Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

I Hope You’re Not Making This BIG LinkedIn Mistake

Posted on February 28, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

How long has it been since you’ve thought about what location and industry you’ve selected on your LinkedIn profile?iStock_000025083802Small

Many people haven’t given it a moment’s consideration since setting up their profile many years ago. I suggest now might be a good time to reconsider what you have selected so you can be sure your choices are helping you accomplish your current goals and your goals going forward.


The options are limited but very important

LinkedIn allows you to choose only one industry and one location. Since many of us wear more than one hat and do business nationally or even globally, this can be quite challenging.

Secondly, these two fields may seem insignificant to many users, but they are very important in terms of how people search for us not only on LinkedIn but on Google and other search engines as well.Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.22.34 AM

These two fields are tied directly into a specific search criteria in LinkedIn’s advanced people searching function. They are frequently used by people who are looking for your products, services, expertise, and–especially if you’re looking for a job–YOU.


How to choose the best location and industry

Start by putting yourself in the shoes of people who are searching for you or someone like you. What location and industry might they put in the advanced search boxes? Here are some strategies to help you get started:
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  • If you’re a job seeker and thinking about relocating or working in a new industry, use the new location and industry.
  • If you’re a sales professional who sells your products and services in a certain part of the country or world or to a specific industry, consider using that location and industry. In other words, think about your customers’ industries and locations. This may take priority over your personal industry and location.
  • If you’re not seeking a new job and aren’t selling anything, select the broadest but still correct location (e.g., select Greater Milwaukee Area instead of Thiensville, Wisconsin).
  • Check out what other people in your current situation or industry are choosing.
  • If you have multiple industry and location choices that are equally good, consider changing them out from time to time to your alternative choices.
  • Consider mentioning multiple cities, Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.33.18 AMregions or industries in other profile sections to improve your search ranking and your chances of being found. The sections that work well for this would be your Summary, Job Experiences, Job Locations, Interests, and maybe even your Headline if it’s important enough.
  • Share your thought process for your location and industry choices with others at your company, industry associations, networking groups, etc. and get their feedback. There probably isn’t only one correct answer; so getting opinions of other knowledgeable people who know your situation is a no brainer.

There’s a lot to think about, but remember–because of LinkedIn’s limitations, there’s probably no perfect answer. You simply need to make the best decision under the circumstances.

For more important profile strategies, pick up a copy of the second edition of my best-selling LinkedIn book

10 Easy Ways to Promote Your Events on LinkedIn

Posted on February 22, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

You work hard to plan events for your company,  industry association or favorite iStock_000007449327Smallnonprofit organization, but filling the seats can be a challenge. Here are ten simple ways to use LinkedIn to get the job done:

1.  Send an individual status update.
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  • Post several times, sharing details about agenda, speakers, venue, etc.
  • Post at different times of the day and different days of the week.
  • Always include a link to the registration site or attach a copy of the registration brochure to the update.
  • Encourage others involved in the event to “like,” “share” or “comment” for more traction.

2.  Send a company status update.
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  • It goes out to company followers, so continue to grow this group.
  • “Pin” a status update to the top of your company feed, and it will stay at the top of your company page.
  • Encourage others in the company to “like,” “share” or “comment” for additional traction.
  • Attach a copy of the registration brochure to the update.
  • Consider paying to sponsor the company update so that it will show up in the feed of your targeted audience.

3.  Target specific first-level connections with a direct message.
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  • You are limited to 50 connections at a time for a single direct message.
  • Direct messages are delivered to the recipient’s email account and LinkedIn inbox and are thus more likely to be seen and read.

4.  Share the event in relevant groups.
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  • Share your information in the Discussion section in the form of a question.

5.   Upload a PDF or include a link to the event details or registration form in your Professional Portfolio, Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.51.30 PMeither in your Summary or the Job Experience entry that correlates with the event.
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  • A good description will entice the reader to click and open.

