I think that most people will agree that it’s important to have goals, both in terms of your business and indeed your personal life. Without them, it can be all too easy just to meander along without any clear direction or impetus – as the old adage goes, “if you don’t know where you’re going , any road will take you there”. [Aside: we had a slightly different turn of phrase for that where I grew up in Suffolk, but I’ll save that for another day!]
Certainly in business, planning is important if you want it to be as successful as it should be, particularly given the effort that you are putting into it. This doesn’t have to be a strategic 12 month or 3 year plan (though they do help … allegedly!), it can simply be setting a few key targets at the start of each month or year. Likewise, I feel that any marketing or business development actions that I take should also be designed with their specific goals in mind.
Does this apply to LinkedIn?
For me, planning your participation on LinkedIn falls fairly and squarely into this category. Particularly within a B2B environment, it is likely to be a key component of your online marketing strategy. It is therefore necessary to ensure that you use your time and efforts effectively – from personal experience I know it’s all too easy to go onto the site to do one thing and, having followed a few interesting links and checked some profile, spent half an hour on there and totally forgotten why I was there in the first place! Admittedly, that could simply be a “senior moment” on my part of course!!
The strategy that you employ for LinkedIn will need to revolve around your aims and expectations for the time you invest on the platform and ideally should include how you intend to go about it and achieve those goals.
Where does this impact
This will impact on a large number of areas and indeed each part of activity on the site from your profile through to the way you accept invitations from others should support that strategy. As a result, it is always going to impact:
- how you develop your profile in terms of the information that it contains, the tone of what you’ve written as well as the keywords that you use because of its impact on the internal LinkedIn search and your Public Profile’s position in Google;
- the mix of people that you connect with and whether you take a “quality” or “quantity” approach to your online networking;
- your selection of groups you choose to participate in, the ways in which you choose and vet them and how you participate there along with the type and frequency of information you provide;
- what are the security and display settings that you decide to adopt;
- the type of information that you share via your Updates and how often you do so;
- the ways in which you would like to develop your company page and the new services / products section
- the decision of how best to connect other online places such as blogs, Twitter etc using the Applications available to make best use of the content you have around the net;
- how much time to spend on the site and on which elements
We’ll go into some of these areas in more depth over the coming weeks but for now suffice to say that your decision on the way in which you want to use LinkedIn and the purpose you want to put it to will dictate the emphasis that you put on the different areas.
Equally, from a company perspective, it is important that there is a coordinated effort across all of the members of the team so that there is as little overlap as possible and hence the company is represented as widely as possible and yet still in a coherent way. I think that that probably deserves a post on its own though.
All in all
So, like in so much in business, start with what you goals are and then work backwards and you’ll have them in mind as you do so. As for me, I have a small post-it note stuck to my monitor screen reminding mine what they are … just in case I might stray from the straight and narrow!