Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

Are You Spending Enough Time on LinkedIn to Get Results?

Posted on August 21, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Online Internet Web Coupon for Laptop Computer Discount ShoppingMany of the best ideas in life never get implemented because there just isn't enough time.

I frequently make this comment in my closing remarks at LinkedIn speaking engagements:

If my LinkedIn book came with a coupon in the back for an extra hour each day (a bonus 25th hour), I know that more of you would fully embrace many of the great features I just shared with you.

Perhaps lack of time is one of your LinkedIn hurdles as well. So let's take a look at how much time successful LinkedIn users are actually spending on the site.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.34.39 AMAccording to my most recent LinkedIn user survey, just over half of respondents said they're spending zero to two hours per week on LinkedIn, but 15% of the users are spending more than one hour per day!
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How much time does it take to get verifiable results on LinkedIn?

By digging deeper into the survey results, we can see the correlation between the amount of time spent on LinkedIn and the success users are having as a result of the time they spend.

When asked How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AMdevelop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, but only 13% of them are spending three or more hours per week on LinkedIn.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and a full 60% of them are spending more than three hours per week on LinkedIn. 

First of all, it's good news that two-thirds of all respondents consider LinkedIn to be very helpful to their business or career. But it's also important to note that the majority of those users are spending in excess of three hours per week. Personally, I don't think it's a tremendous leap to conclude that most people who make a significantly larger commitment of time on LinkedIn are seeing real results from that increased time devoted to LinkedIn.
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What should you be doing with your time on LinkedIn to optimize your effectiveness?

Like most things in life, the more time you put in, the more results you get--as long as you're spending your time doing the right things. So, what are the right things?

Without having a one-on-one LinkedIn consulting session with you to learn more about you and your business, it's hard for me to answer that specifically, but here are the top three activities that will produce results, regardless of your individual objectives and strategies on LinkedIn. They have been extracted from my free 20-question LinkedIn self-assessment titled LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up? Download your free copy below.

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

To learn more about posting status updates, read LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.


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

To learn how easy it is to amp up your results by using saved searches, read Have You Ever Called on the LinkedIn Dynamic Duo?


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 = 5 points, Always = 5 points]

Read Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature to learn how this LinkedIn feature can pay big dividends. 

These three activities are best practices with most of my consulting clients, but it's important for you to evaluate the features and activities you're spending your time on each week and make sure they're giving you the results you desire.

If you'd like to schedule a personal session with me to learn more specific ways to generate results for your company or your career, contact me here.

For more suggestions on how to manage your LinkedIn account on a daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic basis, check out Chapter 19 of the newest edition of my bestselling LinkedIn book Ready...Set...Go! A Six-Week, Two-Hour-Per-Week Road Map to Results.

LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up?

Download (PDF, 304KB)

Do You Want to Know the Top 2 Reasons to Use LinkedIn?

Posted on August 14, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

LinkedIn has lots of potential uses, depending on Mobile Linkedin smwho you are, what you do, who you want to meet, where you're located, etc. But just what are the typical business functions most people say LinkedIn has helped them with?

According to my latest LinkedIn user survey, the vast majority of respondents said two functions are far and away the most useful:
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  • Research people and companies (77% of respondents)
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  • Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues (71% of respondents)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.35.19 AMAnd as you can see in this chart, all other features are perceived as much less helpful.

Here are some simple strategies and techniques you can use to get significant results for your business and career with these two LinkedIn features.
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Research people and companies

Advanced People Search. The Advanced People Search filters will help you quickly and easily search LinkedIn's half a billion member database and zero in on your target audience. Improve your skills at using the Advanced People Search feature and your LinkedIn ROI will go through the roof.

Company page search. If you know the name of your target companies (for Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.52.07 PManything from sales to job seeking and everything in between), simply type the name of the company in the search box at the top of your home page. When your target companies show up in the search results listing, click that entry, and LinkedIn will take you to their company page.

On the company page you will see details about the company's products, services, markets they serve, job openings, contact information, and shared updates. If you click the (Number) Employees on LinkedIn, you'll get a complete list of all their employees who have LinkedIn accounts. Then you can use the Advanced People Search filters to uncover the exact people you're trying to find.