6.  Upload a PowerPoint presentation or video in your Professional Portfolio with event details.
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  • It could be as simple as one slide with event details.
  • This has high eye-catching appeal in your profile.
  • The video could include a clip from the previous year’s event or a promo from this year’s keynote speaker.

7.  Include the details of the event in your Summary section.
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  • In addition to the event details, you can mention that more details are available in your Professional Portfolio.
  • Consider putting this at the top of your Summary as you lead up to the event.
  • You can include the registration website, but it will not be hyperlinked.

8.  For a period of time leading up to the event, include an event teaser in your Headline.
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  • This can be very impactful, but don’t do this for an extended time.
  • Be sure to change back to your day-to-day, keyword-rich Headline right after the event.

9.  Use a special “Project” profile section to feature your event.
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  • The title of the event is clickable right through to your registration page.
  • Consider moving this Project section to the top of your profile a week or so before the event.

10.  Use one of the three websites in the Contact Info section of your profile to link people to event details or registration page.
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  • Reference the website link in your Summary section.
  • Describe the website link clearly (e.g., “Register for LinkedIn class”).

Follow these easy steps, and your event might just be a sellout.

Are You Curious About the Power of LinkedIn Mobile?

Posted on February 14, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Do you like and use the LinkedIn App?

Because I’m frequently asked this question during the Q&A portion of iStock_000051911996Smallmy LinkedIn events, I figured it might be on your mind as well. Thus, here are my thoughts on the opportunities and shortcomings of LinkedIn mobile.


LinkedIn mobile is not just the LinkedIn App

There are currently seven apps in the suite of apps (not all are available for all types of mobile devices):
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  • LinkedIn. This is the light version of the LinkedIn site.
  • Connected. This is a daily listing of your connections who have anniversaries, birthdays, job changes, or are quoted in the news.
  • Job Search. This enables you to search and apply for jobs posted on LinkedIn, plus it has a few other job search goodies.
  • Pulse. This is your custom newsfeed from thousands of sources.
  • SlideShare. With this you can view millions of slide presentations in the palm of your hand.
  • Recruiter. This is only available to people who have upgraded to the Recruiter premium membership.
  • Sales Navigator. This is only available to people who have upgraded to the Sales Navigator premium membership.


LinkedIn mobile has real value

The LinkedIn app is very useful when I see people in a room or at the airport and can’t remember either their name or other important information about them. If I remember something about them (name, where they work, etc.), I can search and find their profile. Then when I approach them, I can say something like, Hi Joe. How are things at Harley-Davidson? It’s the perfect way to jog my 57-year-old memory.

In addition, I scroll through my update feed when burning time in waiting rooms or airports. Then I share, “like,” or comment on information I see–which is always a good thing to do.

I also consistently use it to check out company page information. While sitting in the company’s parking lot before a meeting, I can use the company page to see everyone at the company who is in my network. This has helped me launch into some great conversations and given me immediate credibility with the folks I was meeting with.

The Connected app is a very efficient Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.07.32 AMway to make sure you don’t miss the most important happenings of the people in your network. Once you’ve tried it, it’s easy to become addicted to this app!


LinkedIn mobile has its limitations

Okay. Let’s be real. Can we really expect to be able to do everything on our little phone that we can do on our laptop or desktop computer, especially the very complex things? I’m pretty sure some day we will, but in the meantime the biggest miss for me is the inability to do any advanced searching with the LinkedIn app.

Also, be careful when using the LinkedIn app in the following ways:

1.  Try not to use the app to send outgoing invitations to join your network. You can now customize the invitation, but it’s hard to figure out how to do it. Therefore, most people will simply click the green check box and send the standard invitation–and you know how much I despise the standard invitation! 

