As I discuss in Chapter 12 of my LinkedIn Marketing Book, Successful LinkedIn Networking is about building real, qualified business relationships, both on and off-line. At a recent LinkedIn networking event one of my LinkedIn Groups. NYC Business Owners on LinkedIn, as pictured on the left here, I met face to face with 20 new connections. As a result of pulling the on-line to off-line in a friendly setting, I was able to really get to know the faces of LinkedIn connects I had only seen a profile head-shot and a text summary before. In 90 minutes I learned :
One of my connects traveled the world to document temples that had been destroyed in WWII to write a compelling history for Jews everywhere. As a Jew and a person who loves history, I was excited to make valuable business introductions to groups I know would just love to purchase her book and spread the word. In the last week, I did make such introductions for her.
A gentleman I had met after I delivered a presentation on Social Media Marketing Strategy to his class, who is a recent LinkedIn connect, is in the middle of developing an optimized system of POS efficiency for restaurants. As a part of his product development, he expressed a need to interview restaurant owners and connect with vendors of restaurants. In so that, I have a background which includes heavy restaurant promotions and marketing, I was easily able to introduce him to some valuable people that could assist him in completing his research.
A LinkedIn connect whom I have known for a while as I was a guest on his radio show, Talking Alternative, years back came and told me that his show has since gone global with business listeners from around the world. Now that I have been delivering LinkedIn training to clients in Africa and Dubai in the last year, this news really hit home. I have since started planning to host my own radio show with him for 2013.
And these are but a few of the many examples of Successful LinkedIn Networking that I could share. To truly create real business relationships that will either help you in the short or long-term, I would like to share a few key action tips for you:
- As in professional sales, look for ways to add value to your connections. This can be a warm introduction , a link to a valuable resource or tool, an offer to give advice where needed, including commenting on their LinkedIn updates.
- Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups provide the best LinkedIn online networking opportunities. This is where conversations start and relationships are developed.
- Choose local LinkedIn Groups with qualified business professionals. There are tens of thousands of Groups on LinkedIn. Take your time to review the LinkedIn Groups where you have a direct association, have an offline component and best, are in your local area.
- Engage in the LinkedIn conversation. The only way you can be in the LinkedIn business relationship is to engage in it. This means for you to comment where you have an interest, passion and knowledge – again, look to add value when and where appropriate.
- Mark your calendar and do attend local Linkedin Networking events whenever possible. In NYC, I am involved in many, including a few I manage. This is where I take my relationships online to off-line and get to know these people. As in all networking for business, it is about trust and likability.
- If you have many quality connects outside of your local area, take the time to call them. You will be surprised how far a phone call can take your LinkedIn relationship.
If you are in NYC, my newest formed Group and I, the NYC Business Owner Group, are planning a January LinkedIn Networking event. We are happy to have you. To join in, make sure to sign up for my newsletter or join us on LinkedIn. For a manual on how to use LinkedIn as your #1 Branding and Sales tool, check out my book on Amazon. Sampling of the book is free. Here is to Successful LinkedIn Networking!