One of the essential elements to building relationships and establish yourself as an authority in your niche is to have a community.  People don’t buy from a logo or from a brand, they buy from those they know, like and trust. We can accomplish that by  engaging with the people who are part of our network.

Your community will “like, know and trust you”

You will gain all those three factors when you genuinely show that their needs are important to you, and they believe they are part of your community and finally feel  and know that they can trust that their needs will be met by being a member of your community.  However, many people miss the mark by omitting the sense of community when building their network. 

Be You

It is very important that you show up as you are, be the authentic person that you are. You will attract others with similar goals or beliefs as you.  These people will relate with you.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine in your posts and content. Keep in mind this is a professional network platform.  Don’t over share. (some people share a bit too much) This of course is different in each platform.

This is not Facebook.  Keep in mind that Facebook  is similar to being in your living-room and most people share way more personal information.  LinkedIn is your professional networking platform where you will meet the CEO that will give you the business  opportunity of your life.  (if you have not yet optimize your profile I highly encourage you to go to click HERE and learn all about optimizing your profile for success. 

Be consistent with your message throughout all your social media accounts and content.

Engage

A community is not possible without conversation.  This applies to both face-to-face networking and online networking.Click To Tweet

Don’t blast posts at your community – this will turn them away.  Relationships require give and take from both sides and conversations and engagement require two-way communication. (Think of it similar to a two-way street).

The key of a vibrant community is conversation and engagement. Keep it strong by placing as much importance on the conversation as they do. Show them you care.

Give your community a reason to engage with you. Provide them with content that they need and will find valuable.  Click To Tweet

Interaction can take the form of likes, shares, comments and messages. If someone takes the time to comment (good or bad), it is incredibly important that you reply in a reasonable amount of time.  ( I try to respond within 24 hours).

Connect with your community in other social media platforms they are using. Get to know them and their businesses.  Eventually take the relationship off-line.

Provide Value

Make sure that in every interaction with your community you share some sort of value. (something that will leave them feeling that it was worth their time talking with you).

It Is About Them

At the end of the day, people all think WIIFM (what’s in it for me) when they are looking at your content.

Think about this from their perspective. If they don’t find any benefit for them, they will most likely turn their attention away from you.  Ask them what they want to learn or discuss.

Depending on the goal, industry and audience, some great ways to provide your community with value is to create content such as:

    • blog posts
    • infographics
    • checklists
    • reports
    • white-papers
    • ebooks
    • videos
    • webinars
    • Podcasts

Give them what they want.

Never Send The Default Invitation

Create your personal LinkedIn invitation to begin with!  Always tell your prospective connection why you want them to join your network. People are more likely to respond to you quicker and in a more positive way if you tell them why you are sending the invitation.

Just think of it this way, if the majority of people send the default invitation (which most do) it feels a little like spam in your email inbox because now you have many invitations that all say the same thing.  Want to stand out?

Today, many people are connecting on LinkedIn from their mobile devices while they are out of the office. People are still hitting Connect right on the person’s profile and sending the default connection request, rather than taking the time to send a personalized connection request.

Take the time to write a personalize “custom template” if you will that will make them feel that you actually care and want to know about them as a person and as a professional connection.

Here is an example of an invitation I would send:

Dear Donna,

I am looking to increase my network by building associations with Real Estate professionals. If you are interested, I would enjoy having you as a new connection and someone with whom I can associate with in the future. Sincerely, Gracie Ruth

Follow-up With Previous Connections

Follow-up periodically and consistently depending upon the goal for a contact via a direct email which you can do now that this person is a connection.  Simply hit the blue “Send Message” button to the right of the persons picture in their profile. Ask a specific question based on your previous conversation, mention something you have learned about them or their company and ask how you might be a supportive connection.

The key in the follow up and most sales are lost because people never follow-up.  This is the same idea when building a network of trusted colleagues or potential customers.  You want to stay connected, give value to them by sharing articles or tips THEY will find interesting.  When you do this you build trust and relationship so when you are ready to ask for an appointment or want to take the prospecting to the next level you are not going in blind.


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