2.  There are lots of truncated sections on the mobile app; in other words, it says Click to see more. Thus, it’s important to be sure you put the most important information in the first sentence or two of each section. This is especially important for the Summary section on your personal profile and the Company Description section on your company page. Clearly describe what you and your company do. The fact that Grandpa started the joint in 1919 and then your dad took over in 1957 is great information and should be shared but not right up front in either of these sections.

3.  Even though you are now able to make profile changes using the app, I highly recommend you avoid doing this. It’s hard to tell what it will actually look like on the site, and grammar and spelling errors are more likely to occur. Stick to making profile changes on your desktop or laptop, and then be sure to check out how those changes look on the app.

4.  If you are using a tablet, I suggest you access the regular site and not the app, because the larger screen will enable you to see most of the information. However, sometimes buttons won’t work on your tablet (for example, when you try to “like” something). There are some inconsistencies that you just have to live with.


LinkedIn mobile is going to be an increasingly important part of the LinkedIn experience

With LinkedIn usage on mobile approaching 50%, you can be sure these apps will continue to be revised and improved, maybe even more often than the site itself. Keep up to date with these changes, and diligently spend time on the app and the site to be sure your brand is represented well no matter which tool people are using to check you out.  

Are You Wasting Your Valuable Time on LinkedIn?

Posted on February 8, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

When I jump into something new, different or confusing (like LinkedIn), iStock_000019437192SmallI often wonder how other people are using it and how can it help me improve myself or my business. And that’s why I launched my LinkedIn User Survey way back in 2009.

Over the past six years, I have shared with you, my treasured audience, answers to questions like these (2014 results are in red):
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  • What percent of the LinkedIn users are paying for a premium account? (18%)
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  • How many hours per week are people spending on LinkedIn? (43% spend 0-2 hours per week)
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  • How many LinkedIn groups do people belong to? (33% are in 1-9 groups)
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  • What is the top rated feature on LinkedIn? (Who’s Viewed Your Profile)
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  • What are people saying LinkedIn has helped them with? (74% said “Research people and companies)

Almost 1,000 people shared their opinions with me last year. If you’d like to see the complete results, click here.

2015 LinkedIn User Survey

Now it’s time to fire up the LinkedIn survey machine again, and I’d be honored if you would take iStock_000018913584Smalljust three minutes (I timed it myself) and complete the survey.

As an additional incentive to participate, five lucky winners will receive full access to my new online video-based LinkedIn course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn ($297 value). Also, be sure to complete the check box if you’d like to get the full results of the survey when completed.

To participate in the survey, click this link or cut and paste it into your browser.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2015LinkedInSurvey

Thanks for your continued readership and support. The information you share in the survey will ensure that I can continue to share the most relevant information with you each week.

LinkedIn’s New Searching Limit: Are You in Danger?

Posted on January 31, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

LinkedIn giveth and LinkedIn taketh away.iStock_000032832292Small

As of January 1, 2015, all LinkedIn members (free and premium accounts) can now see the last names and full profiles of the people in their extended network–which includes first, second, and now third degree. Thanks, LinkedIn.

Also, as of January 1, all members now have a limited number of searches they can perform each month–and at this point the number of searches we are limited to is not being disclosed by LinkedIn. What? You have to be kidding, LinkedIn!


LinkedIn Giveth

Seeing the last names of our extended network will be helpful for all of us. However, for people who are still ramping up their LinkedIn connection base, this will be especially helpful, because one of the basic tenets on LinkedIn is more first-degree people leads to more seconds and thirds. Thus, it’s important to continually add connections consistently and strategically.

If you’d like help formulating your connections strategy, be sure to read my article “The LinkedIn Connections Conundrum: Who Should Be in Your Network?”


LinkedIn Taketh Away

Regarding the number of searches you can do in any calendar month, LinkedIn refers to this as your “commercial use limit.” They suggest, “If you reach the commercial use limit, your activity on LinkedIn indicates that you’re likely using LinkedIn for commercial use, like hiring or prospecting.”

