How can you use LinkedIn to build genuine and long-lasting business relationships? Is there a proven way for individuals and businesses to connect authentically on this social media platform?
This is a small sample of LinkedIn related questions I received last month during my two day Marketing Systems Master Class (MSMC) in London, United Kingdom. The MSMC is an international live event that we organize for our StrengthInBusiness community three to four times a year.
I have therefore decided to use this space and share my thoughts on the above questions with you, too.
LinkedIn is my main go-to platform for business relationships.
It’s a phenomenal environment that enables you to showcase your individuality and connect with amazing people from all around the world.
All you need to do is search for a person or company and reach out to them with a personalized message. That’s right. The message has to be personalized.
Now, for those of you who are serious about harnessing the power of LinkedIn, let me tell you what you should definitely avoid doing on this marketing channel, or any other social media network for that matter.
Don’t Send Messages in the “Wrong” Language
Before you send one of your connections a message, please do your homework and check whether that person actually speaks the language you want to use.
Here’s a message in Dutch that somebody sent to me on LinkedIn…
Now, I do speak seven languages, however, Dutch is not one of them.
And although somebody who visited my profile prior to reaching out to me wouldn’t know that because I only mentioned four languages, they could have used English to communicate.
Because it’s the language I used to describe what it is that I do on my profile.
Obviously, Dutch isn’t a big deal if you speak German and English or use Google Translate for example to quickly understand the message.
OK, so I went through that process and translated everything. The message had to do with recent developments on the financial markets.
Next, at the end of the message there was a link included. So I clicked on the link (see link at the bottom of the screenshot above) and I was sent to a four page PDF document — in guess what language?
Dutch, of course.
This incidence made me laugh, but it also made me realize that most people won’t have the same reaction I had.
Actually this is how you get people to unfollow you or delete you as a connection on LinkedIn.
This type of bulk spam email doesn’t work. And it works even less when you send it in the wrong language.
So, do yourself a huge favor and stop pursuing this strategy right away.
People Do Business with People They Like and Trust
Let’s go back to the initial questions and allow me to provide you with some hands-on tips on how to build meaningful business relationships on LinkedIn.
1. First, and most importantly, we need to understand that people do business with people.
Humans do business with humans.
That’s why relationships always come down to P2P or H2H and not Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or Business-to-Government (B2G).
2. Second, treat others how you want to be treated.
Meaning: Be respectful, polite and friendly when communicating with other individuals.
3. Third, know what the person you’re reaching out to actually does.
Do some research.
Check their LinkedIn profile, visit their website, see what they are doing on other social channels and find some commonalities. Maybe that other person loves surfing and attends Watersports trade shows just like you do. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start a conversation?
Common passions and hobbies are brilliant, foolproof conversation starters. This method is effective and it helps you connect on a deeper level. You talk about a relevant topic. You’re authentic.
4. Fourth, provide value first.
Whether you’re reaching out to somebody for the very first time or you’re messaging a ‘cold’ connection, make sure you provide value first.
Don’t send people to some crazy PDF documents or worse, pitch them an offer. Not if you’re looking to build long-term relationships.
BTW same rules and principles apply to LinkedIn Groups.
5. Fifth, write in the “right” language.
I had to add this one…
Don’t assume the person on the other end speaks or understands your language. To be on the safe side, write in the language they used to fill out their profile. If it’s English, write in English. If it’s Dutch, write in Dutch.
Once you’ve connected and you’re convinced they speak Dutch for example, go ahead and continue the conversation in Dutch.
And just to be clear: Speaking the same language is a strong way to relate – whether offline or online.
Unlock the Power of LinkedIn. Friendliness Wins.
There you have it. These are some of the do’s and don’ts of interacting with people on LinkedIn.
Ultimately, it all comes down to being friendly and genuine. People sense that and they appreciate it.
Be honest. Be relevant. If you come from a good place and you provide value, you have an opportunity to really connect with people.
Relationships matter. They matter in our personal life and they matter in our professional life. Good, long-lasting relationships are precious.
How do you go about building good business relationships on LinkedIn?