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How SMBs can Make Meaningful Connections on LinkedIn

LinkedIn seems like the premier site for professional networking: 50 million members joined LinkedIn in 2012, and more than half of its users are business decision makers. So how can SMBs make meaningful connections without looking as if they’re exploiting the platform for conversions? Read on to find out how your SMB can best use LinkedIn. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. ➢ Enhance Your Relationships That Grow Your Business. While you’re perusing your connections on LinkedIn pay attention to status updates. For example, if one of your favorite clients mentions the heat went out in their office, share your concern the next time you speak with them. Or better yet, get out of your comfort zone and make an emotional connection. Think of sending a care package with soup or a blanket. Sometimes those little gestures can go a long way to building lasting, loyal relationships. Listen and Adapt. ➢ Find out how people prefer to interact. This is your opportunity to monitor your stakeholders. Have you ever opened an email from someone who appears to be talking just to you, and then you realize it’s a boilerplate message sent to a hundred different people? Obviously, that generic email isn’t going to make you feel important. You don’t want to make others feel that way when you’re attempting to establish relationships. Figure out how people want to interact by tailoring a message specific to them. Even if you are trying to reach a larger group of people, understand that group’s interests, focus and needs. Give to Get. ➢ Take advantage of recommendations. Recommendations are like sharing references with the world. Give recommendations often, but make sure they’re meaningful, truthful and robust. By doing so, people will be more willing to give your company recommendations that are from the heart. Also consider joining LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn answers. Both contain an array of information on a gamete of topics. It’s the perfect opportunity to see what others in your industry are discussing, while also being able to share some of your own knowledge. Based on your profile preferences and connections, LinkedIn will provide a list of “Group’s you may like” under the Groups tab. Don’t be afraid to pose a question or join the conversation. Share Your Story. ➢Consider it Your Elevator Speech. Products, services, points of contact, etc. Share company news. Just as you peruse your connection’s updates, people will view yours. Share company updates, like how you just hired an awesome new employee, how your company reached a goal you set or an event your participating in or sponsoring. Let people see what’s going on and they’ll feel as if you’re sharing semi-personal information with them. Not only will you be highlighting your company, but you may also be gaining attention from a potential employee or perspective clients. If you’re not on social media as an SMB, it might be time to figure out how you can begin leveraging these platforms (if this article didn’t already convince you). Oh, and don't forget to follow Wasp on LinkedIn.