I started out using LinkedIn about 5 years ago. My business coach advised me to get serious about LinkedIn and learn how to use it. She recommended connecting with people I didn’t know. She helped me see that only connecting with people that I knew in person on LinkedIn was very limiting. (Of course, the pandemic really stopped that theory for me!)
I began to see that LinkedIn was all about relationship building and direct messaging. There’s a lot of magic that happens in there with commenting and interacting with other people’s posts.
Over the years, I’ve met a lot of leads and referral partners on LinkedIn. I define a referral partner as someone who trusts me enough to recommend me to their client, friend, or colleague to solve a problem. Referrals are so much of the bread and butter of how many of my clients receive work. I took it upon myself to understand how I could be treating my own referral partners better and then helped educate my clients on how to do that.
Want more resources and tools you can refer to for your clients and colleagues? Check out the TIN Library!
I find that many of the tips below align with the famous book “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. This book was written in 1936, almost 100 years ago. I read it about 15 years ago, and it really helped me see the potential of connecting with people and how to build lasting relationships.
Here are some of my go-to LinkedIn tips for connecting with potential clients and referral partners. I recently worked with Tom and Elaine from Transitions in Nature and created a 90-Day Marketing Roadmap that included a LinkedIn strategy for their marketing. Using some of these tips below, I was able to help them increase their connections on their business page from 303 to 521 (a 58% increase) in less than 6 months!
Please note that everything I share below can be done with the free version of LinkedIn.
Four Strategies to Use on Linked
Get over 500 connections.
Be sure to connect with 500 or more people through your LinkedIn account. Why should you aim to have more than 500 connections on your LinkedIn profile? Here are some nice benefits:
- You’ll appear more often in search results.
- You’ll be higher in the search ranking.
- You’ll have more shared connections and easier access to the right people.
- You’ll show up more often in People Also Viewed
- You’ll appear more often in People Similar To Your status updates, and published posts are more likely to receive views, shares, and comments.
To get your 500+ connections, start reconnecting with old colleagues and co-workers. Connect with people you’ve known for the last 20 years and probably haven’t talked to in a long time.
It’s easier to engage with people you already know. Make it a game and connect with 10 new people weekly or 40 new people monthly. If you do this consistently for 6 months, you will have 250 new connections!
Connect with NEW people
Reaching 500 connections helps you build more confidence to reach out to new people. The more people you’re connected with and you start posting and engaging with them, they’re going to see it and start spending more time commenting with you and engaging with you. It’s to your benefit to at least start within your own network and branch out from there.
Use Canned Responses for Direct Messaging
There is much spamming in the DM (Direct Messaging!), and you can let it go. Ignore them; know that is not how you want to come across. What’s worked for my clients and me is being authentic. I recommend having some canned responses–wait, I know it sounds counterintuitive, but listen. These “canned responses” are friendly messages that you’ve already pre-written that sound like you.
Work on saying the canned responses out loud and then tweak them to use your own language. Watch how you say “Hi” and be yourself. There are some colloquial terms or some sayings you are probably using.
Define who you want to connect with. You don’t need to answer every direct message you receive. Take time to review the person’s profile and see if there is something in common and an opportunity for you to help them or collaborate.
Find a Connection with Someone
Take a look at people’s profiles and look at what you have in common, what you find interesting, or what you can be curious about. I like to see what college or certifications people earn or where they like to volunteer. It’s touching, making it a much more meaningful relationship-building aspect to connect on something you have in common.
I believe if you begin connecting and using 2-4 of the suggestions above for a month, you will start to see traction! Posting on LinkedIn is always good, but engagement and being a nice person can go a long way.
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