Social media is like a lot of things in the business world: What you get out of it is proportional to what you put into it. That doesn’t mean, however, that the effective use of social media needs to consume your entire day. In fact, short, focused sessions often can be much more productive than hours of unstructured activity.
Nowhere is this more true than on LinkedIn. Because it’s specifically designed for busy professionals, there’s very little clutter on LinkedIn, and users tend to be laser-focused on specific objectives or tasks during their time on the site. That means you can make a big impact in a fraction of the time it might take on other social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
How much time do you need to make good use of LinkedIn? There’s no one right answer, but it’s possible to derive some big benefits in as little as 10 minutes a day. Here’s how:
- Post a status update (one minute). Status updates are one of the most underutilized — and most powerful — features on LinkedIn. By mentioning what you’re working on, sharing something you’ve read that may be of value to others or simply offering some pithy advice, you’ll have the chance to make a small impression on your connections and remind them of what you do. Over time, these small impressions can add up to a big advantage for you when it comes to maintaining top-of-mind awareness in your field.
- Find one contact’s status update to “like” (one minute). When your connections post a status update, they’re hoping to get a response. By clicking “like,” you’ll show that you’re listening and that you value what they’ve said. That small gesture will serve as a small but meaningful step toward strengthening those relationships.
- Comment on another contact’s status update (one minute). What’s even better than clicking “like” on a connection’s status update? Leaving a comment that continues the conversation. After all, there’s no better way to show someone you’re listening than to add something new to the conversation.
- Click on “who’s viewed your profile” (one minute). In addition to showing others you’re listening to them, it’s worthwhile to see who’s paying attention to you. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to do just that when you click on the “who’s viewed your profile?” link on the homepage. What you’ll be able to see varies based on your settings and the settings established by those who view your profile, but in many cases you’ll know exactly who’s been checking you out. This might prove to be nothing more than a quick diversion, but it could help you understand whose attention you’re attracting. If you see that a prospective employer or customer has visited your profile, then you may be better prepared if he or she calls or emails you.
- Choose a discussion from one of your groups and comment (two minutes). LinkedIn groups can be a bit overwhelming, but a little participation goes a long way. Each day, choose one group that you value, find a discussion that interests you and make a comment — or start a discussion of your own. Check back the next day to see if anyone else has joined the conversation.
- Send a message to a contact you haven’t spoken to in a while (two minutes). If you only have time for one item on this list, this is the one to focus on. A quick glance at your LinkedIn contacts will likely reveal a few contacts with whom you’ve lost touch. Take a minute to send one of them a message, congratulating him or her on a recent success, share an article you think may be or interest, or just say hello. If appropriate, suggest a lunch meeting to reconnect and learn about what’s new since you last spoke. There’s no better way to use social media than to be social.
- Review one priority customer’s company profile to stay up to date with new activity (two minutes). In addition to staying in touch with people in your professional life, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening at organizations that are important to you. Clicking on a client or prospect company profile will allow you to see whether anyone has joined, left or been promoted at that company. You can also read status updates posted by the company (a relatively new LinkedIn feature) and see if it’s hiring. Any of these tidbits could serve as conversation starters the next time you talk to one of the company’s employees.
You certainly might benefit from spending more than 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn, but the actions suggested above are a good start. Use your time to participate consistently, take the opportunity to connect with others you value and you’ll likely find that it’s worth every minute, even when you only have minutes to spare.
If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage the power of LinkedIn, join me at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce Social Media Summit on July 18. I’ll present “I’m on LinkedIn … Now What?” and you’ll have the opportunity to hear other speakers discuss a wide variety of social-media tools and strategies. Click here to register.