One of the questions I am asked most often is about how to manage relationships when we’re all so busy – and we are ALL so busy these days!

LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals (even lawyers!) to employ to efficiently and effectively develop relationships without a huge time investment. Yes, like with any social media, you have to be somewhat diligent about not getting sucked in to it and losing time, but with some time management safeguards in place, it’s possible to maximize your use of it without wasting your efforts.

Make Your Use of LinkedIn Effortless

My guess is that using LinkedIn isn’t top of mind for you, and that’s fine. For most of us, unless something is part of a habit or ritual for us, we have to work extra hard to make sure that it happens. I’m not trying to add to that burden by suggesting you try to remember to check LinkedIn, so let’s try two small changes that allow you to use it more regularly:

  • First, 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. This will differ from browser to browser, but my tip for you is to make one of your startup pages LinkedIn, so that each morning when you start up your browser, it’s already there for you. Perhaps there is even 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 as well. You can set up your home page so that you can review your LinkedIn feed quickly each day. You may even want to set up some pages temporarily, so that if you have a client meeting coming up, or want to keep track of a particular client’s activities, you are reviewing their company page on LinkedIn daily.
  • Second, if you haven’t already, download the LinkedIn app for your phone. It’s a very robust and easy-to-use app, and you can start to make it a best practice to check the app any time you’re waiting somewhere in line. Waiting for coffee? Check your notifications. Waiting for the elevator? Look at new connections. Waiting for the train? Look through your feed.

We’re all busy people, so we should be making these tools work for us. It only takes a few minutes to do the above, and then you’ll be on your way!

Reach Out

Although we ARE all busy people, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine when someone uses it as an excuse – essentially, what they’re saying is that they don’t prioritize you. In some cases, that’s fine, but when it comes to your clients, potential clients, as well as others you may want to be building relationships with, such as amplifiers, influencers, and referral sources, that is NOT the message you want to be sending (even if you feel that it’s true).

LinkedIn makes the social side of their site/app pretty easy for us, and you don’t have to invest a lot of time in it to be getting a lot out of it. Now that you have the site set to automatically open on your browser, and you’re reviewing it on your phone whenever you have some waiting time, you can scroll through to interact with your connections:

  • Read a LinkedIn post that someone has written and “like” 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 someone may be able to give or refer you business – it might be time to call them up to ask them to lunch).
  • 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.

If you tend to be someone who might get lost in scrolling, reading and commenting, then set a timer for ten minutes or so, and when the timer is up, close out of LinkedIn and move on. And of course, there will be days that you 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.

Although using LinkedIn to broadcast your own news and expertise can be valuable, it is equally (if not more, in some cases) essential to leverage your relationships through your LinkedIn connections by actively engaging with them. This doesn’t have to take a tremendous amount of time or effort, if you handle it strategically.