#1 – How do I create meaningful relationships using LinkedIn?
The key is to take a different approach than everyone else, to Zig when they Zag. LinkedIn is a business tool, but you can use it get personal; after all, people do business with people. The key is to get personal with a pre-qualified audience, people that have a higher probability of leading to fruitful business relationships. People with whom you share something in common.
A layered search is one starting point. You are looking for people with similar personal and business interests, people in your target audience, people that may like concerts, hiking or sailing much like you do. Get the idea?
Through LinkedIn searches, you determine that these people are in a good position at a good company to help you… perhaps you can help them too. Now, combine those business and personal searches into one and engage them with a personal bent!
#2 – How can LinkedIn Help when I Travel on Business?
First of all, it’s always a good idea to allow an extra day for business development when traveling to another city, especially if you are attending a conference. If you know how to play the game, these trips can lead to new business and repeat visits to some very nice places.
Before you travel, search LinkedIn—use the local zip code of your target location—and see who you know and/or who you are connected to there. If you know people who you are not connected to, now is a good time to send an invitation and let them know you’ll be in town!
If you don’t know an interesting person in your search, invite them noting that you would like to connect and meet. Of course, your souped-up LinkedIn profile makes this interaction much more fruitful.
Another idea is to invite some of the top LinkedIn people in the target location. Simply set your search parameters from the advanced search screen, scroll to the bottom and sort by number of connections. This builds your network in a specific city very fast and if you connect with super connectors with whom you share common interests, you’re sure to find more people just like that in their network as well.
One more idea is to join the local LinkedIn Group to see what is happening in the local business community. Almost every city has at least one such group and some have many. We operate the Linked To Denver Group (25,000+ members) and the Friends of Colorado Group (3,000+ members) and encourage people to engage before you arrive.
#3 – How many LinkedIn connections do I need?
We recommend that most people have at least 500+ LinkedIn connections to be taken seriously. You have to LOOK serious to be taken seriously and “500” is where that starts.
Executives may have smaller networks (100-300) but we’re seeing more and more ask us to help them connect to people in their existing network. My favorite request was the classic shoebox full of business cards; when we got done he had over 1,300 connection on LinkedIn full of people.
People who need a larger network full of prospects include those in sales-driven, recruiting or job seeking roles. We typically recommend building a network of 2,000+. Of course, the executive who loses their job might have wished they had built a larger network when it was easy and they were in a position of power rather than one of need.
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