Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

Use This Free LinkedIn Assessment to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

Posted on December 14, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Are you ready to make 2015 the best year ever? LinkedIn to the rescue!

I’ve developed Forward to 2015 new year concepta quick and easy 20-question quiz to help you assess whether you are positioned to kill it with LinkedIn. In less than five minutes, you can add up your score and know just what you need to do to make 2015 the best year ever.

If you need more extensive help in any areas, I’ve included links so you can cash in on all the knowledge I’ve gained over the past six years as I’ve helped everyone from individuals to Fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn for maximum success.

Your LinkedIn Profile

1. Is your profile photo a recent, high-quality headshot? [score 5 points]

2. Have you optimized your Headline by using most or all of the 120 available characters and including your most important keywords? [5 points]

3. How clearly does your profile Summary explain what you’ve accomplished, what you currently do, and the types of people you would like to meet and connect with?
No Summary = 0 points
Somewhat (1 short paragraph, mostly historical info) = 3 points
Pretty good (1-3 paragraphs, current business highlighted) = 5 points
Excellent (close to 2,000 characters, keywords, clear explanation of what you’ve accomplished, what you do, and who you would like to meet) = 10 points

4. Does your profile include at least Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 10.08.32 AMone clear call to action? (See screen shot for good examples of calls to action) [5 points]

5. Have you included videos, slide shows, audio, or documents on your profile? [5 points]

6. Does your current job title entry include your most important keywords? [5 points]

7. Have you included your preferred contact information on your profile? [3 points]

8. How many recommendations do you have for your current job entry?
0 = 0 points
1 = 2 points
2-5 = 3 points
5-9 = 4 points
10+ = 5 points

Your LinkedIn Network

9. How many 1st level connections do you have?
0-200 = 0 points
200-500 = 10 points
500+ = 20 points

10. Have you clearly identified your LinkedIn connection strategy (what kind of people you want to connect with and how you’re going to find them) [10 points]

11. In an average week, how many people are you inviting to join your network?
0 = 0 points
1-5 = 5 points
5+ = 10 points

12. When someone in your target audience sends you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, do you send a thank you note that includes information about how you could help him/her? [5 points]

Your LinkedIn Groups

13. How many groups are you in?
0-10 = 0 points
11-30 = 3 points
31-48 = 4 points
49-50 = 5 points

14. In an average month, do you get involved in or post a discussion in at least one LinkedIn group? [5 points]

Your LinkedIn Activities

15. In an average week, how often do you post an individual status update?
0 = 0 points
1-5 = 5 points
6-9 = 7 points
10+ = 10 points

16. In an average week, are you sharing, “liking” or commenting on at least three status updates from people in your network? [7 points]

17. Have you saved at least one Advanced People Search? [10 points]

18. When people in your target audience show up on your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” list, how often do you send them a message or an invitation to connect?
Never = 0 points
Sometimes = 2 points
Frequently = 3 points
Without fail = 5 points

19. At least monthly, are you publishing a long-form article on your profile? [10 points]

20. In an average week, how many hours are you spending on LinkedIn?
Under 1 = 0 points
1-2 = 3 points
2-3 = 5 points
3-5 = 7 points
5-8 = 8 points
8+ = 10 points

What’s Your Final Score?

0-50  You probably either just joined LinkedIn or haven’t spent much time exploring how the site works. Get off on the right foot by picking up a copy of my book and concentrating on Chapter 19, Ready…Set…Go! A Six-Week, Two-Hour-per-Week Road Map to Results.

51-80  Way to go! You’ve built your foundation for LinkedIn success. The best thing to do now iStock_000016182060Smallis improve any parts of your profile where you didn’t score well and routinely spend some purposeful, consistent time on any activities where you missed the mark.

In the quiz you’ll find links to helpful articles and resources that will assist you.

81-110  You are in the upper echelon of LinkedIn users. You obviously understand the power of the site and routinely spend purposeful time doing many of the things that will lead to results. Focus on zeroing in on your target audience and making strategic changes in your profile.

