By Jack Hubbard
Dogs are amazing creatures. Taylor the Wonder Beagle arises each day between 5:17 and 5:27 a.m. for her morning rituals. The Hubbards have no need for an alarm clock. At 9:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. she sits at the front door for her walks. At 11:55 a.m. and 4:55 p.m. she is ready to eat again. Our director of barketing has taught us a great deal about habits.
Business bankers who use LinkedIn could use some success habits. I call it habitual social-ing. This simply means executing on daily, weekly, and monthly activities that when done well, provide a solid ROLTI—that is, a return on LinkedIn time investment.
Recent studies indicate top performers use LinkedIn in various ways about two hours daily. The average banker is on about 17 minutes monthly—quite a difference. When I teach a LinkedIn class or speak at a conference or banking school, the question I always get is, what could I possibly do on LinkedIn every day for two hours? The fact is, you don’t have to be. Maybe 20 minutes every day would be enough to experience a great return.
Check Social Selling Index. The first thing I do in the morning is check my Social Selling Index. SSI was made available to everyone in August 2015. It replaced the 2012 version of scoring which was called Sales Effectiveness Level on LinkedIn (S.E.L.L.). This tool allows you to see on a daily basis how effective you are in the four pillars of LinkedIn success: creating your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building strong relationships. You can access SSI through www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi. On a scale of 1-100, I always want my score to be above 90 and I am especially happy at 95. Once I get my daily SSI benchmark, I can then go about helping my network with ideas, content, and congratulations as well as connecting with the right people.
Time investment: 15 seconds
Review “Keep In Touch.” LinkedIn searches your first-level connections to find special days to honor. My second daily activity is to go through the 15 people (listed one at a time in the upper right hand of my homepage) to see who has changed jobs, gotten promoted, has a work anniversary, etc. I use one of four options to respond. If someone is having a work anniversary, I “like” it to show that I have acknowledged their accomplishment. It also helps my Google SEO. Instead of being one of many messages on their page, I click on selected profiles of people I know well and send a private message. It is much more personal and private.
Time investment: 2-3 minutes
Review who has seen my profile. This is also the last thing I do every evening—and I click on this 10-20 times a day. There is always a reason to know who is looking. Depending on the person, their title, etc., I may return the favor by going to theirs. Many times that results in a new connection, helping add to my network of like-minded people. I do nothing with my first-level connections who go to my profile, but I do make mental notes as to how often they click and what their title might be.
Time investment: 2-3 minutes
Check pending connection requests. In the upper right corner of the homepage you’ll find notifications of people who want to connect. I have five or six of them daily. If I know the person, I accept them without thought. If they are a banker from the U.S. I am likely to click them in. If they are not a banker or if the request comes from outside the U.S., they get more scrutiny. If it is a third-level connection, it is very iffy that I accept. If they are at the second level, I may accept based on the trust I have in the common connections.
Time investment: 1-2 minutes
Send personal message to my accepted requests. This is a small subtlety but a nice touch. When I see that I have new first-level connections, I craft a very short thank you note for connecting with me. I also frequently comment on something going on at their bank, the industry, their community, etc., to personalize the message even more. One banker in Indiana writes a short note in one of her bank’s fold overs and she inserts her business card. That goes into the snail mail box—another level of differentiation and personalization.
Time investment: 2-3 minutes
Create currency with content. This takes a little longer to execute but the investment provides sustainable mind share. Each morning I locate three articles. One deals with sales or marketing, one targets leadership or sales management, and the final one centers around training or HR. I find these articles through people I follow, like Tony Hughes, Mike Kunkle, Don Peppers, Jill Konrath and others. I vet each article for material that would be political, insensitive, or anything that could cause reputational risk. I then begin sharing each article with some of my 62 LinkedIn Groups—I also pick certain people out and share the content privately. There are great systems available to do this automatically but I am pretty old school and I like to do this one at a time. This process enhances my personal brand and provides lots of value as well. I watch who has seen, liked, shared and commented and the post on my homepage.
Time investment: 10 minutes to find and scan and less than 15 seconds to post to each group
Connect with new people. Sometimes I use a conference list or reach out to bankers in a training class. LinkedIn helps too by making suggestions as to who I might want to add to my network. Each day, including the weekend, (Taylor gets up early then too and I can’t go back to sleep) I proactively try to connect with 3-5 people. I customize connection requests to each person, always careful to reference a mutual acquaintance or how they met me.
Time investment: 1-2 minutes
Total daily LinkedIn time investment: 18-23 ish minutes
Post an article. There is a difference between sharing an article with a group and housing one on your home page—but both tactics enhance your own value proposition and help position your bank positively. That’s why once a week I post an especially relevant article on my page. LinkedIn allows me to track the number of eyeballs on it, the likes, the shares, the comments. I post on Tuesdays, between 10:00 and 12:00 a.m. (Central Time), which seems to be one of the better times for this, according to data I’ve seen. I also tweet it, put it on Pinterest, and post on our St. Meyer & Hubbard LinkedIn Showcase page. This multi-faceted approach targets different audiences at different times on different social channels.
Tag, you’re It. Under the My Network dropdown on your homepage resides a tab called Connections. There is lots you can do here, but one hidden gem is tagging. LinkedIn allows you to create up to 200 custom tags—words or short phrases that chunk connections together. This process allows you to segment your network into specific categories, which later helps you market to those key segments on a click. A tag might be CPA, CEO, CFO, etc. This is my early Sunday morning ritual, based on the connections that have come into my network the previous week.
Update profile. I change my profile every month. That might mean I modify or add to my skills, slightly edit my summary, or even alter my headline a little. Your profile is your 24/7 billboard and like a billboard on a highway, once the message has been up there for a while, it gets a little stale and people stop seeing it. Keep it fresh.
Become a publisher. There are more than 1.5 million regular business people who write and publish on LinkedIn. It’s easy. Submit a writing sample and once you are approved, you’re in. You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to do this. Just make the information timely, practical and relevant. I publish one article a month. Sometimes it is repurposed material from newsletters or other articles and white papers that I’ve authored. Leave all the commercials out. Your network will rightly punish you mightily if you start pushing products.
Is it worth 23 minutes a day to help maximize your personal and bank brand? Is it worth a little time in the evening or on a rainy or snowy weekend to share content and to better segment your opportunities? Can you write down your ideas once a month and be certain you continue to be relevant when someone is looking for a new banker and comes across you at 3:17 a.m.? Do these few things and your LinkedIn habits will become part of your sales DNA. Like Taylor, you’ll never need an alarm clock again.
Jack Hubbard is chief experience officer of St. Meyer & Hubbard. Jack has trained and coached more than 68,000 bankers, and is one of the industry’s most sought after classroom facilitators. Jack can be reached (and you can listen to his voice mails) at (847) 717-4328. You can reach out via email (his out of office message won’t be on) at [email protected]. Jack tweets @saleshubbs and he is obsessed with LinkedIn where you can connect and converse with him any time.
Online training in LinkdedIn from ABA.