Business owners often look for short cuts to doing anything (one myself I can understand that). So, I’m often asked “what’s the least I can do on LinkedIn”.
I have to presume that they want to get some business benefit!
LinkedIn is totally pointless
You can’t get anything worthwhile from LinkedIn, or any other Social Media, unless you’re clear on:
- your objectives
- who you need to connect with, to achieve them
- which platform (e.g. LinkedIn) they use
Without the answers to those, using LinkedIn is pointless.
LinkedIn: What’s the least I can do?
Great question, but without knowing your objectives I can’t answer it. So, work down this list, till you run out of time.
- Set your LinkedIn goals. Are you looking to create sales, maintain and develop strategic relationships, just connect with people and ensure those who check you are think you’re credible? Each leads you to different things to focus on doing. Also consider your target audience, you can market far more effectively to a well-defined audience. What is the £ value of those goals?
- Sort out your profile. Ensure your profile, including picture, summary, professional headline, and back-links all build your professional credibility (in the eyes of your target audience). An effective profile needs you to answer question 1 first. You might now choose to do nothing else on LinkedIn. You won’t develop much business from it, but will support any other marketing activities you do and if somebody does a Google search for you, you won’t be embarrassed.
- Connect with relevant people. Connecting with clients, ex-clients, networking contacts and others that you know is the next most time efficient things to do.
- Talk to your contacts. Talking to them is the only way to get any value from the connections. Status updates, periodic messages to them, comments on their updates, or thanking them for endorsements they give you. These are all ways of keeping in touch with valued contacts. Don’t bother with everybody though!
- Grow your contact base. Get known in your area for your viewpoints and expertise. By doing so you’ll be able to connect with other potential clients. By contributing to LinkedIn groups others may ask to connect with you, that’s OK. Just don’t fall into the trap of asking the silly question(see below). Remember there is no point in growing your contact base of valuable people, if you don’t talk to them!
There are three types of groups that you might want to join:
- Groups with your target clients (grow your contact base and eventually sell more)
- Groups with your professional peers (discuss things of relevance, learn and perhaps increase your standing among your peers).
- Groups of people you know and like to keep up with, like alumni groups. Largely you’ll join these for gossip.
How many groups depends on how much time you have. How much time depends on your objectives!
If your objective was to meet new potential clients (like a networking meeting), start with 30 minutes a couple of times a week working in 5 groups containing my target audience.
The Silly question
I often get asked “what should I do with all these connection requests”. It’s the wrong question to ask, so save your time.
The right question is “who do I need to connect to and what will I do with them”. So go find them, talk to them and develop your relationship off of the page.
So, what will you do with LinkedIn, to ensure it’s not a pointless exercise?