111-150  Congratulations.  You’re in “thin air” in the LinkedIn world. You’ve mastered this challenging site and probably wouldn’t want to go to work without it. You may have even upgraded to a premium membership. I assume you’re seeing quantifiable results and have many success stories to share with coworkers and friends. If you fine tune your strategies by focusing on the questions above where you had less than a perfect score, you should see a steady improvement in your results.

Let LinkedIn help you make 2015 your best year ever. And don’t forget to pay it forward by sharing your LinkedIn knowledge to positively affect your company, family, friends, and your favorite nonprofit organization.

Get Organized With This Secret LinkedIn Feature

Posted on December 7, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

When I was a kid, my friends and I collected baseball cards. We would spend hours buying, trading, reviewing, discussing, and, of course, organizing them in shoe boxes. Boy, did all those shoe boxes drive my mother crazy.  Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 10.36.18 AM

But it was those shoe boxes and our primitive organizational system that made the cards much more accessible when it was time to find a specific statistic about a player or make that “big trade.”

As I reflect on this, I probably did a better job keeping tabs on my heroes (whom, of course, I was never going to meet) than I do with my collection of much more important people–my LinkedIn connections.

New Year’s resolution

In 2015, I plan to do a better job of categorizing and organizing my connections so I can more efficiently help a lot more people. That’s where the features included in LinkedIn’s Relationship section come in. No shoe boxes. Just some pretty useful features that most people aren’t taking advantage of yet.

The Relationship section is automatically part of Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 10.15.42 AMthe profiles of your first-degree connections. To add the Relationship section to anyone else’s profile, click the star below the person’s photo. This person will then be added to your Contact list. This is a separate list to help you track people who are not yet first-level connections.

5 ways to capitalize on the Relationship section

This section consists of five subsections. I’m sure you will find many creative ways to use them, but here are some simple ways to use them to your advantage. And keep in mind that everything you include in the Relationship section can only be seen by you.

1.  Note.  This is a perfect place to detail potentially useful information about the person, such as spouse’s name, important dates, hobbies, colleges their kids attend, favorite wine, etc.

2.  Reminder.  This can be used as a very simple follow-up system. Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 10.17.52 AMYou can have LinkedIn notify you to take a particular action with someone in your network in a day, week, month or recurring every week, month, three months, six months, year or your own custom recurring period.

3.  How you met.  Because I sometimes have trouble remembering where I met people and who introduced us, this works great for me. This subsection has places to include both of these bits of information.

4.  Tags.  These are like personalized file drawers where you can put people in self-defined organizational categories. You can create up to 200 unique tags. Once created, you can review all the people in a specific tag group and message them individually or in groups of up to 50 at a time. You can message first-degree connections for free, but you’ll need to purchase an InMail to message anyone else.

Because placing your connections into tag groups can be time consuming, start by taking some time to identify the tag groups that will help you most effectively communicate with groups of your connections. This might be geographic area (e.g., Chicago, Illinois, Midwest), title, industry, associations they (or you) belong to, customers or prospects.

You can also make tags that combine multiple tag groups. For instance, if you have tags for HR prospects, people who live in Chicago, and members of SHRM, you can make a tag for HR prospects who live in Chicago and belong to SHRM.

You get 200 self-defined tags. Taking time to set them up correctly will be time well spent.

5.  Connection communication timeline.  By clicking the circled “+” sign, you can review all the communication you have had on LinkedIn with a person all the way back to your initial connection date.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is pretty cool stuff. So why not join me and get your connections more organized in 2015. No shoe boxes needed.

Leave a comment and share any other creative ways you’ve used the Relationship section.

It’s that time of year here in the U.S. when many of us think about giving thanks for the important people in our lives. For me, it’s also a good iStock_000029336122Smalltime to reflect on how I can continue to help my favorite nonprofit organizations.

On several occasions I have taught a LinkedIn seminar that is specifically designed for the board members of nonprofit organizations. I show them how they can help their organization by leveraging their existing network and experiences.