Once you find the right people, follow the ten steps outlined in my article "Got a Meeting? Then You Better Get on LinkedIn" to learn how to instantly capitalize on the information you discover on their profiles.
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Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues

Advanced People Search. In the Company box, enter the name of the company you used to work for and choose the filters you'd like to apply (Current or past, Current, Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 1.44.33 PMPast, or Past not current). Then in the Title box, enter the name of the department you used to work in (e.g., marketing, finance, etc.), and you'll get a list of most of the people you worked with at the company--and hopefully contact with one or more of those people will lead to your next big sale or job opportunity.

Company Alumni Groups. Some of the larger national and international employers have strategically set up specific LinkedIn groups for past employees so the company can maintain a positive relationship with them.

You may also find unofficial company alumni groups that could open the door to tremendous networking opportunities. To find them, just click the down arrow next to the search box on your top toolbar and select Groups. Then type the name of the company in the search box and add the word alumni.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.57.36 PM

University Page. Most people have warm, fuzzy feelings about their alma mater and thus are more likely to consider doing business with fellow alumni--and it's easy to locate them with this powerful LinkedIn feature.

Select Universities from the drop-down menu, enter the name of your college or university, and it should appear in the resulting list. Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.02.34 PM Once you click your school's entry, you'll land on their University Page. Select Students & AlumniAttended or Graduated, and choose a date range. Getting a list of fellow alums is just that simple.

University Alumni Groups. Find, interact and connect with people who are members of official and/or unofficial LinkedIn groups related to your university.

Get busy and capitalize on LinkedIn's powerful features for researching people and companies and reconnecting with past business associates and colleagues.

And once you reach out to any of these people, be sure to customize your invitation to connect by using the strategies outlined in my Five Star Connection Tip Sheet, which is one of the resources from my online video course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

Download (PDF, 322KB)

Are LinkedIn Groups Worthless or a Tremendous Opportunity?

Posted on August 6, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Thumbs up and downThere are over two million LinkedIn groups, and, to be brutally honest with you, this LinkedIn feature has had its ups and downs over the years.

But now that LinkedIn has completely revamped this feature and even added a separate App, as well as allowing users to now join 100 groups as opposed to 50 in prior years, how much time should you realistically devote to groups?

In response to my recent LinkedIn user survey, let's see what LinkedIn users are saying about groups.
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  • Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.32.57 AMOver 59% of the users are in ten or more LinkedIn groups.
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  • Only 28% of the users consider the Groups feature to be helpful. (In 2010, 76% of the users rated Groups as a helpful feature)

So, let's take a deeper dive into the numbers to see if there is a correlation between groups and LinkedIn success.
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Do successful users find groups to be helpful?

When asked, How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and develop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AM

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, and only 31% of them are in 10+ groups and only 14% consider Groups to be a helpful feature.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and 68% of them are in 10+ groups and 33% consider Groups to be a helpful feature.

Conclusion: Even though most LinkedIn users are currently finding groups to be significantly less helpful, the users who consider LinkedIn to be very important to their business and career success are still joining lots of groups and attributing some of their success to group membership.
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Simple ways LinkedIn groups can help you be more successful

Some of these suggestions may seem fairly obvious, but others relate to more advanced concepts or features that are difficult for the average LinkedIn user to find.
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  • Groups enable you to virtually network with people in your target audience without leaving your home or office. Engaging with people in the right groups can easily be your most productive LinkedIn activity.
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  • You can share your industry expertise by commenting and sharing information on the latest trends, products and happenings. Positioning yourself and your company can be easy in industry-related groups if you concentrate on helping people rather than simply trying to get fellow members to visit your website or buy your products.
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    Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.32.41 AM
  • You can post job openings for free or announce that you're looking for employment in the Jobs section of each group. This is especially helpful when the group relates specifically to your industry.
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  • Each calendar month you can direct message (for free) up to fifteen fellow group members who are not part of your first-level network. Typically you'd have to use a $10 InMail to message a fellow group member to whom you're not connected.
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  • Your individual search ranking will improve when you and the searcher are members of the same group. LinkedIn's search algorithm is a highly kept secret, but some experts have speculated that fellow group members are equivalent to second-degree connections.
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  • People may be more likely to accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn if you Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.30.00 AMbelong to the same group(s). If you have a free LinkedIn membership, you can do an advanced people search and filter for a specific LinkedIn group. If you have a premium membership, you can search for people who belong to multiple groups.
  • Based on LinkedIn research, you will increase your number of profile views by four times if you're active in groups. More profile views typically leads to good things, especially if those viewers are members of a group related to your industry.

