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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 8.47.41 PMA lot of people ask me how long should they be spending on Linkedin? I tell them that they are asking the wrong question. They should instead ask themselves “What am I trying to achieve?”.


It’s an important distinction, replacing time with a goal will help to narrow your focus on all Social Media channels, not just LinkedIn, and if you achieve what you set out to do, then time will take care of itself. Let me demonstrate this important concept with a few real-world examples.


If you’re a job hunter, your ultimate goal is to score an interview. The ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ mantra is made for LinkedIn. Somewhere, within the Linkedin ecosystem, someone is capable of getting you that interview. The problem is (a) knowing who that decision-maker is and (b) persuading them to grant you that opportunity. To achieve this particular goal, you spend as much time as it takes to get to (a). Once you figure out who can get you the interview. You don’t go direct to the decision-maker because chances are they don’t know you from Adam. But if they DID know you from Adam, who is either a colleague of theirs or a trusted referrer, then your chances of scoring that interview just improved from zero to 50%. Your chances increase above 50% if the person referring you (1) does a great job of referring you and (2) the decision-maker genuinely trusts and rates the referrer. Other things you can do to improve your chances of getting an interview: (1) customize your profile to ensure that there is a great fit for the role (2) pick a referrer who is senior/experienced and motivated to help you.


If you’re a business development professional, a similar approach to the one outlined above, will also work. Essentially, you need to get to the decision-maker and then do everything possible to get through the door.


If you’re not a job hunter and happy where you are, I’d recommend a different approach which can be summarized as ‘hedging LinkedIn’. You may be the happiest employee in the world; you love your job and your boss thinks you’re superstar. My advice: don’t get too comfortable, change is the new norm in corporate America, everyone can be replaced or eliminated. You need an insurance policy, you need to prepare for plan ‘B”. Fortunately for the prepared, LinkedIn provides networking options which will speed your entry into your next role. If you spend time cultivating relationships with people in your industry and spend your time helping others, your next gig will come sooner rather than later. If on the other hand, you are anonymous on LinkedIn, or you don’t command your brand, you face an uphill start in getting that next job. Make sure that your Profile is 100% complete, that you are not only in groups that make sense for your career but that you contribute to the Discussions in those groups on a weekly basis. If someone asks you for an introduction or asks for help on LinkedIn, then help them within 3 hours of receiving the request. If you do this and follow up with them within 2 weeks, they will never forget you. ‘Hedging LinkedIn’ equates to looking and acting great professionally and building a multitude of alliances which could come in very handy when life deals you an unexpected hand. The best way to deal with professional uncertainty, is to ensure you have as many options as possible. When that change comes along, you need to be able to re-assert yourself and take control.


If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you. Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.


Contact me now: / 773.469.6600 to get started.


That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.

By Andy Foote