The best way to maximize the value of LinkedIn is to get into the habit of engaging with the platform on a daily basis. Now before you groan and say, “But who has time for that?” consider this: You need only invest nine or fewer minutes in LinkedIn to complete these activities, as long as you complete them on a regular basis.
- Update your status.
Every day let your peeps know what you’re up to using the LinkedIn “share an update” feature. Out of sight, out of mind applies to your status: if you’re invisible on LinkedIn, your name won’t come to mind when your network needs you. Not sure what to post? Go for anything that yields a “yes” to this question:
Will this be valuable to my target audience?
You might want to post things like a tip you learned today or a surprising statistic you saw somewhere or a link to an article or blog that your audience will find useful. Perhaps you think you don’t have anything to say every day – but you likely encounter valuable new content whenever you visit web sites or attend meetings. If you encounter days when you don’t think you have anything valuable to say, just skip that day. If you update your connections a few times a week, you can still stay top-of-mind without LinkedIn becoming your full-time job.
- Accept connection requests.
They build up if you don’t respond to them as they come in. Reserve some time each day to accept requests from people you’d like to include and to click “ignore” on those you don’t.
Not sure whether to accept or ignore? Establish your criteria in advance. I disagree with LinkedIn’s advice to only accept connection requests from people you know. That helps LinkedIn sell Premium memberships, but it does little to help you in building your network or getting noticed. Look at your connections strategy as a spectrum, from completely closed to completely open. If you’re not ready to become a truly open networker, establish some criteria that will allow people into your network who aren’t known to you but who will be valuable connections. You might establish criteria like, “they work in my field” or “we are in the same LinkedIn group” or “their profile is complete and up-to-date, and it looks legitimate.”
- Acknowledge connections.
If you adjust your settings (under communications, then basics) you will receive email notifications when things are happening with people in your network. This includes birthdays, job changes, and work anniversaries. Because this is happening in real-time, you want to reach out to your connections right away to send your best wishes. If you receive these notifications as daily emails, this will help you get in the habit of sending acknowledgement every day. It won’t take a lot of time, and it will have an impact on your ability to nurture your network.
If you aren’t already in the daily LinkedIn habit, and these activities seems a bit onerous, here’s what you need to do to make the habit fit into your daily routine:
Allocate a time limit to these activities. I say you can do this all in nine minutes a day. To create the habit and make the most of your nine minutes:
First, set a specific time of day. Just like most of our habits, when they align with a specific time of day or other event, it makes them easier to do and more likely you’ll do them. Just as you brush your teeth shortly after waking every morning, scheduling your LinkedIn habit for the same time each day will make it more likely to happen. .
Second, because you’re allocating just a short time to this activity, give yourself the space, quiet, and environment you need to be able to focus so you can complete it quickly.
Lastly, I say you can do all these daily activities in nine or fewer minutes, so set your phone or watch alarm for nine minutes before you begin. Then you won’t be looking at the clock all the time wondering when your nine minutes are up.