LinkedIn groups have lots of potential, and most of the users I talk to hope the latest revisions will mean brighter days ahead for this once highly coveted LinkedIn feature. Why not join me in testing the waters by becoming active in a couple groups--and hopefully the results will be a welcome surprise.

To help you get started, download my free worksheet LinkedIn Groups: Ca$h in on This Powerful Tool.

Download (PDF, 345KB)


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Do you Need 500+ Connections to be Successful on LinkedIn?

Posted on July 30, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Fueling up a vehicle with a red gas pump.Please see similar images from my portfolio.LinkedIn connections are the gas in your tank. The more you have the further you'll go, especially if the gas in your tank is "high octane" (strategic connections).

To learn how to get more strategic LinkedIn connections, check out my article "Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?")

But is there really something magical about having 500+ people in your network? The results of my latest LinkedIn user survey can help us answer that question.

When asked How many first-level connections do you currently have on LinkedIn, 55% of the 900+ respondents said they have more than 500 connections.Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.33.51 AM

But let's peel back the onion a bit to explore how the number of connections relates to success on LinkedIn.

When asked How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and develop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, and only 36% of them have 500+Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AM connections.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and 61% of them have 500+ connections.

First of all, it's good news that two-thirds of all respondents consider LinkedIn to be very helpful to their business or career. But it's also important to note that the majority of those successful users have large networks (500 or more connections). Personally, I don't think it's a tremendous leap to conclude that most people with large networks are experiencing greater success on LinkedIn.
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How a larger LinkedIn network improves your chances of success

There are certainly successful LinkedIn users who have small, close-knit, strategic networks, but there are many benefits of a large network. Here are some examples:
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  • You'll appear more often in search results
  • You'll usually be higher in the search ranking
  • You'll have more shared connections and thus have easier access to the right people
  • You'll show up more often in People Also Viewed
  • You'll appear more often in People Similar To
  • Your status updates and published posts are more likely to receive views, shares and comments

Am I suggesting that quantity of connections is always better than quality? Absolutely not. A small, strategic network of people you know and trust works great for some people. But think about how much better a large network of strategic connections could be.

And whether you decide to join the LinkedIn 500+ club or not, make a habit of engaging with your connections. Share your knowledge with them, introduce them to each other, acknowledge their accomplishments, and you'll be on your way to business and career success.

Should You Hide Your LinkedIn Connections?

Posted on July 22, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Should you let your 1st level connections see all of your other 1st level connections? Should you let them search into the entire list?

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.25.45 PMThis question can lead to a lively debate. Typical answers include: That’s not fair! Networking is about sharing and Of course, I hide them—that’s my client list! or You want to have your cake and eat it too if you hide them.

But how many people are actually hiding their connections from their network? On my recent LinkedIn user survey, I asked this question:

“Do you let your 1st level connections see your entire 1st level network?”

63% answered “Yes,” 13% said “No,” and 24% replied “Not sure.”

If you're not sure, follow these steps to identify your current setting:Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.18.19 PM

Scroll over your photo on the right side of your top toolbar; choose Privacy & Settings from the dropdown menu, click the Privacy section, and then select Who can see your connections. Your current setting will either be Your connections or Only you.

This is one of the most critical strategy decisions you have to make on LinkedIn. However, the fact that 24% of the respondents are unsure suggests many people are not even making a conscious decision about it.

LinkedIn is a networking site, which undoubtedly is why the default setting allows your 1st level connections to view your network. I personally want to help my network in any way possible, and I look to my connections to assist me as well. As a result, I have chosen the default setting (Your connections).