7 Strategies to Help Your Favorite Nonprofit

Here are seven strategies you, too, can use to help the organizations you care about.

1. As a board member/volunteer, be sure to include information about the organization in your individual profile in order to help promote involvement, recruit volunteers or donors, explain the mission of the organization, or facilitate any other public relations or communication effort. The following are ways you can accomplish this:

  • Add the special profile section Volunteer Experience & Causes, and include not only the detail about your group but promote the general cause as well.
  • In the Experience section of your profile, Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 3.22.08 PMlist as a current job your title and/or involvement along with the name of the organization. You then have 2,000 characters to explain the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and needs.
  • Use one of the three websites in the Contact Info section of your profile for a hyperlink directly to the organization’s website.
  • As part of your Summary section, describe why this organization is important to you.
  • Write LinkedIn recommendations for fellow members of the board.
  • Use your Professional Gallery to show a Power Point or video about the organization.
  • Use your Professional Gallery to connect your organization’s blog or other web pages to your 
  • List the name of the organization in the Groups & Associations section of your profile.

2. Use the Advanced Search function to find out who in your network knows people at the significant foundations and companies in your marketplace.

The Advanced Search function is one of the top-rated features on LinkedIn. However, the problem you may run into is that some of the people involved in your organization at the highest level (especially board members) have these large and deep networks that you would love to leverage, but some will be reluctant to join and participate in LinkedIn. If you can persuade these people to build a LinkedIn network, you will be able to capitalize on their influential networks.

To assist the most networked people in your organization, consider hiring a social media intern who can help them connect with people on LinkedIn.

3. Use the Status Update Box on your home page or Discussions in groups you are in to:

  • Publicize an eventScreen Shot 2014-11-23 at 9.27.19 AM
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Share results and accomplishments
  • Ask a question of the group or your network that will help you solve a problem
  • Look for employees, suppliers, and/or vendors
  • Share articles and websites

4. Search for and join groups that are in and out of your regional market that appear to be in the same space or have a similar mission as your organization. Remember – you can belong to 50 groups on LinkedIn, and this is a great way to keep track of what others are doing, saying, going to, and sharing in your space.

5. Consider starting a LinkedIn group for the organization’s supporters, donors, and/or volunteers. You may want to have a subgroup in order to share information that is only pertinent to volunteers, for instance. You may also wish to start a group for an event you are going to have so you can share information leading up to the event and wrap-up information after the event.

6. Consider starting a LinkedIn group that focuses on the general mission and/or purpose of your organization. In addition to starting a group for Make a Difference Wisconsin that helps educate high school students about financial literacy, I could have a more general group that is centered around improving financial literacy for youth. This group could have a national or international audience. This will establish you as the clearinghouse for information relating to this topic.

7. Use the “Follow company” function in the Companies section of LinkedIn to follow similar or related organizations that have a company page. Then you will get updates from those similar organizations so you can keep track of what they have going on.

You’re now equipped to help your favorite nonprofit organization in a new way, and I’m sure they’ll be grateful for your assistance.

Have you found any other easy ways to use LinkedIn to help your favorite nonprofit group?

Do you know the difference between helping and selling?

Posted on November 16, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

“The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters now make all the difference.”

– Jay Baer from his book “Youtility”

What a great book. It really puts into perspectiveScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.40.47 PM the new selling/buying world we are operating in. Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy. If you’re an accountant or you sell real estate, there’s also a companion book available.

So, what is the overall concept of Youtility? Here are two excerpts from the book that summarize it well:

“The secret to your success is to be the most useful (fill in with your specific profession) you can possibly be and to value helping over selling.

“Youtility provides customers and prospects with massively useful, free information that creates long-term trust and kinship between you and them.” 

Pretty simple, huh? Just provide your customers and prospects with massively useful, free information, and you will create long-term trust and kinship.

I’m pretty sure we all know that trust and kinship alone won’t necessarily lead to a sale. We still have to deliver quality products and services at the right price. But if you don’t have trust and kinship, you won’t have a customer for very long.

