Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

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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.  

In Life and on LinkedIn, Saying “Thank You” Can Take You a Long Way

Posted on September 28, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Making the right connections on LinkedIn is one of the keys to success. In the past I’ve written about who you should connect with, why you should connect with them, and how to best find great connections on LinkedIn. You can find links to those articles below.

But this week I want to reinforce something your mom taught you–writing thank-you notes.


It’s time to dust off that time-proven technique, and not just because it’s good etiquette but because it’s good business too.

When to send a thank-you note

Some people are adding dozens of people to their LinkedIn network each week, and sending a personal note to each person may not be possible. But, at the very least, I suggest sending a thank-you note when:

1.  You accept an inbound connection request from someone who meets one of your most important strategic connection criteria

2.  Someone accepts your outbound connection request

You have their attention; so don’t miss this opportunity to send them a note. It may encourage them to give you a call or consider you next time they need whatever product or service you’re offering.

They invited you to join their network

In this case your response can be somewhat standard, but it may be advantageous to mention something the person said in his/her invitation to you.

Here’s what I typically say:

Hi (insert first name):

Thanks for the invitation to connect, and welcome to my network. 

I look forward to helping you with your LinkedIn strategy and tactics. To get started, let me know if you would like to begin receiving my free weekly email of LinkedIn strategies and tips. 

Take care. 


You invited them to join your network

In this case the note should be totally customized, depending on why you extended the invitation in the first place.

Say “thanks” and mention a next step the person could take. Here are a few easy ways to spark engagement:

  • Include a link to download a helpful resource or an archived or upcoming webinar
  • Suggest a time for a phone call or meeting
  • Share a reason to check out a section of your website

You get the idea.

Does this take extra time? You bet. Will it be worth the effort? Without question. I add twenty to thirty people to my mailing list each week by following these steps–and some of them have become clients.

LinkedIn is so much more than a social media site you should check occasionally. It’s a powerful tool to help you grow your business. And if you can make money AND make your mom proud, I say go for it!

For more ways to improve your LinkedIn network, check out these articles:

The LinkedIn Connection Conundrum: Who Should Be in Your Network

Do You Need a LinkedIn Connections Fill-up?

LinkedIn People Searching: Your Ticket to Improved ROI

If you want to gather business intelligence, there’s no better place than LinkedIn. Before I begin working with a company to grow their sales using LinkedIn, I head straight to their LinkedIn company page to begin gathering information. I can tell pretty quickly if they have some level of LinkedIn savvy or not.

What would I find if I visited your company page?

Are you portraying a positive corporate image? Will I immediately understand what products and services you provide? Will I think you’re pretty sophisticated LinkedIn users?

Let’s take a look together and see what you’ve got going on.


1.  Where’s your logo?

If you don’t display your corporate logo, you’re missing out on lots of exposure.

All of your employees can display the company logo on their individual profiles–but only if the logo is on the company page.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 6.07.35 AM

If you have a logo on your company page, when someone scrolls over the logo or your company name, the company summary box will pop up. But if you don’t have a logo there, you’ll miss a branding opportunity and a chance to pick up company followers.

2.  Don’t you have any keywords?

LinkedIn is a search engine. Like all search engines, if you don’t have enough of the right keywords in the right spots, you won’t be on the search results list. Be sure to put your best keywords in the following spots: Company Name, Company Description, and Specialties.

3.  Isn’t there anything new and exciting going on at your company?

People will assume nothing is happening at your company if you’re not posting consistent status updates. People are following your company page for a reason, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they look forward to hearing the latest and greatest info about your company.

4.  You don’t want to take advantage of a FREE online billboard?

LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to put a very prominent, interesting, eye-catching banner right near the top of your company page, and it’s free! But if you’d rather pay for a billboard along the highway, that’s fine.

5.  Don’t you think I’m interested in the history of your company?

Your company history is an important part of your story, and I’d be interested in at least a short overview of your company. A list of your products and services (these are probably some of your most important keywords) and a few reasons why I should buy from you instead of your competitors would be nice, too.

Use your 1,500 characters to share what your customers or Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 6.10.31 AMfuture employees are most interested in. Be sure to include a specific call to action.

6.  Your competitors have specialties. Don’t you have any?

There are just 13 slots in this section. Be sure to use them all to list your most important products and services. These are great keywords, and this will help people find your company.

7.  Don’t you know mobile is all the rage these days?

Most people are unaware of this. Only the first 169 characters in your company description show up on the LinkedIn mobile app Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 6.18.53 AMuntil a visitor clicks See more. Be sure to put your best stuff first so they don’t have to click to see more if they’re in a hurry.

8.  Do you think followers are only for the big companies?

No matter the size of your company, you should be sharing status updates with your followers. These can include marketing messages, job openings, and other interesting information. People who choose to follow you are anxious to hear from you! Consistently work on growing your list of followers. This is sure to produce results.