There are certainly legitimate arguments that support the decision to hide your connections. This list of Frequently Asked Questions should help you make the best decision for your situation.

Q: Why are people hiding their connections from their network? It doesn’t seem fair.

A: Most of the time they are doing it because some of their direct connections (1st level) are names they want to keep confidential (typically clients). As far as whether it's fair or not, I used to feel it was unfair. However, I then realized some people would not be on LinkedIn if they weren't able to turn this off. That being said, I'm glad the control exists, because the more people on LinkedIn, the better for all of us.

Q: If my search uncovers a 2nd level connection but our common 1st level connection has hidden his/her connections, will I be able to tell who our common 1st level connection is?

A: The great news is the answer is yes. That is why people who choose to hide their connections are still important people to have in your network.

Q: What types of people are choosing to hide their 1st level connections on LinkedIn?

A: These are typically people who provide professional services, such as accountants, attorneys, insurance and financial brokers, architects. I also see some CEOs and company presidents making this choice.

Q: Can 2nd or 3rd degree connections or fellow group members ever see my 1st level connections?

A: No. If you want to share your 1st level network with them, you will need to invite them to become 1st level connections.

Q: Can I pick and choose the people in my network that I will allow to see my connections?

A: No. It’s all or nothing. At this time the setting applies to all 1st level connections.

Q: If I choose to display my 1st level connections, do you think I should connect with competitors?

A: My quick answer is are you nuts? Would you hand over your database of your most precious business connections (including clients) to your competitors? My not-so-quick answer is sometimes relationships are more complex than that. Perhaps your competitor is also one of your suppliers. So you have to weigh all the pros and cons.

Armed with this information, you should now be ready to make a strategic decision about whether or not to hide your connections.

For information about other important LinkedIn settings, check out Chapter 17 of my bookYour Account, Your Settings--Your Way.

Are You Curious What Others Are Doing on LinkedIn?

Posted on July 18, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Over 900 people took the time to share their thoughts through my 2016 LinkedIn User Survey. Thank you! I've been gathering this type of information for eight years, Infographic_2016-Widgetand it's extremely valuable to everyone who's trying to successfully navigate the site and get real results.

My awesome graphic designer, Kelly Wagner, did an amazing job of displaying the highlights of the survey results in an easy-to-read infographic titled Portrait of a LinkedIn User.

In the next few weeks I'll share more thoughts about how you can capitalize on this information, but I'll start today with my top five take-aways from this year's results.
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#1 feature: Who's Viewed Your Profile

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.31.16 AMFor the fourth straight year, Who's Viewed Your Profile was voted the most helpful LinkedIn feature. Personally, I've benefitted financially from reaching out to people on my list, and many of my clients have done the same.

The Who's Viewed Your Profile information will lead to improved results for you, too, but only if you're proactive and reach out in a professional and helpful way to those people who are in your target audience.

For easy ways to take advantage of this feature, check out Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?
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Usefulness of LinkedIn groups continues to decline

In 2010, groups was the second most helpful feature, with 76% of the survey participants selecting it, and now it doesn't even make the top eight features on the infographic. This year only 28% of the respondents considered it a helpful feature.

LinkedIn did a major overhaul of the Groups feature last fall, and we'll see if that causes a more positive response in next year's survey. But based on my experience with the new Group setup, I'm not expecting an upward trend.Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.32.57 AM

With over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups, there appears to be some untapped potential. 59% of users are in ten or more groups, so they're obviously interested in virtually hanging out and adding value to each other's business lives. However, I just don't see much happening there.

I suggest you seek out groups that include your target audience and where helpful discussions are being appropriately moderated. Spend time in those and leave the others for the spammers of the world.
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The majority of users have more than 500 connections  Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.33.51 AM

55% of the users have 500+ connections. Just three years ago, that number was 28%. I realize that time alone will grow this number, but I'm fairly certain there's a growing trend among the smartest and best users to proactively add people to their network in a very purposeful and strategic way.

If you'd like to learn more about strategically growing your network, be sure to read Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?

