I often come across clients who have huge email databases but a very small LinkedIn network. In the case of the LinkedIn network I am for this article only referring to the number of your first level connections on LinkedIn, not the entire network including second level and third level connections. For instance a recruiter I was working with recently only had 50 LinkedIn connections but had an email database with more 10,000 contacts. How does a situation like this arise? In the case of the recruiter, she only logs to LinkedIn once every few months. I suggested that she actually try to log in every single day even if it is not for longer than 20 minutes.
How do you catch up?
How do you get your LinkedIn connections to be as many as your email contacts or at least comparable in number? Do you invite everyone in your database in one go so that you can catch up? No ways! That would not be a good idea. If you do this there is a good chance that a fair number of people will decline your invitations even if they might be people you already keep in touch with. Remember LinkedIn keeps track of the type of responses you get to your invitations. So how do you overcome this problem or challenge rather? Here are a few ideas:
Spread the word that you are on LinkedIn
Spread the word as much as possible that you are now on LinkedIn. Do this in a manner that is not irritating or Spammy in any way. If you tell someone once that you are on LinkedIn that is quite enough. Do not keep inviting to LinkedIn at every opportunity. Add your LinkedIn URL or link to your business card and to your email signature. Your LinkedIn URL will look something like this: http://za.linkedin.com/in/brucemubayiwa. When you send out newsletters to your database make sure you have also included your LinkedIn details. Make this a part of your email signature. The LinkedIn information could also be included where you have other contact information in your regular correspondence. Maybe one of the things you ask your clients is how they would like you to keep in touch with them. Ask them if they are keen to connect on LinkedIn? If they ask you what’s that then you can tell them a little about the website.
Talk about LinkedIn more in your networking
Make it a point to talk about LinkedIn more to your networks. Get people in your circles to become more familiar with LinkedIn so that when you invite them it is not surprise to them or they ask, what’s this? Make sure that when you invite them, they do not lump this invite together with 10 other invitations they are getting from other networks. Sometimes people who are not very familiar with LinkedIn believe it is just another social network. I think LinkedIn is more than an ordinary social network; it is the largest professional network on the internet with more than 160 million professionals and growing by more than 2 members every single second.
Give your network an incentive to join LinkedIn
One way of getting your contacts to join LinkedIn is to share your success stories with them. Do you have any examples of success that you have achieved through the website? Maybe someone you met on the site that became a customer or even managed to get you business in some way. You might even know someone who has been successful in suing LinkedIn. Please do not make up any stories if nothing comes to mind. In time you will hopefully have your own success stories on LinkedIn.
Be patient in building your LinkedIn network
Be patient as you build your network. You are not going to build a big LinkedIn overnight. You might have a massive database of contacts outside LinkedIn but it might take time before you have managed to connect with most of these people on LinkedIn. Some of my contacts only accepted my LinkedIn invitations some months after I had seen them. That is just how it is. Some people will take time to warm up to certain things.
Bruce Mubayiwa a LinkedIn Coach working with individuals and companies to get the most out of LinkedIn. You can contact him here.