To learn about more opportunities your company may be missing, download my free ebook 10 LinkedIn Mistakes Companies Make.


Well, LinkedIn has done it again.

They recently released a great new feature called Field of Study Explorer, and they’ve suggested it’s designed to help students. But whether they realize it or not, it’s a terrific tool for businesspeople as well.iStock_000002790877Small

And that’s where I come in. I take seriously my responsibility to help you get the most out of the site, especially hidden gems like the new Field of Study Explorer.

LinkedIn’s Stated Purpose for Field of Study Explorer

Here’s an excerpt from LinkedIn’s July 28 launch announcement:

“Today, we are pleased to announce a new product – Field of Study Explorer – designed to help students like Candice” (a student mentioned in the full article) “explore the wide range of careers LinkedIn members have pursued based on what they studied in school.”

How Field of Study Explorer Can Help YOU

In addition to being an awesome tool for students, it is a great business intelligence tool for:

  • recruiting
  • job seekers
  • people who want to keep their employment options open and better understand the overall job landscape
  • schools looking for areas of study they may want to expand into

Simply put, the Field of Study Explorer is a new way to sort LinkedIn profiles. You can see what people studied when they were in school.

How to Access Field of Study Explorer

You can access this feature by clicking Interests>Education>See fields of study. LinkedIn will then show you the results for one of the specific majors you have listed on your profile.

But if you simply click Explore more, you can pick another major from the list LinkedIn has selected for you or scroll all the way down and type in the one you’d like to explore.

For example, this screen shows you that over 2.2 million people have studied accounting.

But the fun begins when you start Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.32.18 AMclicking through the five available filters:

  • Where they work
  • What they do
  • Where they went to school
  • Where they live
  • How you are connected

So, if I want to see which companies in the Milwaukee area have a lot of accounting jobs, I just type Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.34.53 AMgreater Milwaukee area in the Where They Live search box.

The result is not just in numerical terms. It gives me the name, headline, and photo of each person who meets my search criterion.

And if I go one step further and click Johnson Controls, Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.36.58 AMI can see all the accountants that currently work there.

Think how easy it is to get important data to help you answer some of the following questions:

  • Which companies in your town have most of the jobs in a certain field?
  • (If you’re relocating) Which cities have the most opportunities for you and which companies have those opportunities?
  • (If you’re thinking about going back to school) What schools have the most grads in a particular field and where do most of them go to work?
  • (If you’re recruiting) At what schools should you recruit for a certain type of job and what schools are your competitors getting their employees from?

The possibilities are really endless. Check it out, and let me know other interesting ways you’ve used LinkedIn’s Field of Study Explorer.

Is someone annoying you on LinkedIn? Then take action.

Posted on September 6, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Okay. So you connected with or are in a group angrywith someone on LinkedIn, and in your opinion the person hasn’t been acting professionally.

Now what?

If someone in your network has committed an unpardonable faux pas, here are some steps you can take to address the situation.

1.  Someone sent you a spammy email shortly after you agreed to connect on LinkedIn.

Unless you’re fairly certain this connection could or should lead to something positive, I’d suggest you disconnect in a hurry.

There are two ways to Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 7.12.48 AMremove a person from your network. First, you can click Remove Connection right on his profile. However, your name will then appear on his Who’s Viewed Your Profile list.

You can also go to your Connections tab on the top toolbar, put his name in the Search box, and select More>Remove connection when his entry is displayed.

2.   One of your connections sends you way too many direct messages, and they’re usually about subjects you have no interest in.

If the person is a valued connection, I’d politely ask her to take you off of her email campaign list in the future. If the problem persists, consider removing her from your network.

3.   The person sending too many irrelevant direct messages Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 7.19.44 AMis not directly connected to you, but you’re in the same LinkedIn group.

If the group provides relevant information and good relationships for you, you can either politely ask the person to stop sending you direct messages or you can go to the Settings tab in that group and uncheck Allow members of this group to send me messages via LinkedIn. However, then you won’t be able to receive direct messages from anyone in the group.

4.  A person in your network posts too many status updates, and they’re usually irrelevant or downright silly. However, you don’t want to disconnect with him because you think it will be a beneficial relationship.

The next time you see a status update from him, slide over to the top right of the status update and click the word “Hide.” Then his status updates will no longer appear in your feed.

5.  A friend calls you and says one of your LinkedIn connections is driving her crazy. The guy refers to your friendship in his unending phone messages, and she’s just not interested in what he’s selling.

First, ask him to stop contacting your LinkedIn connections and dropping your name without your permission. Secondly, you may want to consider hiding your first-level connections from your network. But before you take this step, be sure you understand the ramifications of this important decision. I discuss the pros and cons in my article “Should You Hide Your LinkedIn Connections?”

If these scenarios are popping up frequently, maybe it’s time to revisit your overall LinkedIn connections strategy. For help with this, check out my article “The LinkedIn Connection Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network?”

