Usually this is asked with a mix of confusion, annoyance, and desperation. Online social networking represents a fundamental evolution in how we communicate – and it can be overwhelming. So how can you start using it in a way that helps you accomplish your work goals? One of the best ways to get acclimated to LinkedIn is to use it consistently – you want to make your social media use a habit.
You might be afraid that this takes a lot of time – never fear, once you do make it a habit LinkedIn requires just a few minutes a day to use effectively. Social media moves from something on your to-do list to something that helps you do your to-do list. Take email – when it first came along, you had to force yourself to remember to check for new messages. Now, it’s something you check without thinking many times a day.
Here are 3 things that you can do on LinkedIn in 3 minutes every day to develop the LinkedIn habit:
1. Read the Newsfeed.
You LinkedIn Newsfeed is an amazing aggregation of all of the activity in your network – it’s everything that your first-level connections are doing on LinkedIn! Not all of it will be relevant, but it’s worth a quick scan on a daily basis. Let the important pieces of information jump out and grab your attention. And if there’s nothing for today, that’s fine. And as your network gets bigger, you can save time by using the filters to only see certain information, like status updates or group posts. (I look at the status updates – listed as “shares” – every day).
2. Research people you are going to interact with.
Take a minute to look up anyone you will be talking to for the first time today. Maybe it’s a prospective client or candidate, or it could be a vendor or a colleague from another department. Take a quick look through their profile to gather any relevant information about them, including people that you both know or shared groups. Even if you don’t have any shared background, by knowing a little about them you can have a much more effective and impactful conversation. It can be as simple as saying, “I saw that you used to work at Company XYZ. Tell me about that!” It moves the relationship along more quickly and you can get on to more and better business.
3. Post a status update.
This remains one of the most underused parts of LinkedIn. Which is too bad because if it’s used correctly, it’s one of the most powerful. Take a minute to share information with your network. This doesn’t have to take long – in fact it should only take a minute (if you don’t know what to post, read this). The more regularly you post, the more more likely your connections will see it in their own Newsfeeds. Many professionals don’t use the status updates because they think it will take too much time… but develop the habit and you can share valuable information in just seconds a day. In fact, you’ll find that you are subconsciously looking for information to share; and when it pops up during the day, you can jump on LinkedIn and post it.