Youtility and LinkedIn

So, how can you use LinkedIn for your very own version of Youtility?

1.   Connect with your customers and prospects. You can’t very well “provide massively useful, free information” if you aren’t connected to them.

LinkedIn Tip:  Use Advanced People Searching, Who’s Viewed Your Profile, Alumni, and Groups to find the right people. Be sure to use a customized invitation when you try to connect with them.

2.  Create a customer-focused profile. If you’re trying to use LinkedIn to increase your business, you should start by changing your profile to be about them (e.g., your customers, your prospects, and people who influence your customers and prospects) linkedin professional gallerand not about you.

LinkedIn Tip:  Use the Professional Gallery feature to insert helpful video, audio, documents or links to websites in the Summary and current Job Experience sections of your profile.

Consider putting specific calls to action in your profile that encourage readers to do something–for instance, view or download additional resources and helpful tools.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.29.50 PM

In my Project section, I share a link that will take readers to a form where they can sign up to receive free weekly LinkedIn tips from me.

3.  Curate great, helpful content from others.

LinkedIn Tip:  Find and share articles, checklists, whitepapers, ebooks, and other resources from other industry experts by posting status updates and group discussions.

4.  Compose and share your own content. The content should not only help your intended audience but also show your and your company’s expertise.

LinkedIn Tip:  Write your own articles and include themScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.32.23 PM in the published posts on your profile. Be sure to also share them via status updates and group discussions. Also, if some of the content you write appears on websites (your own or others), include details and links to those articles by using the special Publications profile section.

If you need more help executing your very own Youtility using LinkedIn, check out my online video-based training course “Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.”


LinkedIn Data Download: They Just Opened Their Vault for You

Posted on November 2, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Have you downloaded a list of your LinkedIn connections lately? Did you even know it’s possible to download it?

This extremely useful function has been available for quite some time, but most people have not taken advantage of it.

But the good news is LinkedIn recently expanded this feature, and now–in addition to a list of your connections–you can download lots of other valuable data from your LinkedIn account.

iStock_000025032550SmallNow, if you’re saying to yourself, It’s probably hard to figure out how to do it–and even tougher to know how to capitalize on the information–I’ve got good news for you: It’s very easy to do.

Just follow these four simple steps:

  1. Scroll over your small photo (or headshot icon if you don’t have a photo) on the right side of your top toolbar.
  2. Choose Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu that appears under your photo.
  3. Click the Account tab near the bottom of the page.
  4. Under the Helpful Links section, choose Request an archive of your data.

That’s it. Within 72 hours (twice I got mine in less than 24 hours), you will receive a file from LinkedIn. It will be sent to the primary email listed in your LinkedIn account.

Here’s what you’ll get

You will obviously find some of this information to be more useful than others, but I can assure you there are some real gems in here.

Account information:

  • Registration information
  • Login history, including IP records
  • Email address history and statuses
  • Account history, including account closures and reopens

Other information:

  • Name information, including the current name on your account and any previous name changes
  • A list of your 1st degree connections
  • Photos that have been uploaded to your account
  • Endorsements you’ve received
  • List of skills on your profile
  • Recommendations given and received
  • Group contributions
  • Your search history
  • Content you’ve posted, shared, liked, or commented on
  • Mobile apps you’ve installed
  • Ads you’ve clicked on
  • The targeting criteria LinkedIn uses to show you ads

In my opinion, the most useful information is the list of your first-degree connections. In that spreadsheet you’ll find first name, last name, current job title, current company, and–potentially the most lucrative information–email address. I’m sure you will find numerous uses for all of this material, but knowing you can have all these email addresses in one handy dandy spot is probably the best news you’ve gotten lately.

Don’t delay–go get your data now. And why not do yourself a favor and make a note to follow this procedure at least quarterly. You never know when you’ll need this goldmine of information.

