I believe, rightly or wrongly, that the message about needing to have a decent LinkedIn profile is starting to gain some traction. But, I think that there are still many professionals in practice, who are wondering what is the next stage to winning business via LinkedIn. After all, having a decent profile is a big step forward – but using LinkedIn regularly is where the real value lies in LinkedIn.

Increase your connections on LinkedIn

The first thing you need to do on LinkedIn – after getting a great profile written about you – is to start increasing your number of connections. I’m a great believer in quality connections rather than connections for connections sake. However, you need a certain number of connections on LinkedIn to extend your reach to find the people who matter to you. Therefore, how about actively connecting with your clients, introducers and face-to-face networking contacts?

Use your LinkedIn connections as a reminder to keep in touch

If your LinkedIn connections are just sitting there, and you are not doing anything with them, then you are missing a massive trick. So, what should you be doing? Firstly allocate some time every month to look through your LinkedIn connections. Tag any potential A-listers as you review your list of connections. Who haven’t you spoken to in a while? Who is due an e-mail? Who do you need to move from a level 1/2 relationship connection to a level 3 relationship connection? When I talk about a level 3 relationship connection, what I mean is someone who is no longer just a name, but someone who you trust and who you have had a real time conversation with on a one-to-one basis.

Actively deepen the relationship with your LinkedIn connections

The challenge you now face is how to ‘tempt’ your LinkedIn connection to do more than just swap e-mails with you but actually pick up the phone and start having a dialogue. For example, a client of mine found a LinkedIn connection who would have had a fantastic network into the people he needed introductions to. He could also reciprocate with his network of clients and suppliers. It was what I call a ‘slam dunk’ moment. So, he was duly dispatched to put together a compelling e-mail to the LinkedIn connection in question, suggesting why it would be very beneficial for them both to talk. What do you need to do with your LinkedIn connections to start to get the value from them?  

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