One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "How much time do you spend on LinkedIn each day?" I soon see through this inquisitive probing of my own personal LinkedIn habits and recognise that what the questioner is really wanting the answer to is, "How much time will I have to spend on LinkedIn to win new business because, actually, I'm very busy doing all kinds of other important stuff ?"
What Is The Number 1 Priority In Your Business?
If you run your own business or you're responsible, in any way, shape or form, for the growth of the company you work for, then your Number 1 priority should be to increase sales.
Take a look at your typical day - how much time do you actually spend generating sales? Let me clarify; answering most emails is not sales activity, nor is holding meetings (unless such meetings are sales focused e.g. coaching your sales team).
Analysing reports, delivering your business services or handling customer concerns, none of these activities will directly generate sales, no matter how important and necessary these projects and tasks might be. Sales activity is the act of positioning the solutions your company provides to a targeted audience, who are experiencing the challenges and problems your products and services solve.
What happens to your business, if sales do not continue to grow, even if they remain at the same level, year after year? How long could you or your company survive? Sales are the life-blood and future of your business, without them you will simply cease to exist.
So, let's come back to the question, at the top of this post, 'How much time do I spend on LinkedIn? The answer is simple; as much time as I need to, to ensure that I continue to grow my business.
Is LinkedIn Really Worth The Effort?
At the beginning of 2017, I delivered a training project for a large automotive client. This contract did not miraculously land on my doorstep one day, it came from a conversation I had on LinkedIn almost 2 years earlier, which led to a telephone call and eventually a meeting in London to discuss the project.
Some weeks later, a similar telephone conversation took place with the Head Of Marketing for another large automotive manufacturer. This call resulted in a request for me to provide a LinkedIn training proposal. Again, this was not an out of the blue enquiry. 12 months previously, I had written an article, which I published on LinkedIn. I responded to a comment, left on my post by a shared connection and soon this online conversation developed and led to me being referred to key decision makers at his organisation.
Whether it's a comment I've left, in response to someone else's post or the question I ask, when someone invites me to connect ("what inspired you to connect with me?"), or the occasions when I engage with someone who, for whatever reason, has chosen to view my LinkedIn profile, I can demonstrate countless examples, where these methods of LinkedIn engagement have resulted in telephone conversations, face-to-face meetings and ultimately sales.
But less about me, 'the LinkedIn expert', you'd expect me to achieve these results. What about others, like you, who hold down more conventional job roles, like the Vat specialist I met recently, who responded to a LinkedIn post and ended up saving her client £250,000 in Vat and was rewarded with a £25,000 consultancy fee. Then there's the debt recovery specialist who received a positive testimonial on LinkedIn from a happy client, which led to this specialist receiving hundreds of new profile views and connections and £300,000 worth of new instructed debt to collect.
'LinkedIn Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans'
Of course John Lennon, from whom I ripped off and slightly amended the above quote, was never a LinkedIn user - could you imagine him on Twitter?! His original quote, 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans' is however, relevant when it comes to using LinkedIn to create new business opportunities.
2 years ago, I attended a presentation by a successful entrepreneur, who has built several £1 million+ businesses. In the early days of running his very first company, he was struggling to find enough hours in a day to grow sales, when a trusted business associate, coach and mentor asked him to describe what the most important activity in his business was. The entrepreneur replied, "to bring in new clients and keep my existing customers". His mentor then asked him to explain what actions he had undertaken so far that week to achieve those outcomes? Feeling slightly embarrassed, the entrepreneur's reply was to explain that he had been so busy working in his business that he hadn't been able to find time to spend finding new clients.. Perhaps you can relate to the entrepreneur's predicament?
Your Daily 30 Minute LinkedIn Plan
How do you start your day? Do you wake up to an Inbox full of emails and begin to wade through them - does this activity help you win new clients or keep existing customers? Perhaps you have some invoices to sendt out or an important project needs your attention, which help you deliver the outcomes required from a new piece of business you recently secured? These are important tasks but they're not bringing you in new sales.
How would your business change if you allocated between 30-60 minutes each day, solely to finding new customers or keeping your best existing clients? What would you have to do differently - would you have to get up earlier, move your project completion to the afternoon, instead of working on it first thing in the morning? I know you're busy but as I stated earlier, if you don't make time to grow your business, soon you may not have a business and you'll certainly never have the type of lifestyle you really want.
What planned activity can you achieve in 30 minutes on LinkedIn?
- Search and locate targeted prospects on LinkedIn and invite them to connect.
- Send a personalised (pre-templated) response to anyone who has accepted your invitation to connect and respond with a thank you message to any who are relevant contacts.
- View any recent activity (published posts, updates, discussions) by LinkedIn members you'd like to meet with and engage appropriately with their posts - put yourself on their radar.
- Message your most important LinkedIn connections with a useful or helpful article you've published or one you sourced on the web.
- Use a 3rd party platform, such as Hootsuite, to schedule daily updates, for the following week, which will appear in the newsfeeds of your LinkedIn connections/followers, which demonstrate the value you can add to their lives or their businesses.
What should your weekly non-planned LinkedIn activity look like?
LinkedIn has an mobile app, make sure you install it on your smartphone. You don't have to be glued to LinkedIn mobile 24/7, as some people are, after all you need a life. However, during your working week, check your app whenever you have some 'down time' - maybe you're waiting to go into a meeting or sitting on a train for an hour or so then use these moments to engage with and grow your network.
LinkedIn's mobile experience will present you with frequent opportunities to engage with useful business contacts, take full advantage of these - you can respond to a LinkedIn message or an update from someone asking a question, related to your area of expertise. Perhaps someone views your profile and they fit your ideal customer persona, so you invite them to connect or maybe a LinkedIn user has invited you to connect and in the space of 60 seconds you could reply by finding out why they invited you (use your Smartphone's hot keys to create templated responses that you can personalise easily). It's these kind of non-planned interactions on LinkedIn that have worked for me and they will lead to new business opportunities for you also.
Why Being Present is Key To You Achieving Results From LinkedIn
Some of the most successful users of LinkedIn, who I know personally, are successful because they are frequently present online. Just as you wouldn't expect to see results from a networking group if you failed to turn up each week or from your telesales efforts, if you only pick up the phone occasionally, don't, for one minute, believe LinkedIn is any different - you need to be present to succeed.
Of course, you need not implement any of the suggestions I've made, that's your choice. You needn't make sales your priority by setting aside at least 30 minutes a day to find new clients or keep existing customers or use LinkedIn's app to nurture your professional network. However, it's important to recognise that your success in life will not come from simply being good at what you do. Success will be directly proportional to the number of quality relationships you create and nurture during your professional career.
Many thanks for viewing my post and would you please share it with anyone you feel would benefit from the advice provided. Do you need LinkedIn or social media training to help you attract new customers? If you do, check out my website here for details
of my SPRINT training programme.
If you have any questions on the subject matter you can connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message, or else you’ll find my contact details on my LinkedIn profile uk.linkedin.com/in/stevephillip
You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Linked2Steve