8 Simple Tweaks That Will Skyrocket Your LinkedIn Profile Views

Posted on October 26, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Now that LinkedIn has given us new rankings relating to the number of people who view our profiles, lots of folks are asking me how to improve their numbers–and, of course,iStock_000049908928Small they want the solution to be fast and easy.

Before I give you the simple tweaks that will move the numbers in the short term, an even better strategy is to move the numbers over the long term–and start getting more views by the people who can help you achieve your business goals.

In a nutshell, your long-term strategy is to connect with your target audience and share great information, thereby nurturing the relationship and increasing your thought leadership status. Then, when they are ready to engage someone who has your expertise, you have earned your way onto their list–and hopefully it’s a very short list! For a comprehensive process to accomplish this long-term strategy, check out my online LinkedIn course.

Easy Ways to Get More Eyes Looking at Your Profile

In the short term, here are eight simple ways to get more of the right people viewing your profile.

1.  Make frequent changes to your profile.  Your connections will usually be curious about what you changed or added, so this one–if you don’t overuse it–works great.

2.  Share your thoughts in a group discussion that has lots of previous comments.  If there are lots of previous comments, then lots of folks will get notified when you make a comment–so make it a good one.

3.  Look at other people’s profiles.  When people see you’ve looked at their profile, it’s quite likely they’ll take a look at yours if your Headline suggests you might be an interesting person to meet.

4.  Post your own status updates daily.  This doesn’t take as much time as you think if you simply use the “Share” button on an interesting article you’ve read. Add a personal comment about the article, and you’ll get even more action from your network.

5.  Share, “like” or comment on other people’s status updates or published posts.  This isn’t quite as powerful as posting your own status update, but the time commitment is a lot less. It only takes a second to click “like,” and it’s an easy way to stay top of mind with your network.

6.  Put more of your most important keywords in your profile–and put them in the right spots.  For help with this, download my Keywords: The Key to Being Found on LinkedIn worksheet.

7.  Endorse people.  Not everyone is a fan of this feature, but it does spark lots of engagement–which usually results in more profile views.

8.  Include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, business cards, resume, and other social sites.  If you make it easy for people to find your profile, they’re more likely to take a peek at it.

It’s important to track your progress on LinkedIn, and the number of profile views is one of the simplest metrics to monitor. And when more people are looking at your profile, I’m confident your ROI will improve.

To learn about the other numbers you should be keeping an eye on, read “LinkedIn Metrics and ROI: The 10 Numbers You Need to Track.”

Get my FREE LinkedIn video series and ebook NOW!

Posted on October 19, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

This week’s LinkedIn tip is short and sweet–very sweet.

What I have for you is free access to my latest LinkedIn strategy series (including five videos, eight downloadable resources, and a 38-page companion ebook). This was doneMobile Linkedin sm in partnership with my friends at Stream Creative and sponsored by West Bend Mutual Insurance. It’s called Strategies for LinkedIn Success for Accountants.

Don’t let the title scare you away. The simple but powerful strategies and tactics are applicable to everyone, not just accountants.

The topics include:

  • Why Social Media?
  • How to Properly Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Leveraging LinkedIn for Professional Growth
  • How Much Time to Devote to LinkedIn
  • How to Develop a LinkedIn Connection Strategy

You can access the videos and download the ebook by clicking here.


LinkedIn Skills: Is Your Pantry Well Stocked?

Posted on October 12, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

When I was growing up, I worked in my dad’s grocery store. Near the end of the day, I would remove, refill and rotate merchandise and “pull the shelves” so they’d be full when we opened the doors in the morning.iStock_000015590542Small If we didn’t have enough product to fill the shelf, we rearranged the inventory so the shelves looked full.

What does this have to do with LinkedIn, you ask?

Well, I like to think of the Skills section on your profile as your pantry full of your most important keywords that I can endorse you for.

This section is an extremely important part of the LinkedIn search algorithm, and it’s also a great way for you to clearly describe your business goals and objectives to your LinkedIn audience.

Easy ways to stock your “Skills pantry”

Most people will spend only a few minutes looking at your profile. As they skim your profile, the list of skills is an easy way to quickly assess your expertise. Thus, you want your “skills shelf” to look fully stocked and in good order.