I have spent a bunch of time this month researching this change (so you wouldn’t have to). I’ve been trying to get a clearer picture of what it means. All I found was rampant speculation regarding the number of searches you get, what counts as a search, etc. And the only official statements from LinkedIn are their original announcement and a little bit of information they subsequently shared in the LinkedIn Help Center.

Also, only one person has contacted me to tell me he was warned that he was running out of searches. LinkedIn apparently starts warning you when you have used 70% of your allotted number of searches. Then they remind you again in 5% increments (25% left, 20% left, 15% left, etc.), until you see this final notice that you’ve reached your limit for the month. However, their website says, “After you’ve reached the limit, you’ll continue to be able to search but will see a limited number of results.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.35.42 AMThe person who contacted me did ultimately reach his limit for the month. Of course, he could have upgraded his account as LinkedIn suggested in each of the warnings–which, of course, is LinkedIn’s goal. Personally, I haven’t received a warning, but I have the Sales Plus premium upgrade, so I’m probably allotted more searches than people who have a free account.

To understand why I upgraded, read “Why I’ve Finally Upgraded to a Premium LinkedIn Account.”


Is this really a big deal?

For those of us who have capitalized on the power of the LinkedIn search for prospecting or hiring, it certainly is a big deal. We do lots of searches, and we don’t want to pay for a more expensive account so we can continue to do our jobs.

For the people who don’t do a lot of searching, it’s probably no big deal. But anyone who isn’t taking full advantage of the search function is undoubtedly leaving a lot of money on the table–a topic I will address another day.

My most recent LinkedIn user survey shows 81% of the respondents use the free account. These users are already limited in a number of ways, including fewer saved searches and InMails, fewer people in search results, and more limited access to Who’s Viewed Your Profile. Now that LinkedIn is also limiting the number of searches users can make, some day free account users may have to get out their credit card and upgrade to a premium account if they want to achieve their business goals.

LinkedIn giveth and LinkedIn taketh away. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you feel about these latest developments.

Does the Experience Section of Your LinkedIn Profile Impress Anyone?

Posted on January 25, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Whether you’re a thirty-year business development professional using LinkedIn to help hit your numbers eachBoss and young employees and every quarter, just graduating from college and hoping LinkedIn will help you find your first great job, or anything in between, the Experience sections of your profile could make or break you.

You may be wondering where the heck are the Experience sections on your profile–all you remember seeing is a Jobs section. Well, they are one and the same.
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10 ways to spruce up your Experience section

This is prime real estate. LinkedIn gives you 2,000 characters for every job you’ve had. Here’s how you can tell your unique branding story, include your most important keywords, and take full advantage of this section.

1.   It’s more than a list.  Describe job duties in a way that will explain and add interest and credibility to your story. Don’t simply list what you did. Remember–on LinkedIn you’re being compared to other people who do the same thing you do; so the goal here is to impress the reader and stand out from the crowd.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 6.49.11 AM

Use the LinkedIn Professional Portfolio capabilities to upload media or point to websites that include:
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  • Examples of your work
  • Written or video testimonials
  • Presentations you have made

2.   What are your strengths?  Be sure to include accomplishments that show your diverse experience and your ability to get important stuff done. If you can be specific with statistics and/or results, all the better.

When it comes to your strengths, there’s nothing more impressive than others sharing your strengths in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation. Work hard at getting at least two recommendations for each of your current and past job entries. It’s especially important to have affirmation of your current job entry.

3.   Did you get promoted?  Don’t forget to timeline any promotions you received at each job.

4.   Tie the past to the present.  Highlight the traits, characteristics, responsibilities, and results from your past jobs that most closely align with your current situation. Help the reader understand how your past experience makes you a better fit today.

5.   Describe the type of customers you serve/served.  You could even include a killer quote from Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 6.34.06 AMone of your clients that you extracted from either a LinkedIn recommendation or a letter of recommendation.