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Time spent on LinkedIn has leveled off

In the early years of the survey, the time spent on LinkedIn each week was growing Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.34.39 AMsignificantly from year to year, but in the last three years the numbers have leveled off. The majority of users (53%) are using LinkedIn for zero to two hours per week, and nearly one-fourth (22%) are spending between three and four hours per week.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to make the most of the time you spend on LinkedIn, check out Not Sure What to Do on LinkedIn to Get Results?

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It's all about research and reconnection

By far, users find LinkedIn mostScreen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.35.19 AM helpful for researching people and companies (77%) and reconnecting with people (71%). I'm disappointed to see only 22% of respondents feel they're generating identifiable business opportunities. And just for reference, these numbers remain virtually unchanged over the last eight years.

I wonder whether this is partly because some people are unable to accurately identify where new business is coming from because of long sales cycles or poor tracking. Perhaps it's because some people look at LinkedIn as just a large database of resumes, and they don't understand how to effectively use the available information to build strong business relationships that lead to increased profits.

I look forward to sharing more insights about this year's LinkedIn survey results in the coming weeks and helping you become more savvy at finding ways to turn your LinkedIn knowledge into real dollars.

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: Should You Worry?

Posted on July 10, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

"Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $26.2 billion." That was Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.52.35 AMthe announcement from officials at both companies on June 13, 2016.

(The graphics shared in this article come from the official Slideshare announcement of the acquisition from the companies.)

Since that date, hundreds of people have asked me what I think about the news and how it might impact them. Rather than immediately speculate on what this will mean for shareholders, the two companies, other social media sites, and especially you, the LinkedIn member, I wanted to take a little time Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.28.22 AMto read, absorb, and kick it around in my 58-year-old brain.

Rather than share a typical, crystal-ball prediction--and there are plenty of those floating around--it seems more helpful to outline the important ways LinkedIn has impacted the way we do business and the skills we've acquired that will propel our businesses and careers going forward--regardless of the structure and ownership of LinkedIn.
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Reliable, worldwide database of business professionals

Before LinkedIn, we paid big money to gain access to professional databases, and many times they were outdated and unreliable. Of course, Linked changed all that, and most of the information is free and up to date.

That being said, if LinkedIn goes away or seriously diminishes the power of this mostly free database, I'm quite confident another platform will fill the void.
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Virtual networking for business purposes

Think back to when you firstScreen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.55.43 AM joined LinkedIn. It undoubtedly felt a little weird to virtually connect with people you already knew and especially those you didn't know. Now successful users find new people on LinkedIn nearly every day and attempt to begin a relationship with them either by inviting them to join their LinkedIn network or gathering information from their profile and reaching out by using more traditional methods--phone, email, personal meeting, etc.
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Worldwide access to your professional resume on steroids (LinkedIn profile) 

Next time you use the Who's Viewed Your Profile feature to see who's been checking you out, remind yourself that prior to LinkedIn there was no one place where people could see just what makes you tick, what you sell, why you are a qualified expert, or the many other reasons why you'd be the perfect fit for their problem, issue or opportunity. In other words, LinkedIn has become an essential part of how we do business.

Professional career development and recruiting

I said I wasn't going to make predictions, but I can't help but think the days of  traditional job postings may come to an end, because LinkedIn and other social sites enable recruiters and companies to laser-focus their search for qualified candidates.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.49.42 AMWhether you're currently looking for a new job or not, you owe it to yourself to connect and communicate with people and companies who can help you improve your career now and in the future.

An engaging profile will cause recruiters and companies to reach out to you whether you're in job-search mode or not. Don't let a stale, uninteresting profile cause you to miss out on a great opportunity.
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New way to market yourself

Traditional forms of corporate marketing are sometimes viewed as intrusive, but today's professionals welcome helpful information from people they know and trust.Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.54.05 AM

The ever-expanding arsenal of LinkedIn tools--like status updates, published posts, direct messaging, group discussions--provides a very cost-effective way to build your personal and corporate brand with your target audience.
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The future of LinkedIn

As a result of Microsoft's purchase, I'm hopeful that LinkedIn will become even more useful for today's professional. But whatever happens, the knowledge you've gained from using LinkedIn will certainly result in improved business and career success and be useful with new platforms as well as current social media sites.