Here are four simple steps you can take to enhance your Skills section.

*Note: You must be in Edit Profile mode and begin by clicking Edit in the Skills section.

1.  Eliminate irrelevant skills.  If they’re not currently important to you and probably won’t be important in the future, get rid of them. Simply click the “X” to the right of the skill to eliminate it. Any endorsements you’ve received for that skill will disappear as well, but if it’s not “fresh stock,” it’s not helping you anyway.

2.  Rearrange your skills.  People are more likely to endorse you for the skills that are near the top of the list, so put your “freshest inventory” (your most important keywords) in the front. Simply click the words and drag them up or down.

From time to time you might want to “rotate your inventory.” If you have quite a few endorsements for your “top 10″ skills, consider moving some of your “second tier” skills to the top for a while. This should result in more endorsements for these skills.

3.  Add additional important skills.  By looking at the profiles of other people in your industry, you might find additional skills you should Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 6.58.16 AMadd to your profile. Check your competitors’ profiles for skills you may have overlooked.

LinkedIn will also help you find skills you may want to include on your profile. Simply type one of your keywords into the What are your areas of expertise? box, and a list of suggestions will appear.

You should also list your products and services, including specific brand names. When I was an office furniture dealer, I included the words office furniture, interior design, and Haworth (our main brand). They may not seem like skills to you, but they’re keywords that display your expertise, and people can endorse you for them.

Also, be sure to include derivations of your skills. Notice how I did this on my profile.Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 6.58.53 AM

I strongly suggest you fill your shelves up with your 50 best keywords. Fifty is the limit in this section–and usually when LinkedIn puts a limit on something, it’s a goodie. So take advantage of all 50.

4.  Review this section often.  Over time you may develop new skills, change your business focus, or develop a new LinkedIn strategy. Be sure your Skills section is up to date and displays your most important areas of expertise as well as the products and services you offer in your marketplace.

In summary, keep your shelves fully stocked with your best inventory. It’s a sure-fire way to keep your customers happy and coming back for more. And thanks to my dad for sharing this great advice with me so many years ago.

What do Batman & Robin have to do with LinkedIn?

Posted on October 4, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

I’m really enjoying the new TV series Gotham. It takes me back to my childhood when I was an avid Batman comic book reader/collector.United States Superhero Postage Stamp

But you’re probably wondering what in the world does Batman have to do with LinkedIn? Has Wayne finally lost his marbles?

Actually, I’m just fine–at least I think so–but here’s the connection.

This week I’m going to share with you what I fondly refer to as LinkedIn’s dynamic duo of lead generation features. Just like the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin, they’re great on their own, but together they’re much more effective.

So, come meet LinkedIn’s lead generation dynamic duo: Advanced People Search and Saved Search.

Simply put, these two features together will automatically serve you up an email list of targets who meet your defined criteria. I use the word target very positively. This could be customers, vendors, donors, employees, strategic partners, future employers, and experts, to name only a few of the endless possibilities.

How to get the Dynamic Duo working for you

Follow these simple steps:

1.  Click the word Advanced to the right of the blue magnifying glass on the top LinkedIn toolbar.

2.  In the criteria boxes, enter the keywords, job titles, company names, geographic areas, etc. that your targets would use to describe themselves on their LinkedIn profile.

3.  Review the list of people your search uncovers, making sure they actually look like people you’d like to meet, and see which of your connections already know these individuals.

4.  Click the words Save search on the top right of this list of search results.

5.  Decide what you want to name this target list and how often you want LinkedIn to notify you of new results.

From this point forward, LinkedIn will deliver to you–at whatever interval you choose and without any further work on your part–an updated list of your best and most qualified leads. And, maybe more importantly, you’ll see which of your connections might be able to make that all-important introduction to these potential customers.

For lots more highly effective but little-known advanced LinkedIn features like this one, as well as simple strategies for using them, check out my new online LinkedIn training course. Click here for more details.