The weather is finally beautiful here on this Two for Tuesdays – low humidity and low heat, just the way I like it! 

Another thing I like, as you may know, is LinkedIn. Our first Two for Tuesdays post offered two tips for LinkedIn, and there’s so much to gain from it that I’m back to bring you two more! The first post focused mostly on what changes you could make to your profile, while today, we’ll look at what you should be doing in terms of your usage of LinkedIn.

Tip One: Make it Effortless

The first few years I was using LinkedIn, I had to try to remember to check it periodically. I was mostly reminded any time I would get an invitation from someone to connect (or if someone accepted my invitation), but otherwise, it certainly wasn’t at the top of my mind. I’d wager that that’s the case for busy lawyers and marketing professionals as well. 

I came up with a simple solution – in most browsers, you can set up the home page or pages you’d like it to open to when you start up the program.  It was a fairly easy process (which will differ from browser to browser), but basically, I opened up a number of tabs in a single browser window, to include every site I wanted to automatically visit each day – Facebook (our ILN group and company page), our LinkedIn group and company page, Tweetdeck, our Google+ page, and the back end of our website. 

Then, I opened the settings for the browser, and told it that upon starting, I wanted it to open the same set of tabs that I was currently viewing. So rather than having to remember which social tools to check and what parts of them I want to look at, each morning I have only to open my browser and take a few minutes to review each site. 

I highly recommend doing this for LinkedIn – perhaps there is a group or two with clients and potential clients, and you’d benefit from setting those up as individual pages to visit and check each day.  You can set up your home page so that you review your LinkedIn feed quickly each day.  You can also set some pages up temporarily, so that if you have a client meeting coming up, or want to keep track of a particularly client’s activities, you’re reviewing their company page on LinkedIn daily (you should also have Google alerts set up, but that’s a post for another day). 

The main point here is that we’re all busy people, and we should be making these tools work for us. Since your browser can already do the work of remembering what sites to check for you, shouldn’t you let it? It takes only a few minutes to set it up, and you’ll be on your way! 

Tip Two: Reach Out

As social media tools become more widely used, they are becoming less about connection for some people, and more about broadcasting.  To me, the largest benefit of social media is still the "social" side, and that means using them to build relationships.  LinkedIn makes this pretty easy for us.

Since you’ve now set up your browser to automatically open LinkedIn daily, your next steps are easy.  Take just a couple of minutes every day to review the stream on your home page, which is filled with status updates, anniversaries (work), and birthdays, job changes, news stories, and more.  

Scroll through this, and interact with a few people – it doesn’t have to take very long.  You can: 

  • Read a LinkedIn post that someone has written, and "like" it, or share it. 
  • Read an article that someone has shared, and comment on it, like it or share it. 
  • "Like" someone’s status update.
  • Congratulate someone who has changed jobs (and make note if that connection might be someone who could give or refer you business – maybe it’s time to take them out to lunch). 
  • Congratulate someone on a work anniversary, or wish them a happy birthday. 
  • Answer a question someone has asked. 

All of those things remind people that you’re connected to them – and let them know that you’re paying attention and care about what they’re up to.  Periodically, it’s a good idea to pick someone from your list of connections and meet them face to face – find out who you may be attending a conference with, or invite someone from your city to have coffee or lunch.  Relationship-building through social media does take work, but with a constant drip-drip of your attention, the investment is minimal.

Of course, there will be days that you just don’t have time to spend looking at any of this, and that’s fine too. LinkedIn will be there for you to come back to.  

As always, there are more than just two tips for making better use of LinkedIn. Try these two today, and see how much more connected you will become. And please add your own tips for using LinkedIn in the comments!