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|The 20-Minute LinkedIn Workout|
|Published Tuesday, October 28, 2014|
LinkedIn is like exercising: Put in the effort, and you will see results. And just like telling yourself you'll really go to the gym tomorrow, if you don’t make LinkedIn part of your daily routine, you won’t get to it. So instead of accepting connections on a daily, weekly and monthly basis with no follow through or occasionally looking at news posts or pages without comment, try this 20-minutes-a-day plan. You’ll connect with contacts, build relationships, improve your website’s search engine positioning, and create exposure and credibility for your products or services.
1. Plan for Success
Each day write out three key goals for your time on LinkedIn (sales prospecting, relationship building, finding a new job or building your credibility as an industry leader). Set a timer. Give yourself only one minute to get that on paper.
Time to complete: 1 minute per day
2. Make Visibility Key to Set Up
• Upload a professional photo of yourself (up-to-date, high resolution, and friendly as this is your first impression).
• Create a catchy headline to describe yourself, what you do and who you want to connect with. Avoid overused buzzwords like core competency and expert.
• Customize your public profile at www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings#. Be sure to also customize your URL and make your profile visible to everyone.
• Create unique titles for links using descriptive keywords that perform better in search results.
• Add your current position and at least two positions prior; emphasize your results, not your job duties. If your organization has a LinkedIn page, link to it.
• Include your complete education and volunteer experience.
• LinkedIn tracks the percentage of your profile that is completed. Once you get a completion score of 100 percent, your profile will be more likely to appear in LinkedIn’s search results, and in general search engine rankings (Google, Yahoo, Bing).
Initial Set Up: 20+ minutes
Managing future updates: 0-3 minutes per day
3. Build and Maintain Your Network
After the basic setup, start adding people with LinkedIn’s “Find People” feature. You can import contacts from your email address book, or upload a list of your contacts. Aim to find three people a week you know, and send them a short personalized message from LinkedIn. Once a month, introduce people in your network to each other, and they may one day return the favor.
Send invitations to people closely connected to your target audience as every time you connect with someone, you’re opening new network opportunities and increasing your profile rankings in searches. To do this:
• Find a great article and send it to one of your contacts who could benefit from it.
• When your contacts achieve a goal or milestone, send them a brief note of congratulations (LinkedIn notifies you when people in your network change jobs, get promotions, and achieve career milestones.)
• After a networking event, be sure to invite the new people you’ve met to connect on LinkedIn.
Time to complete: 5-10 minutes per day
4. Get Noticed
To build credibility for your personal brand and your organization, establish yourself as a leader in your field. Endorse others and write testimonials for those who have provided exceptional service. They will be more likely to return the favor. Post relevant and interesting content to your news feed, and respond to questions. The more good content you share and the more discussions you participate in, the more your brand and reputation will grow. When this happens, people will want to connect with you.
Time to complete: 2-7 minutes per day
5. Stay Informed
LinkedIn has become a popular publishing platform to share business insights. Make time to review your news feed and comment on information people in your network have posted. Tailor your news feed so you only see what’s most important. Get involved in discussion groups where industry leaders share key information.
6. Join the Conversation
LinkedIn’s discussion groups allow you to engage in specific topics of conversation. To do this:
• Join discussion groups related to your industry and pose questions to your colleagues.
• Join discussion groups related to the topics your target audience would be interested in to position yourself as a source.
• Submit articles, blog posts, important press releases and announcements to the discussion groups you have joined. This will further the reach of your content, establish your credibility and build awareness for your company.
• Don’t spam the discussion groups. Be sure to only post content that is useful and valuable to others.
Time to complete: 5-8 minutes per day
7. Connect with the Media
Public relations pros will tell you that improving your chances of being published in the media requires pitching story ideas that are relevant to reporters. LinkedIn can serve as the perfect platform for conducting research, making introductions to reporters and building relationships. Make a list of the publications you wish to target for future publicity. Follow their company pages, and pay attention to which groups their reporters are engaged in. Join those discussion groups (where relevant), and actively engage in conversation. Position yourself as a source of information, and answer any questions you can. When a reporter engages in conversation, be sure to provide as much information as possible, and let them know you’d be available as a source.
Time to complete: 15-20 minutes per week
8. Engage on the Go
Be sure to download the LinkedIn app on your smartphone or tablet. When you have downtime, you can check your news feed to see relevant updates in your network.
Time to complete: 2 minutes per day
Marlana M. Carroll is a digital marketing strategist with Grapevine Marketing, an online marketing and website design firm in Manchester. She can be reached at 603-685-4782 ext. 105 or Marlana@grapevinemktg.com. For more information visit grapevinemktg.com.
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