6.   Include descriptive titles.  Take advantage of all the characters available (100 max) in your Experience title. This is fertile keyword soil. For example, one of my job titles, CEO | Social Media Trainer and Strategy Consultant (specializing in LinkedIn), I could have simply said CEO, but this is a much better description of what I do, plus the extra keywords (social media, strategy, consultant, LinkedIn) will help people find me.

7.   Keywords are key.  Keywords, keywords, keywords. Oh, yeah–did I mention keywords? If you need help identifying your keywords and understanding where to put them, download my free LinkedIn Keyword Worksheet.

8.   Order is important.  If you want to display something in addition to your current job, like the work you are doing with your favorite nonprofit or industry Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 6.37.01 AMassociation board (I highly recommend doing this), then simply reorder the entries in your current Experience section.

Do this by holding down the gray line on the left of the actual experience entry and moving up or down to the order you prefer.

9.   Grammar matters.  Write this section in Word, check out the character count, run spelling and grammar checks, and then save and paste into your profile.

10.  Would I hire me?  Let some time pass; then review your entries and ask yourself: Will reading this inspire someone to want to hire me as an employee or as a vendor of choice?

Is there a difference between the words experience and jobs? You bet there is, and I hope you now understand how to use the Experience section of your profile as a strategic weapon.

Have You Found These 10 Hidden LinkedIn Features?

Posted on January 17, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Wow. With all the LinkedIn changes taking place Ten of clubs in handlately, even a guy like me has a hard time catching up. So, I’m going to share with you ten really cool hidden LinkedIn features you may have missed.

1.  Give them a shout-out. Here is a really cool but simple way to get someone’s attention when either sharing or commenting on a status update.

Just type an “@” sign prior to including someone’s name in an update. Then when you find the person and select them in the list provided by LinkedIn, the person’s name will be hyperlinked to their profile. At the same time LinkedIn will send them a message notifying them Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 3.32.23 PMthat they were mentioned in your update. You can do the same thing with company names.

Sometimes this is a little quirky when you have multiple people in your network with similar names. Therefore, try entering the person’s last name if they aren’t found correctly when using their first name. The extra effort is worth it.

2.  How many connections is 500+? You can now get reasonably close to the actual number by going Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 3.38.56 PMto the person’s profile, scrolling over the small down arrow, and then clicking View recent activity. The number of followers will appear in the upper right-hand corner. Followers are defined as connections plus people who have clicked the Follow button on someone’s profile. Thus, the number isn’t exact, but it should be pretty close to the number of connections the person has.

3.  What are they talking about? If you go to View Recent Activity and follow the same steps outlined in #2 above, you can see what the person has been sharing in his/her updates for up to the last couple months. If you want to automatically get the person’s updates going forward, just click Follow.

4.  Is this group really for you? Check out the group’s statistics when evaluating whether to join a group or not. Some of the statistics include member demographics (seniority, function, location, industry), membership growth, and activity (number and trends of comments, discussions, jobs, promotions).

To find a group’s statistics, Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 3.40.55 PMclick the “i” icon on any group profile.

5.  I’m not really interested in what you have to say. If someone is sharing updates that are really not in your areas Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 3.42.58 PMof interest but you don’t want to disconnect with the person, just scroll over to the top right-hand corner the next time you see one of his/her updates and click the word Hide. Then you will no longer receive the person’s updates in your feed. You can always “unhide” if you want to start receiving them again.

6.  Find the experts and see what they are writing about. You can Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 3.45.43 PMsearch the entire LinkedIn database of long-form published posts (articles), even those written by people you are not connected to. Just use keywords after you select Posts from the drop-down menu in the main Search box.

7.  Birds of a feather. LinkedIn really does a great job helping you find people with similar characteristics (company, groups, job titles, location, etc.) to the person whose profile you are currently checking out.