And of this you can be sure--I'll be your trusted companion as we watch things unfold and continue to find new ways to improve our businesses and careers.

Not Sure What to Do on LinkedIn to Get Results?

Posted on June 25, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Your days are undoubtedly filled with lots of deadlines and to-do lists, and deciding what to do when is probably a challenge. But if you spend just 20 minutes each Monday morning on LinkedIn, you can reap big rewards. Blue Monday? Meeting marked on calendar at start of weekPencil it into your weekly calendar like any other meeting--and it may become the most productive "meeting" of your week.
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5 simple tasks that lead to results

These tasks are quick, easy, and sure to help you grow an impressive network that will lead to business and career success.

1.  Review Who's Viewed Your Profile, and reach out to the people you should be connecting with or meeting [4 minutes].

When someone takes a look at your profile, it's like walking into your store; so be sure to reach out and ask the person how you might be able to help him/her. Read "Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?" for more information about how to maximize the Who's Viewed Your Profile feature.

2.  Send customized invitations to join your LinkedIn network to people you met (in person or on the phone) during the previous work week [4 minutes].

Improving your search ranking on LinkedIn is all about connections, especially the right ones, and people you have already met are spot on.

To get the inside scoop on adding gas (connections) to your LinkedIn tank, be sure to read "The LinkedIn Connections Conundrum: Who Should be in Your Network?" 

3.  Review and respond to your pending inbound invitations to connect on LinkedIn [3 minutes].Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.24.03 PM

Because of changes to the messaging system that took place last fall, you may be missing important information from someone if you don't purposefully and methodically review the invitations that are coming into your account. For more details, read "Is Opportunity Knocking on Your LinkedIn Door?"

4.  Investigate people who show up in your saved search results [6 minutes].

Once you have LinkedIn delivering to your doorstep your well-defined target list each week, it's your job to figure out, based on the information you can gather from their profiles, what might be the most appropriate next step. This might set you up for some of the most productive traditional meetings and phone calls of your week.

5.  Post a great thought-provoking, educational status update [3 minutes].Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 9.28.56 AM

Simply put, this is the best marketing feature on LinkedIn. After all, you'll be communicating with your handpicked audience (your connections). And if you don't talk to them, your competitors will be happy to share helpful information with them (many of whom are your customers and potential customers). Follow the 6/3/1 rule to play this part of the LinkedIn game correctly.

For more suggestions on how to manage your LinkedIn account on a daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic basis, check out Chapter 19 of the newest edition of my bestselling LinkedIn book," Ready...Set...Go! A Six-Week, Two-Hour-Per-Week Road Map to Results."

Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?

Posted on June 18, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

For the fourth year in a row, in response to my annual LinkedIn user survey, the most helpful LinkedIn feature is Who's Viewed Your Profile, a/k/a "Who's stalking you." Over 71% of the respondents gave this feature a thumbs up. But are you taking full advantage of it?

You can access this feature in the middle right of your home page by clicking the words # people viewed your profile in the past # day(s).Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.39.30 AM

If you're on the free account (like 79% of the surveyed users), you'll see some of the details on the last five people ("stalkers") who looked at your profile. Premium members see the same amount of details but have access to a list of all their stalkers for the last 90 days. The details you see for each stalker are based on a setting chosen by the stalker and not by you. Thus, even with a paid account, you'll see no more than the person has chosen to reveal to you.
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How to adjust your settings when you're viewing people's profiles

Go to your Privacy & Settings page by scrolling over your photo on the top toolbar and selecting Privacy & Settings>Privacy>Profile Viewing Options from the drop-down menu. There are three options to choose from.
Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.41.59 AM

Personally, I want my name and headline to show up in every possible place. Hey, it's free advertising. But you may have a different strategy.

