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Are you using LinkedIn regularly to expose your personal brand and articles in order to be seen as a thought leader and trusted adviser, who people will turn to for information and assistance? If so, how much time do you spend on LinkedIn and how do you use the time? Are you being productive and getting the desired results?
I have provided a guide in terms of where you should be focussing your time on LinkedIn to maximise the return on your investment in time and money (if you are a LinkedIn Premium user). The guide I have provided below is based on a qualitative rather than a quantitive approach.
The guide is based on the assumption that:
You have already developed your LinkedIn strategy. If you have a strategy you know the people with whom you want to connect, their business challenges your service will address, their job title or seniority within the organisation, the industry/ies you are interested in, the size of the company, geographic location, etc.
You have updated your LinkedIn profile to include a professional photograph, headline, summary, certifications, skills, experience, publications, additional information, education, honours and awards and volunteer experience (see the Bruce Kasanoff checklist below for advice on updating your profile).
You will have also set up your Advanced People Search (for LinkedIn Premium users only) including all the criteria mentioned above (i.e. job title, seniority, industries, company size, geographic location, etc), connected with relevant people within your target clients, influencers, people from the media, business partners, past and present work colleagues, managers and clients and asked for and received recommendations and endorsements.
In your strategy document, you will also need to have put together a plan in terms of what you hope to achieve within specific time frames. Using standard sales pipeline metrics, this will include targets such as initial connections names, engaged connections, prospects, leads, opportunities and customers. The sales revenue you expect to generate and the size of each deal will determine how many engaged connections will be required at the top of your sales funnel.
Daily timetable (Time may vary depending on your overall sales target)
8:00 – 8:10: Check the results of your Advanced People Search
Identify people with whom you would like to connect and send connection requests. (We are not covering how you should word connection requests in this article). Check connection requests that have been sent to you, accepting those that are relevant.
Check their profiles first to see if they are legitimate. Look for a photo, a reasonable number of connections, a decent summary, job experience, etc. Also check for people who have accepted your connection requests. Send a message thanking the people for connecting. Go to their profile and under “Relationship” click on reminder and set a reminder to send them a message in a week’s time (Reason – Follow up after connection). Also click on tag and tag them accordingly. (We are not covering how to tag in this article)
8:10 – 8:20: Check all your reminders that you set one week previously
Follow up with each of these people with a message, sharing your most recently published article on LinkedIn or your personal blog (We are not covering how to word the message in this article). If you do not publish, share an article you have identified that may interest the person. Go to their profiles and set a reminder to contact them in a weeks’ time (Reason – Invitation to subscribe to your blog or email).
8:20 – 8:30: Go to LinkedIn Pulse Analytics
Check to see who has liked, shared and commented on your published articles. If it is a 1st level connection, send them a message, thanking them for the like and/or share and ask them if they would like to discuss the content in more detail. Go to the articles and check to see who has commented.
Make a point of thanking them and replying to their comments. Again, send them a message asking if they would like to discuss the content of the article in more detail. For second level (or lower) connections who have liked, shared or commented, identify who is a potential client and send a connection request.
8:30 – 8:40: Birthdays, job anniversaries or a new job
Check your notifications for connections who are celebrating a birthday, job anniversary or a new job. Do not use the standard LinkedIn feature to contact. Rather send a LinkedIn message or send them an email as you have access to their email address on their LinkedIn profile. Do not ask for anything in this communication. It is about them, not you.
8:40 – 8:50: Updates and published articles
Go to your feed and check your connection’s updates. If there is anything that will be of value to your other connections, like and share the article. Before doing so, read the article and comment before sharing. Check notifications for connections and LinkedIn Influencers you follow who may have published an article. Follow the same procedure as described for updates.
8:50 – 9:00: Check messages
Check your LinkedIn inbox for messages that may have been sent from connections and Inmail messages that may have been sent from people with whom you are not connected. If you receive spam (i.e. unsolicited self-promotion) you may want to consider reporting and blocking the person.
9:00 – 9:10: Check reminders
Check your reminders for people you connected with two weeks ago. Send them an email, inviting them to subscribe to your blog or email newsletter. The reason why I suggest email is that not everyone uses LinkedIn messaging and do not check their messages, however most people check their email inbox. Provide a compelling reason to subscribe. Go to your reminders and set a recurring reminder to “check in” with the person. I recommend checking in every three months.
9:10 – 9:30: Research and publishing (when required)
Work on the research and writing of your weekly article to be published on your blog or LinkedIn Pulse. Remember that the more you publish, the more you are noticed, build credibility, be seen as a thought leader and trusted adviser and stay top=of-mind. It is up to you to decide how often you can publish however one article per week is recommended. Opinions vary on when best to publish posts however Tuesday morning appears to be a safe bet. Click here to access an infographic on the best time to post.
Bruce Kasanoff checklist
I have provided a checklist below (developed by Bruce Kasanoff) which provides advice on how to write articles and other great advice which I strongly urge you adhere to.
Call to action
Depending on how much time you are investing in LinkedIn, you will spend less or more time with the activities listed above. You will have noted that I did not include an action to send a message to any of your connections, selling yourself or your services. If you adhere to the rules above, you will not have to sell.
You must however do a good job of completing your profile properly. Your profile contains your value proposition. If you build credibility, your connections will read your profile and understand your value proposition. In your profile, DO include an invitation to connect with you. Do the same with all the articles you publish.