Just as people approach ‘real-life’ networking in different ways, the same can be said for LinkedIn. When we network we take the time to get to know who we are talking to. This helps create a relationship and builds trust, even a friendship. The same goes for LinkedIn. We use LinkedIn to network. Just as with networking, we want to know who about the person we are connecting with, what they like and what they don’t like.  We do this by asking questions.

However, some people (and we have all met them) treat networking as a way of thrusting their business card into someone’s hand. The same is approach is then used on LinkedIn. They send out multiple connection requests just so more and more people have their ‘business card’ online.

But does this really work? For us, LinkedIn is a great way of networking and building relationships. These relationships can then lead to sales for us because we are building up trust with every message.

When we get a connection request on LinkedIn we send a message. We ask the person who they are, why they have chosen to connect with us and the sort of posts they would like to see from us. We can then make sure we share content they want to engage with.

However, this doesn’t always go to plan – as we found out with Toni recently.

So, we send the same sort of message 3 times over a period of a few weeks. This is a great way of finding out if the person really wants to connect with us, how often they use LinkedIn and if it’s just a numbers game. The intro message also gives us a chance to weed out some ‘strange’ people. So we sent Toni a few messages, this was the one she responded to;

Hazel: Good Morning, Hope you’re well? Are things starting to become more normal for you? Thank you for the connection request. What was it that attracted you to my profile? Hazel

Toni: Hello, Hazel. Thank you for your message. I just wanted to connect?

Hazel:  Brilliant, what was it that made you chose to connect with it.

(Toni read the message but didn’t reply)

Hazel: ?

Toni: Hello Hazel Don’t understandably the question mark?

Hazel: I asked you a question? 🙂

Toni:  Does it really matter? You want to connect or not? I can’t do long justifications – repeat pointless questions …..who has the time?

Hazel: It only matters because it’s nice to get to know each other, what they like and dislike then I can make sure I post the sort of posts you like. I use LinkedIn for networking. For me, asking questions is part of networking

Toni: But I answered already this is the third time you have asked me the same question …..

Hazel: You said “I just wanted to connect”

Toni: Isn’t that good enough? Do you need a detailed explanation? Really

Hazel: If you had responded to the question the 1st time I wouldn’t have asked it 3 times 🙂 If I don’t know the posts you like or the information you’re looking for, how do I know if I’m posting the right things for you? Sorry, I guess we network differently. I like to know who I connect with to build relationships. How do you network?

Toni: I have removed you as a connection so I can be saved from justifications and consistent pointless questions

So, as you can see using LinkedIn to network in this way hasn’t worked with this person. But is that really a problem? As you’ll know from previous blogs and presentations, we strongly believe that people buy people. By building a relationship you gain trust and this often results in excellent working relationships. We would rather connect with people that want to engage and network.

How about you; are you using LinkedIn to network or are you more like Toni?