LinkedIn gives you a reason to be in touch with contacts in your professional network through status updates and content.

Today, most people do not send an email when they move jobs, instead they use LinkedIn to notify their network. It’s up to you to do the due diligence to find where they landed.

So how can you use LinkedIn to build your network and bring in new business?

  • Every day, like and/or share others’ posts in your industry and at your organization
  • Write content that you can then also share. This will help you build your personal brand and stay top of mind with your professional network
  • Congratulate the successes of those in your network through its notifications section
    • Job moves, promotion, job anniversaries, professional milestones (an appointment to a board, an award, the publishing of a book, etc.)
  • Use LinkedIn before and after events to build relationships and research people
  • Log in during your commute or downtime to check out what people in your network are posting, who has switched jobs, who is celebrating a work anniversary, who is speaking at an event or has written a blog post or article.
    • Use these professional milestones to reach out to individuals who you’ve been meaning to contact. I have seen these notifications serve as the catalyst to reigniting a relationship and leading to a new client engagement. They can serve as the “hook” you need to get your foot back in the door.

Developing a LinkedIn BD Strategy

To take your LinkedIn efforts to the next level, think about the following:

  • What do I want to accomplish with my LinkedIn profile?
  • How will I determine whether this has been a successful business development venture? Simply increasing your number of connections isn’t enough of a measurement metric. It’s better to determine success by measuring things like lead generation, new business meetings and increased traffic to your profile
  • How much time will I dedicate to using LinkedIn to cultivate business? What you will get out of it should be proportionate to what you’re putting in.
  • It’s great to have many connections on LinkedIn, but if the relationship never leaves the site, what’s the point?
    • The goal with LinkedIn is to turn those connections into referral sources or new clients.
    • To do this: Create a strong LinkedIn profile (use keywords that will help you appear in searches).
    • Write for people to read it.
    • Connect with every important professional you meet and personalize your invite.
    • Remind the person where you met, mention something you remember from a conversation you had, or better yet, open the door to a future meeting.
    • Increase your visibility by regularly sharing updates.
    • In the context of business development, share information that will be interesting to your clients/network. This will keep you top of mind with them.

Turn Online Connections to Offline Business

  • Create a connections plan. Go through your Outlook contacts and make sure you are connected to VIP people on LinkedIn.
  • Connect with the people who have viewed your profile (if you know them). Use LinkedIn’s tools – “People You May Know.”
  • Search through your colleagues’ connections as well as those of your competitors for leads.
  • Be generous – like and share others’ posts and congratulate others on their successes, especially your VIP connections.
  • Build online rapport and follow people you admire on Twitter, retweet their content, like and comment on their statuses and share their content on LinkedIn.
  • Supporting others helps to build a strong community.
  • Post a status update on LinkedIn when you travel to another city for work or for a conference so you can easily connect with others in the area.

So why do all of this?

While many of your connections may not be ready to hire you at the time, they may be in the future. When they reach that point, you will be top of mind. You will also build a stronger network, which can open doors for you that can lead to new professional opportunities.

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