The single most common issue I come across when encouraging people to use LinkedIn is time….or the lack of it, so lets tackle this one head on.
How can you find time for LinkedIn?
Firstly lets put to bed the theory that you only need to use LinkedIn sporadically to achieve success…..you can’t.
For sure some people hit it lucky after a few isolated actions but to achieve long term success you will need to dedicate yourself to a consistent approach and this will involve some of your valuable time that is perhaps currently being spent elsewhere.
The first question you need to address is whether LinkedIn can work for you.
This will depend on your market but I am confident in stating that if you are in a B2B marketplace then LinkedIn can deliver some outstanding results provided you;
- Do the right things
- Dedicate sufficient time to it.
Doing the right things
People can waste a lot of time doing the wrong things on LinkedIn and it can also be a big distraction. Below is a list of my most effective LinkedIn activities;
Viewing relevant profiles.
The easiest way to generate leads on LinkedIn is to increase the amount of times your profile is viewed (assuming you have a great profile) and the most effective technique to gain views is to simply view others! The feature ‘who’s viewed your profile’ is unique to LinkedIn and very popular – it’s human nature to be curious as to who has looked at you so you can take advantage of this.
Read content relevant to your audience.
Subscribe to Pulse channels, follow Influencers, follow other thought leaders on LinkedIn & Twitter (wherever they are most active), subscribe to industry news channels and relevant blogs. Scan read each piece and build up a portfolio of interesting, evergreen content.
Post useful content.
Posting frequent updates will raise your profile and show your network that you are interesting and helpful. This can be your own content (links to blog posts or LinkedIn published posts) however it does not just have to be content that has been created by you. Share from your portfolio of saved content and re-post on several occasions using tools such as Socialoomph and Buffer.
Groups are very popular but people waste a lot of time as they get drawn into countless discussions in a wide range of different groups. All engagement has value but the most effective way to manage your group activity is to focus on just one or two groups. You may wish to join more groups for the many other benefits they offer but I would recommend focussing your engagement and discussion activity to just a few select groups. Remove email distractions by unsubscribing to all your other groups emails.
Engage with others
Look for opportunities to comment on other peoples updates and share them with your own network. This simple activity has the dual benefit of raising your profile and building stronger relationships.
Dedicate sufficient time
The above five activities will make a big difference to what you achieve on LinkedIn but they need to be handled in an efficient way to ensure the right balance between time spent and rewards gained. This is how I recommend you tackle it;
Viewing relevant profiles (approx 1 hour a week).
Spend just 5 minutes a day scrolling through your update stream looking for relevant connections who you haven’t have contact with for some time and simply click on their profile.
Use the ‘Connected app’ or the ‘keep in touch’ section to scan through reminders, anniversaries or job change notifications and click on any relevant profiles. This would normally take 5 mins max.
*Top tip* Initially conduct an advanced search for people that would appear to be a potential customer, save this search and set a weekly email alert then spend 10 minutes a week scanning through the new profiles from that email.
Read content relevant to your audience (approx 2-3 hours a week)
This can be a time consuming exercise so I would try to limit your time to 30 minutes a day (I do mine over breakfast!). Scan reading allows you to quickly discard many articles and save those that are relevant and evergreen. If they are not evergreen I don’t save them but schedule to share several times that week. Try using mobile apps to consume articles whilst on the move.
Post useful content. (approx 1 hour a week)
Aim to write one blog or published post per week, this becomes quicker with practice but you should be able to write a 500-1000 word piece within 30 minutes. The inspiration for subject matter will come from your reading. Using a combination of Buffer, Socialoomph and Coschedule you can easily organise and schedule your own and others posts to be shared several times over the coming weeks.
Group Activity (approx 30 mins a week)
You don’t need to respond to comments in a group discussion immediately so schedule 30 minutes each week to go through your key group(s) – remember max of 2!
*Top Tip* – Use mobile apps to keep an eye on discussions in dead time such as waiting in a queue or commuting on a bus/train.
Engage with others (approx 1-3 hours per week)
This is the ‘secret sauce’ of LinkedIn and is well worth spending time on. The simple task of commenting and interacting with others is harder to plan as it is often reactive. I would advise spending 12 minutes every morning scanning through your update stream, liking, commenting and sharing – the rest is reactive and the time required unpredictable but the more time, the better in my opinion!
So there you have it, I estimate about 8 hours a week but if that seems overwhelming then cut everything by half, find 4 hours (come on, you can do that!) and gradually build it up from there.
As I stated at the beginning, you can’t expect results with sporadic activity and it is also worth noting that it takes time to build trust online but if you stick at it…….great things can happen.