When we’re talking about LinkedIn, the conversation usually comes down to connections. How many connections are in your network? What kinds of connections are you making? How are you helping your connections? But while having and making new connections is important, being a LinkedIn connector is a little-known secret to standing out from the crowd.
Being a connector is the foundation of building a powerful network with social capital to spare. When done properly being a LinkedIn connector can lead otherwise untapped sales and business opportunities.
Malcom Gladwell has his own definition of a “connector” (try the phone book trick he d
escribes and then share your score with me on Twitter or Facebook!). But in the most literal sense a connector is someone who brings people together.
Why is this important?
- You’re providing tremendous value to your connections at no cost to them.
- You’re staying top of mind with members of your network without selling or cold calling.
- You’re truly helping people with very little effort on your part.
- You’re give versus take, which builds up social capital that can be extremely valuable in the future.
There’s a very important part of being a LinkedIn connector that I should stress here – providing value and building a reputation as a connector requires that you take some time up front to actually know your connections.
Imagine what your network would look like if out of all your connections you actually took 10 minutes to talk to just 1 new LinkedIn connection per day. Imagine how you would stand out from the crowd after helping some of the 250+ people you spoke with connect with potential clients, employees, vendors, media or even industry experts.
Then compound that over 5, 10, 20 years and now you can understand how successful connectors build powerful networks.
One other important key to note: you shouldn’t just aim to be a connector, but a smart connector. Your goal should always be to establish connections that get results. Do that consistently, and your phone will ring off the hook!
Here are 4 tips for becoming a better LinkedIn connector!
1. Be selective about your connections. Building your network to more than 500 connections (which is where LinkedIn cuts off their display in search results – ever notice how many people have “500+” connections?) is an ideal goal for every professional, but curating those connections is essential. Focus 90% of your time connecting with potential customers, partners, referrals sources, influencers or others who could potentially introduce you to the list above. When you curate your LinkedIn connections, you can better understand their strengths and needs in order maximize your ability to connect them with individuals who can provide them value.
2. Establish your ability to connect immediately. When you add a new LinkedIn connection, always follow up with a quick message (never a sales message) offering to make an introduction to someone in your network. I do this regularly with my new connection, and very few people take me up on the offer. It’s genuine! But even if someone doesn’t take you up on it, you are immediately letting them know that part of your mission on LinkedIn is to provide value for them. You are establishing yourself as a connector, and are inherently providing perceived value, without actually doing anything!
3. Think outside the box. Sometimes a great connector makes introductions that lead to more than sales. Scanning your LinkedIn feed each morning can provide you with valuable information to help you make those “outside the box” connections. Notice a connection that’s posting a lot of job openings lately? Introducing them to a rock star recruiter you know could save them time, stress and money! That’s just one example – get creative to think about how your status as a connector can help people across your LinkedIn network.
4. Make it quick and easy for them to take action. We’re all busy, so don’t belabor the point by writing a long introductory message to your connections. Being introduced to a stranger can be awkward for some people – this blog has some nice tips for making introductions. I personally like to keep my introductions short and sweet. Let both recipients know immediately why you think they would find value in meeting the other person, then leave it to them to pick up the ball and run with it. In other words, set it up and get out of the way! Your connections will appreciate both the introduction and the brevity.
**Resource: Here are step-by-step instructions on how to introduce 2 people through LinkedIn.
Before you can become a successful LinkedIn connector, you need to master some basic but essential LinkedIn habits.
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“Stop the madness. There’s a better way!”
LinkedIn Marketing & Social Selling Consultant, Trainer, Speaker