by Paul Copcutt of  www.squarepegsolution.comLI Logo

When was the last time you enjoyed spending time on LinkedIn? If you are going to invest anytime, on any social network, surely there has to be an element of fun, doesn’t there?

I first joined LinkedIn several years ago it was all new, interesting, the fun of finding people you knew and connecting there. As more networks launched and time available reduced many of them started to be more of a chore. But that was more my issue than anyone elses.

So when LinkedIn told me last month that my profile was one of the top 1% viewed last year it got me thinking, how can that be? So I started a 30 day Linkedin experiment to really try and understand what all the fuss was about!

I am now about one third of the way along and it has certainly been more fun again. Some immediate benefits I gained were;

1. It has given me the impetus to actively go to my network, understand more about them, ask how I can help and ultimately create stronger relationships. This I see as being formed in to a habit over time.

2. I spent some time going through my profile and ensuring it was more in line with how I wanted to be known. More work coming in that area.

3. I really had not enjoyed interacting in many of the groups I belonged to. In analysing why that was it was a number of factors including belonging to low activity groups, poor topics, bad moderators, being with similar service professionals more interested in promotion than anything – it was more a case of who could shout the loudest.  Leaving those groups and looking for more like minded professionals and others in my target groups has involved more time but generally much more enjoyable interactions.

As you consider your own version of a 30 day LinkedIn experiment these initial benefits are a good start and reason to do it and find you too can start to enjoy using the tool again.

Three things you are going to want to ensure you do so you really do enjoy your time on LinkedIn;Young professional smiling with a laptop in his hand

1. Clearly identify what it is that you are looking to get from the time you invest here. You want to set an overall expectation, even a mantra or statement that keeps you on track, both in terms of information coming out to you and when you jump in to the various areas such as groups or reaching out to connect.

2. Add some measurable goals so you can track how effective your experiment is and know when it might be time to tweak or make some more wholesale changes. Include in here how much time you plan to invest, 15 minutes a day might be enough but likely you are going to want to spend one day a week with a little more.

3. Ensure your profile is a strong reflection of you and your personal brand as well as how you want others to know you. Keep #2 in mind so that as potential connections look at your profile they see a logical reason to want to say yes to an invitation.

As you will see from some of the other blog posts on this subject, I made some wholesale changes in the first week, hence the leap in some figures.

These were the measurements I could easily track and share. Starting on March 1st to March 11th

Number of connections: 2,210  to 2,222

Reach of 1st, 2nd & Group Members: 1,130,819 to to 3,153,444

Profile Viewed in last 3 days: By 7 people to 45 people

Profile showed up in searches: 27 times in last 3 days to 62 times

Total views over last month (rolling number) 289 to 348

Appeared in searches (rolling number) 2159 to 2646

Groups: 22 to 17

Companies Followed: 4 to 805

Recommendations: Coaching – 110 to 111, Personal Branding – 108 to 109, Entrepreneurship – 54 to 61, Career Management – 51,  Career Development – 49, Public Speaking – 48

We will see how it goes. If you feel there are other measurements that would be worthwhile I would love to hear suggestions as well as any other thoughts and comments as the experiment unfolds.

Paul Copcutt is the Personal Brand Architect who helps large company executives and employees stand out and advance their careers by getting them to Act Entrepreneurially, Think Corporately. His LinkedIn profile was one of the top 1% viewed in 2012 and he is running a 30 day experiment to really understand what that means. You can follow his  online laboratory on his blog here.