Three sections you ought to check out to find these “birds of a feather” are:
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  • People Also Viewed
  • People Similar to [name of person you are looking at]
  • Others With a Similar Position at [company name of person you are looking at]

These sections usually show up in the right-hand column if you scroll down just a bit from the top of the person’s profile.

8.  Who went to school for what? LinkedIn refers to this as Fields of Study Explorer. It enables you to see a complete list of all the people who had a certain major in school, and you can filter by:
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  • Where they work
  • What they do
  • Where they went to school
  • Where they live
  • How you are connected

You can access this by clicking Fields of Study Explorer after clicking Education on your top toolbar. This is a great tool for recruiting. Trust me–you are going to love this one.

9.  It is your data anyway. This is a fairly new feature. You can request a zip file from LinkedIn that is full of spreadsheets with all sorts of your data, including a complete list of your first-level connections, your search history and so much more. Get yours by going to your photo on the top right of your toolbar and selecting Privacy & Settings. Choose Account and then Request an archive of your data. Within 72 hours, you will get your zip file.

10. Who doesn’t love to save $10? Here is one that may save you lots of money. In order to send a direct message to a person you are not connected to, you have to purchase an InMail or use one of the InMails you get with your premium account–unless, of course, you share a LinkedIn group with that individual. Yes, that’s right. If you are both in the same group, you can message him/her for free–with only one exception; that is, if the person has changed his/her settings and chosen to not accept messages from fellow group members. However, this rarely happens because the default setting is Allow members of this group to send me messages via LinkedIn.

To do this, when you’re on the profile of a person you’d like to message but who isn’t a first-level connection, scroll Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 8.38.35 AMdown to the person’s groups and see what groups you can join. Join the group, go into the group itself, click Members, and then put the person’s name in the Search box. When his/her name comes up, select Send message and do just that.

Nice job! You just saved $10 or saved one of your InMails for someone who doesn’t belong to any groups or at least any groups that you have permission to join.

I hope you found a few goodies on this list. If you did, be sure to share this article with your LinkedIn network by clicking the In button below. They’re sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.

 

My Most Important LinkedIn Prediction for 2015

Posted on January 11, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Happy New Year.

Over the last month, my corporate clients have bombarded me with requests for my predictions about what is ahead for LinkedIn.

I don’t think you’ll find a more iStock_000051660800Smallpassionate LinkedIn student than me, and my goal each week is to help you use LinkedIn more effectively. Therefore, trying to guess what LinkedIn will do next is not high on my priority list.

So, rather than predict how many times they’re going to change the profile, what new features they will add or remove, and how long they’ll take to roll out the new features, I’m going to make one overarching prediction for 2015:

The gap between people and companies that really understand LinkedIn and are seeing results and those that don’t get it and aren’t seeing results will continue to widen–to the point where some people will actually give up and may even abandon the site.

And here’s what I have to say to people in the latter group: It’s okay. There are lots of other ways to accomplish the five things that LinkedIn is really good at–marketing, branding, networking, communicating, and researching people–so move on to some other methods that feel right to you.

But if you’re really starting to understand LinkedIn and it’s one of your tools of choice to accomplish some or all of those five tasks, here are some best practices to kickstart your new year. I’ve also included a few questions to help you discover where you should focus your efforts to improve your results.


Compose and Curate

By looking at the changes that took place in 2014, it’s clear that LinkedIn is sticking with their overall desire to be the definitive platform for all business information and learning. This expectation and the tools they have given us (publishing long-form articles, sharing updates, group discussions, media, and profile links) put each of us–and the companies we work for–in the driver’s seat for writing and sharing.
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  • Have you and/or your company identified the in-house experts who have the knowledge and ability to write and share information that will show the world you’re an expert in your industry?
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  • Also, have you identified other industry experts whose information you can share with your network?