This Proven LinkedIn Step-by-Step Process Leads to Results

Posted on August 23, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Are you one of the many people I hear from each week who are still waiting for something to “happen” on LinkedIn?

Lots of people spend lots of time on LinkedIn, but not everyone is getting results. Well, that’s because there can be no ROI if you don’t know how to use it!

Also, because LinkedIn is not very intuitive, many users haven’t even found the features that will produce the most dramatic results.

Therefore, I’ve developed Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedInan easy-to-use online training course to help everyone, from novice users to the most savvy users, grow their business. The course includes The Five C’s, my proven five-step process for LinkedIn success.

*Special $100 introductory discount on this course ends at midnight 8/26.

5 Steps to LinkedIn Success

Here’s an inside look at the five specific steps you can take to start getting measurable results from the time you spend on LinkedIn.

Five C's

CREATE a customer-focused profile

  • Use special profile sections and the Professional Gallery to highlight your area(s) of expertise.
  • In addition to the Contact Info and Advice for Contacting sections, consider including your preferred contact information in your Summary and Current Job Experience sections.
  • Include specific calls to action throughout your profile to encourage readers to engage with you.

CONNECT with your prospects

  • Use Advanced People Search, Company Search, Alumni, Groups, People You May Know, and Who’s Viewed Your Profile to find new prospects.
  • Use a five-star invitation to reach out to potential prospects. Include where you met (if applicable) and/or how you could help each other.
  • Always be on the lookout for quality connections. The larger your network, the more opportunity for business growth.

CONSTRUCT a targeted prospect list

  • Use advanced features like tags, network sorting options, and LinkedIn Contacts to group prospects who have similar buyer characteristics.
  • Download your connections database. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.
  • Consider upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.

COMMUNICATE with your network

  • Stay in front of your audience by making daily status updates.
  • Use direct messaging to contact your first-level connections and fellow group members. But don’t contact them too often or sell too hard or they may remove you from their network.
  • Increase your exposure by engaging in group discussions and “liking,” “sharing” or commenting on other people’s status updates.

CAPITALIZE on existing relationships

  • Connect with all of your existing clients/customers.
  • Search their networks to find out who they know
  • Get referrals, recommendations, and endorsements. It’s easy–just ask!

Need more help executing your own personal LinkedIn 5 C’s plan? Check out my comprehensive online training course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn and save $100 if you register before midnight 8/26.

This week I got three separate emails from my readers with basically the same question. Ironically, that same question also came up twice this week when I was presenting seminars. That made it easy for me to pick the iStock_000022949931Smalltopic for this week’s LinkedIn tip. Here’s the essence of each inquiry:

Wayne, I’ve heard you say that you feel the #1 marketing feature on LinkedIn is individual status updates, but I tried posting one this week and nothing happened. What did I do wrong?

First, let me say I stand behind my strong opinion that individual status updates is LinkedIn’s #1 marketing feature. That’s because, if done correctly, you can share helpful content with your hand-picked audience (your connections) for free. Many, many of my LinkedIn speaking and consulting gigs have resulted from someone reading one of my status updates and then contacting me.

What You May be Doing Wrong

There are lots of reasons to share status updates, but typically they should be used to help your network, which will increase your reputation and motivate people to engage with you.

Here are eight reasons your status updates may not be getting you any results.

1.  Your content is not relevant or interesting to your target audience.  According to a research study done by LinkedIn, the most popular types of content are new research, breaking industry news, and case studies.

2.  You don’t include an image.  A photo or video thumbnail is more likely to grab a reader’s attention than a block of words.

3.  You don’t include a link.  Sharing a link not only gives the reader a place to get more information about the topic in your post, but it usually causes an image to appear, which grabs a reader’s eye and draws him or her to the post.

4.  You’re not posting on the right day or time of day.  From my personal experience, the best time to share is Monday through Friday between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM (based on your customers’ time zone).

5.  You don’t post frequently enough or on a consistent basis.  I recommend you post at least once a day, but three or four times per day is not too much, as long as you follow something like the 6/3/1 Rule.

6.  You don’t add your “two cents” to the article or information shared in your link.  Remember, it’s your connections who are seeing your updates, and they connected with you because they want to hear from you. If you don’t comment on the information in the article, video, etc., you’re missing an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.

7.  You don’t have very many first-degree connections.  Keep in mind that, for the most part, your updates only go to your network. Small network = small audience. Big network = big audience. For additional information about the size and makeup of your network, check out my article “The LinkedIn Connection Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network.”

8.  You haven’t really defined what a good result would be.  Defining and then tracking the right numbers, as well as the trending of those numbers, is extremely important. It helps you know whether your time is well spent or you’re just wasting time on LinkedIn. My blog post about the most important metrics to track on LinkedIn will help you set up your own tracking system.

Which of these eight mistakes are you making?