Wisdom Wednesdays: Three Ways to use LinkedIn to Enhance Your Existing Relationships

by Anthony Juliano

As a fundraising professional, you’re an expert at building relationships.  However, there’s one tool that even some of the most seasoned veterans overlook when it comes to enhancing their existing relationships: LinkedIn.

LinkedIn tends to take a back seat to sites like Facebook and Twitter because it’s seen as … well, a little boring.  Don’t let LinkedIn’s stodgy reputation fool you: study after study has shown that it’s unmatched when it comes to lead generation, and it also has the highest concentration of members with the means to give — by far — of any social media platform.

Juliano-Anthony-webSo, how can you use LinkedIn to make your existing relationships a little stronger?  Here are three specific examples:

  • Participate in connections’ status updates.  When someone shares a status update, he or she is saying, in effect, “Here’s something I believe is worth your time.”  The audience — including you — can show its agreement by clicking like, adding a comment or sharing the status update, thereby demonstrating that you value what they have to say — and, by extension, that you value the individual who posted it.
  • Provide recommendations, endorsements and introductions.  LinkedIn gives you the ability to speak well of others’ work by providing them with a recommendation or endorsement.  Don’t do this disingenuously, but by all means, take the time to acknowledge connections who do outstanding work.  One of the best ways to reach your goals, after all, is by helping others reach their goals.
    LinkedIn also provides several means by which you can introduce a member of your network to someone else.  If you connect two people who can be resources to one another, you’ll get twice the benefit.
  • Sharing a common interest by way of LinkedIn groups.  When an important advocate has a specific interest, you probably pay a little bit more attention to that topic than you would otherwise.  LinkedIn can help here, too, when you join the same groups as those with whom you want to build a relationship.  Being in the same group as an advocate or donor allows you to glean insights about what motivates or inspires them.  Better yet, you can be part of the same conversations as these connections, giving you the opportunity to make an impression on them and add value.

It’s important to note that LinkedIn is no substitute for one-to-one, substantive communication.  However, when it’s used to bridge the gaps between real world interactions, it can make good relationships even better.

Anthony Juliano of the LinkedInstitute, and Vice President of Marketing and Social Media Strategy with Asher Agency, is an experienced LinkedIn trainer and strategy consultant.  He has developed and taught several LinkedIn classes, presented about LinkedIn at national conferences and provided LinkedIn training for a wide variety of individuals and businesses.  Anthony approaches his work with one simple goal: to help others understand today’s changing communication environment.  He will be presenting two sessions this February at the 2014 ALDE International Educational Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., “Building Bridges With LinkedIn: How to Connect With Your Advocates,” and, “Bridging the Gap Between Social Media and Marketing: An Integrated Approach.”

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Wisdom Wednesdays: Three Ways to Thank Your LinkedIn Connections

by Anthony Juliano

Juliano-Anthony-webThis time of year, nearly everyone — even unsentimental old cusses like me — gives some thought to that for which they’re grateful.  If you’ve had any success at work in the past eleven months, there are probably a few professional connections on your “to thank” list.

Depending on the relationship, some of them will undoubtedly deserve a substantial gift or gesture.  But what about the people you’d like to acknowledge without breaking the bank or overloading your schedule?  There are three ways LinkedIn can help:

1. Endorsements.  I’m not the biggest fan of LinkedIn endorsements, but they do have some value — especially when given to connections who don’t yet have many of them.  Being among the first to give a connection a deserved endorsement will likely stand out more than one given to someone whose expertise has already been well acknowledged by other LinkedIn users.  Those just starting a career may be good candidates for this.

2. Recommendations.  How do you properly thank those who already have dozens of endorsements?  Give them a LinkedIn recommendation instead.  Because it takes more effort to make recommendations, they tend to be better appreciated.  Look for connections who have zero or only a couple recommendations and take the time to acknowledge what they do well.

3.Introductions.  What can you give the LinkedIn connection who seems to have it all? Introduce them to someone in your network who may be in the market for their services or who may be a resource to them.  Choose “share profile” on a connection’s profile to make the introduction, or download his or her profile as a PDF and email it to someone else.  Either way, you’ll be helping two people in the same amount of time it would take you to help one.

The best thing about taking the time to thank your connections is that it doesn’t take much time at all — especially when you consider the potential upside in improved relationships.  It’s yet another example of how, as the saying goes, it’s better to give than to receive.

Anthony Juliano of the LinkedInstitute, and Vice President of Marketing and Social Media Strategy with Asher Agency, is an experienced LinkedIn trainer and strategy consultant.  He has developed and taught several LinkedIn classes, presented about LinkedIn at national conferences and provided LinkedIn training for a wide variety of individuals and businesses.  Anthony approaches his work with one simple goal: to help others understand today’s changing communication environment.  He will be presenting two sessions this February at the 2014 ALDE International Educational Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., “Building Bridges With LinkedIn: How to Connect With Your Advocates,” and, “Bridging the Gap Between Social Media and Marketing: An Integrated Approach.”