I’m often asked by people how many hours they should spend on LinkedIn each day. The simple answer is I don’t know. The time you spend will be dependent upon what you’re trying to do. There are also different phases to LinkedIn (or any of the social networking sites).
When you first start to learn how to use these site they can take a lot of time. You’re starting from a knowledge base of zero. At this point you have a choice:
A. You can do what most people do and learn it on your own by experimenting. To really learn it though you’d have to explore every page, every feature, and search out for free information information and blogs. LinkedIn has a Help section that can answer many of your questions (though if you’re looking to move beyond classroom learning you need to find out how others have used LinkedIn)
This blog is a great reference for learning.
B. You can shorten the learning cycle by taking advantage of the knowledge of others. There are several books that will tell you the basics of LinkedIn and these usually include some examples. There are fewer books that actually talk about how people are using LinkedIn strategically. The value of purchasing a book verses reading a blog is that the information is likely to be better organized.
For example on this blog I provide a lot of help and guidance but each weeks post is based on what I’ve recently learned or what is interesting to me this week. The LinkedIn MBA, my “How to” and “What is” LinkedIn book, is organized based on the navigational structure of the LinkedIn site. It makes it an great resource to read or to easily refer to when you have questions.
So back to our question about how much time does LinkedIn require. If you choose to learn it on your own more than if you tap into others knowledge. Either way initially you will need to try and put a hour or two in a day, but with the books the number of days or weeks required to put in this amount of time will be shortened.
Once you’ve built your foundation of knowledge you’ll move into using it to move beyond connecting to collectiing (driving business). Once again this will require time to discover what works for you. In the LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula I lay out how I’ve used LinkedIn over the past year to drive business. There are not many other resources out there to help you do this so it will require some experimentation on your part.
Try to commit a minimum of one hour a day, but each extra hour simply puts you that much ahead on the learning curve.
JD’s comic this week is one that I know well. Since I have a real job (running my two insurance companies) I often find that I spend from 10PM to 1AM keeping Linked Intuition up to date with new posts and other activities. Coffee keeps me sane and moving in the morning. (JD actually sent me this cartoon at 2AM in the morning, so if you see him out in Chicago today buy him a cup of coffee.)J.D. Gershbein is the President of Owlish Communications, an Internet Marketing firm based in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Vernon Hills. When he’s not helping his clients shine on LinkedIn with custom profile writing and strategic LinkedIn training, J.D. creates cartoons and comic strips that make individuals and businesses memorable. He is the creator of the comic strip, The Handshake Club™, which features such notable characters as Will Banter™ and Brandy Share ™.