Connect and Categorize

Connections are the gas in your LinkedIn tank, and, just like the different types of gas at the gas station, you can select the higher octane for better performance. Consistently adding more of the right gas to your LinkedIn tank will improve your performance. Also, coming up with a system to categorize your connections–both at the individual level and the company level–will pay off when it comes to communicating with your network.
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  • Have you documented the types of people you want to connect with and the groups you want to join?
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  • Once you have made a LinkedIn connection, is there a system in place to categorize that person by the types of information he or she may want to receive from you and your company?


Coordinate and Capitalize

Consistency is one of the cornerstones of a good marketing strategy. By coordinating your team’s efforts, you can amplify your marketing message and reach a much larger audience. This can be done by promoting use of the correct keywords and consistent branding statements as well as leveraging group activities and posting/sharing.

Leverage your existing marketing assets (brochures, video, white papers, case studies, etc.) by displaying and sharing them both on your individual LinkedIn profile and your company page.
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  • Have you developed a consistent LinkedIn company guideline yet?
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  • Has your company provided a LinkedIn training session, including an open discussion of best practices already being used by you or members of your team?
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  • Have you taken an inventory of the marketing and educational assets already in place and put together a plan to expand the inventory in 2015?

Now, which side of the gap will you and your company be on at the end of 2015? Will your LinkedIn efforts produce extraordinary results this year or will you feel like giving up?

If you have a specific LinkedIn challenge or you need help developing a LinkedIn strategy that will skyrocket your earnings this year, let’s set up a consulting call, a webinar for your team, or maybe a live event for your company and/or your clients. Feel free to contact me directly at wayne@powerformula.net or (414) 313-7785 or check out my online course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

Are You Showcasing Your “Social Proof” on LinkedIn?

Posted on December 21, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

I’m pretty sure that sometime during this holiday shopping season you checked the ratings of a specific product and/or researched what others said about something you wanted to purchase. What others are saying is called social proof.iStock_000008906736Small

Whether it’s a hamburger, a computer, or even a new accountant, we are all looking for information (including social proof) to help us make our decisions.

Here’s how Hubspot defines social proof:

Social proof, also referred to as “informational social influence,” is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trust those people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.  – Hubspot blog 4/17/12


How’s Your Social Proof

Is your social proof helping or hurting you or is it simply absent on most of your online addresses (website, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)? Do you have a 4.7/5.0 rating like your favorite restaurant on Yelp or Trip Advisor?

Even though it might not be quite as easy for you as an individual to accumulate a rating, there are specific things you can do to improve your social proof on LinkedIn.

I’m not just referring to the obvious LinkedIn sections–recommendations and Skills and the Endorsements that attach to them. These are very important places to show social proof, but there are some other great ways to share positive ratings and reviews about you and your company.


Easy Ways to Share Your Social Proof

These LinkedIn profile sections and activities can help you highlight and share your social proof:

Professional Portfolio. There are lots of ways to use this add-on Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 5.17.08 PMto your Summary, Job Experience or Educational sections. You can share video testimonials, traditional written customer recommendations, case studies, and success stories.

Projects. This is a good spot to include case studies or success stories, and you can link to web pages that include more details. You can also identify other LinkedIn members who were involved in a project and include a link to their LinkedIn profiles.

Individual or company status updates. Periodically share links in your status updates to case studies, success stories, and articles that highlight your capabilities.

Published Post. This new feature is now available to all members. You can display a long-form article, including an embedded video. This is perfect for highlighting customer testimonials and case studies. These will permanently show up near the top of your profile.

Honors & Awards. If you’ve got them, flaunt them.

Current Job Experience section. Extract a short quoteScreen Shot 2014-12-15 at 5.17.20 PM from a recommendation and highlight awards you’ve received.

Publications. Link to articles on your website or other sources that display your experience or awards and honors.

Certifications. These are great social proof because others (certifying organizations) are saying you met a certain level of proficiency.

So why not get busy and take advantage of these opportunities. It just may get you to that 4.7/5.0 score–or, better yet, how about a phone call or email from that sought-after prospect.

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