We all have a lot of LinkedIn connections. There is no lack of information online or off about how to get connections on LinkedIn, and any semi-serious LinkedIn user has amassed a list of connections well into the hundreds.

But here’s the question of the day:  What do you do with your connections once you get them?

Do you have any real influence on your connections? In fact, do you have any real connection with your connections? Or did you just send out or accept a request. How long has it been since you connected?

Gotcha didn’t I?

Unless you’re a remarkably well-disciplined sales person I’ll bet you’ve let your connections go cold if they didn’t show initial interest in your software or IT solution. That’s understandable. It’s hard enough to stay in touch with the people who actively show interest in what you’re doing.

But LinkedIn connections are just like any other prospects. Most of them won’t be red hot leads when you first meet them. You have to nurture the relationship.

So how do you keep people engaged and interested in you after the initial connection is made?

Here’s a technique we’ve found – when done right – allows you to engage and nurture a large number of relevant connections.

  • First, create your own LinkedIn group and seed it with high quality original content (I suggest starting with blog articles) and helpful, thought-provoking discussions Learn from my example. Join my LinkedIn group and see the type of information I share and the conversations I start.
  • Next, invite your existing relevant contacts to join the group. By “relevant” I mean the people who matter to you from a marketing or sales standpoint. You can read more about relevant contacts here: Why your LinkedIn Network isn’t as valuable as you think.
  • Then send a personal welcome to those who join your group. Encourage them to participate. Some sales people and tele-prospectors use this as an opportunity to make a “warm” phone call. They tell me the connection rate is much higher on these calls. If you don’t get an immediate response, you can use LinkedIn’s new contact management tools much like a CRM to remind you when to reach out.
  • Once a week, send an update message to your group members telling them about the discussions that are happening in your group, articles they must read at your blog, and a special resource they should download which will move prospects further down your sales funnel. This way, you keep group members engaged, you increase your website and blog traffic and you convert LinkedIn connections and group members into email subscribers.
  • Take the relationship offline. After your contacts join your LinkedIn group and see your content, invite them to a strategy call or networking call where you offer real value – no selling. This call is an opportunity to find out what specific issues or questions your contacts are struggling with. You can provide them with the content they need to make a more informed decision after the call.

Don’t believe your existing contacts are worth reconnecting with? We have a number of clients who have generated new business opportunities from just one message. In fact, one client who offers B2B marketing videos to technology companies recently submitted a $36,000 proposal as a result of our inviting their existing relevant contacts to join a special group.  Here’s the thing – the connection was our client’s former client. Our client didn’t have a process in place to maintain relationships with their previous clients. Chances are if another B2B video marketing company approached our clients’ connection first- our client would not have the opportunity to submit this $36,000 proposal.

You can’t let your current connections – clients, prospects, or influencers –  fall through the cracks. This is just one way to keep your LinkedIn contacts engaged and interested in you. If you’d like to uncover even more opportunities that you missing to connect with and influence IT decision makers, grab our FREE LinkedIn Special Report.