Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to Effectively Use LinkedIn in Just 15-30 Minutes a Day

Whenever I present on the topic of LinkedIn marketing inevitably the question comes up: “How much time should I spend on LinkedIn?” While there is no black and white answer, in general, you should be able to effectively use LinkedIn about 15-30 minutes a day.  
Now, there are caveats. If you’re a job seeker or recruiter, then obviously you should be spending more time. But, if you are using it to market your business, or to keep your personal and professional brand in the forefront of your LinkedIn network, then it’s a great start.

The LinkedIn System
Is there a “secret sauce” to LinkedIn marketing? Well, as a LinkedIn marketing consultant I’d be crazy to say no, but I do believe there are a few simple things you can do every day to make LinkedIn work for you and your business.
My family and colleagues will attest to the fact that I’m not very systematic. As a matter of fact I have been compared to Dug – the dog in the movie Up! – Squirrel!
But, I have a system for using LinkedIn and most of the time I stick to it. You should be able to do the same thing, by following these steps:

1. Use the Homepage as your LinkedIn HQ
One of the time wasting traps that LinkedIn users fall into is the email notification system. If you set up your account so you get an email for every invitation, every group discussion, every status update, you will spend an inordinate amount of time on LinkedIn.
Go to your account settings and set it up so you get “Web Only” notifications. This will cause you to be more disciplined in your use of LinkedIn – and make you log on to the LinkedIn Homepage to access your notifications.
By doing it this way, you have a set place to go during the 15-30 minutes you spend on LinkedIn – a headquarters if you will for all of your activity.

2. When possible, log on the same time each day
When I work with companies on how to use LinkedIn, I always recommend that they log on to LinkedIn at the same time each day – or twice a day depending on your activity on the network.
For most, it’s once in the morning and once in the evening. But your routine will depend on your schedule and your workload. Notice I said routine. If nothing else, making LinkedIn a routine will cut down on the amount of time you spend on the network, and make the time you do spend on LinkedIn more efficient.

3. Start with a Status Update – Say hello! to your LinkedIn network
I’ve mentioned in previous columns the Status Update on LinkedIn and what a great marketing tool it is for B2B and B2C firms. Use it daily and what how your reach increases.
When you first log on to LinkedIn – post an update for the morning. You can always have them written out in advance (as is the case with company news or announcements) or link to a particular article you find helpful to your customers and network.
Make the Status Update a way of saying “hello!” to your network and be consistent – post it at the same time every day – or every other day. Soon, people will expect to see your LinkedIn status.  It’s a great way to promote your brand.

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