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.
4. Answer Messages and Invitations in a timely manner
Next, head to your LinkedIn inbox. Check to see if there are any messages or invitations that you need to answer. Do this in a timely manner.
What’s timely? My suggestion is within 2 business days, longer if you’re swamped or traveling. Your Inbox is the gateway to your network – new connections and current ones often use LinkedIn to keep in touch and you should respond in a way that will strengthen relationships.
5. Monitor Group activity
Finally, head on over to your LinkedIn groups – you should be a member of several, especially the ones where your customers live.
Take a few minutes to monitor the latest discussions. Respond IF you have something relevant to say, and add to the discussion.
Not a member of many groups? Take a few minutes each day for a week and research relevant groups, monitor their discussions and THEN decide if you want to join.
Again, find the groups where your customers live, be part of the discussions and show off your subject matter expertise.
What I described is a fundamental system for using LinkedIn. It can be modified depending on your marketing goals, or expanded to meet your needs.
This is not a full blown LinkedIn marketing program, but it is a way to get a handle on your basic LinkedIn activity.
One thing I truly appreciate about LinkedIn is that it can be customized to the person or organization using the network. Do so. Take some time setting up a system that works best for you, and use the tools within LinkedIn to work that system.
Any social network can be a maze of cool features and “bright shiny objects” By having a system, you can efficiently – and effectively use LinkedIn in just 15-30 minutes a day.
If you have questions on LinkedIn, send them to me and I’ll endeavor to answer them in future columns. Want to connect on LinkedIn? Send me an invite and I’ll gladly accept your invitation!
Stay Well, Stay Connected, Always Pay it Forward!