If you choose full disclosure but want to be anonymous for a short time while you stalk, say, a competitor, change your setting to Anonymous LinkedIn Member while you gather your competitive intelligence. But don't forget to change it back when you're done, because on the free account LinkedIn penalizes you for choosing anonymous. While in anonymous mode, you cannot see who looked at your profile. They also remove the five people who looked at your profile immediately prior to your choice to remain anonymous. So you'll want to check out the list before changing your setting.
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Why should you care who's looking at your profile?

People typically don't look at LinkedIn profiles to pass the time when they're bored. Trust me--if someone is on your list, one of two things has probably happened:

1.  Someone has referred you. In other words, someone you know has passed along your name and maybe some information about you with a statement like, "Check out Wayne Breitbarth's profile; this guy really knows his LinkedIn stuff."

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2.  You stood out in a LinkedIn search, a discussion, a comment you posted, or LinkedIn selected you to be listed in one of these features: People Similar to, People Also Viewed or People You May Know, and the person was interested in seeing more, so he/she clicked through to your profile.

But no matter how the person found your profile, it's a good thing they're there!
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What should you do with this list of stalkers?

There's nothing you can do if they've chosen to be totally anonymous or mostly anonymous. If any of the others look interesting to you, click through and review their profile to see if there's any reason to message them (if they're already a 1st degree connection) or connect with them.

They obviously have an interest in you, so you should probably contact them if they look interesting to you.

Remember, with a free account, you only see the last five people who've viewed your profile. So check your list frequently. You wouldn't want to miss someone who's dying to be your next customer or future employer.
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Final thoughts

The more time I spend using this feature and discussing it with LinkedIn power users, the more I understand why Who's Viewed Your Profile is the top ranked feature on LinkedIn.

And the more popular this feature becomes, the more important it is that you have a great profile, don't you think?

For help with sprucing up your profile, be sure to check out the new edition of my book, which includes a special resource titled Profile Perfection: A Checklist for LinkedIn Optimization.

Is Opportunity Knocking at Your LinkedIn Door?

Posted on June 12, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

"How can I help you?"

When you answer the door or the phone and aren't sure what the person wants, this is undoubtedly the question you ask.Businesswoman knocking on office door

But why aren't you asking the same question when strangers ask you to join their LinkedIn network?

Perhaps it's because you aren't really sure how to pose the question on LinkedIn or don't understand the benefit of asking how you can help.

Now, of course, some of the strangers are spammers or just want to sell you something you're pretty sure you don't need. With those folks, just hit the Ignore button.

But with other people who ask you to join their network, don't be so quick to hit the Ignore button on your computer or X on your mobile app, because a new, productive relationship may be just a button click away.
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Simple ways to decide whether or not to reach out to strangersScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.24.03 PM

Start by going to your Pending Invitations page. You'll find this page by clicking the Add People icon on the right side of your top toolbar. Choose See all on the Pending Invitations line.

If people include a personal message with their invitation, you'll see the message on your mobile app or a double word cloud on your computer. Personally, I always look at these invitations first because they may require a prompt response.Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.47.22 AM

To improve your chances of receiving a favorable response when you ask someone how you can help him/her, follow these three simple steps:
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  • Check out the person's profile in detail, looking at his/her jobs, interests, and education. The In Common feature typically provides some useful information, too.
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  • See which people you have in common, and consider reaching out to one or more of those people to get more information about the person who's asked you to join his/her network.
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  • View the person's recent activity and published posts to see the type of information he/she is sharing with his/her network.

Once you're confident you should ask the How can I help you? question, click the left-pointing arrow Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.26.20 PMin the person's Pending Invitation box. You can then reply without accepting his/her invitation to connect.

You might say something like:

Thanks for asking me to join your LinkedIn network. I typically don't accept people into my network until I have either met them or understand how we might be able to help each other. So let me know how we might be able to collaborate. I look forward to hearing from you."

This simple technique will scare away anyone who's simply in the spam business and will encourage the others to share what is on their mind. You may be surprised by how many people are truly interested in helping you--and some are probably requesting a connection because someone you know and trust referred them to you.

This technique has helped me and my consulting clients find many new, important relationships. And opportunity may be knocking on your LinkedIn door, too--so why not give it a try.