and relevant content that’s helpful to them. If you consistently provide value, you’ll establish yourself as an industry expert, making selling your products or services easier.
You can share valuable and engaging content by writing articles and giving tips or advice in a LinkedIn group, or you can even send messages directly to people in your target audience.
Phase 3: Building Relationships
Reach out and connect with people that fit your target market. When sending a connection request, include a personal message telling them why you want to connect with them.
After connecting, continue to engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts or sending them messages. If you build strong relationships with enough people, eventually, some will become clients or, at a minimum, refer you to someone who will.
STEP 3: Craft Your LinkedIn Networking Plan
You have set your goals that are in support of your company vision. You’ve identified your LinkedIn networking strategy. Now what?
It’s time to add meat to those strategy bones and lay out a game plan that spells out precisely what you will do and when.
Here are the six essential questions you need to answer when crafting your networking on LinkedIn plan:
- Who do you want to connect with? Are you looking for potential clients? Suppliers? Strategic partners? Employees? All of the above?
- What will you do each day to execute your plan?
- When will you do what? How much time will you dedicate to networking on LinkedIn? How many days per week? Consider setting appointments with yourself to network on LinkedIn–blocking off time on your calendar.
- Where will you connect with them on LinkedIn? In LinkedIn Groups, on their personal LinkedIn profile, etc.
- Why do you want to connect? To sell your product or service? To gain a referral?
- How will you implement your plan? These are the details of your plan. How will you know if your plan is succeeding? These are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that move you toward accomplishing your goals.
Yes, there is overlap in these questions–that’s on purpose. The overlap ensures that your LinkedIn networking plan provides complete clarity–a huge step in creating more impactful results.
STEP 4: Take Massive Action with These LinkedIn Networking Tips
LinkedIn is the perfect platform for entrepreneurs looking to build their business networks. However, LinkedIn can also be a bit of a minefield, and it’s easy to make business networking mistakes that can damage your reputation. To help you avoid such pitfalls, I’ve compiled a list of ten advanced LinkedIn networking tips.
1. Don't be afraid to reach out to your dream clients.
If you want to work with a particular company or individual, don’t hesitate to send them a LinkedIn message. Worst case scenario, they’ll ignore you; best case scenario, you’ll make valuable and meaningful connections.
2. Be generous with your time and expertise.
LinkedIn is all about give and take, so always give more than you take. Share valuable and relevant content, offer helpful advice, and be quick to lend a hand.
3. Don't be afraid to show some personality.
LinkedIn is a professional platform, but that doesn’t mean you have to be dull. Let your unique voice shine through in your messages and posts, and you’ll quickly build up a following of engaged and professional connections.
4. Use LinkedIn groups to build relationships.
LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with like-minded professionals. Get involved in discussions, offer helpful insights, and ensure you add value to the conversation.
5. Seek out opportunities to collaborate.
Collaboration is one of LinkedIn’s most powerful networking strategies. Look for ways to collaborate with other professionals on projects, events, articles, or blog posts.
6. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and complete.
An out-of-date or incomplete LinkedIn profile sends the wrong signal to potential connections. Ensure your profile is up-to-date, completely filled out, and consistent with the rest of your online branding. And don’t forget to update your profile photo if you need to.
7. Don't forget about your existing network.
The people who already know and trust you are some of your most vital existing connections. Ensure you stay in touch with your professional network and find ways to add value to those relationships.
8. Personalize your invitations and messages.
LinkedIn makes it easy to add a new connection, but that doesn’t mean you should accept every invitation that comes your way. Instead, personalize each invitation and message so the recipient knows you’re interested in building a real relationship.
9. Be patient. (networking takes time!)
Networking on LinkedIn (or anywhere else) doesn’t happen overnight. Building relationships takes time and effort, so be patient and focus on adding value over the long term.
10. Have fun!
Networking should be enjoyable, not something you dread doing. Find ways to make the process fun for yourself, and you’ll quickly see results in terms of both quantity and quality of connections)
Follow these LinkedIn networking tips. Implement them into your LinkedIn strategy, and you’ll soon find yourself light-years ahead of the competition!
STEP 5: Regularly Reflect on Your Progress
As a busy professional, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget to take a step back and reflect on your progress. But reflection is critical to succeeding in your LinkedIn networking efforts.
Regular reflection helps you assess whether you’re meeting your goals and achieving your desired outcome. Without reflection, it’s easy to get off track and waste time on activities that aren’t moving the needle.
So, schedule time each week to reflect on your networking progress. Ask yourself questions like:
- What did I accomplish this week?
- What metrics did I hit (or miss)?
- What went well?
- What could have gone better?
- What goals do I need to adjust?
- What new strategies do I need to try?
By reflecting regularly, you can fine-tune your LinkedIn networking strategy and ensure you make the most of your time.
Final Thoughts: Advanced LinkedIn Networking
LinkedIn networking is one of the most effective ways to grow your business. But if you want to make the most of this valuable resource, you need a strategy.
The key takeaways in this post outline a five-step process for creating and implementing a successful LinkedIn networking plan. But don’t stop here! These principles can be adapted to fit any business or individual goal.
If you need help putting these ideas into action, allow our team to assist you with developing an online marketing strategy to help you reach your goals. Request a complimentary Discovery Session today, and let us show you how we can help turbocharge your LinkedIn networking efforts!