Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

When I begin a LinkedIn consulting engagement, the first thing I typically ask is “Who do you want to meet?” After all, LinkedIn at its core is the largest database of business professionals ever assembled, and Business group having a partyfinding the right folks for you to meet, no matter the purpose, is one of its strong suits.

I recently discovered a new, more effective way to find more of the right people on LinkedIn. The Advanced People Search and People Similar To features are good on their own, but I’ve learned they’re much better when used in tandem.

In short, it’s like LinkedIn is throwing a party just for you, and they handpick the attendees. They find people who are very similar to the people you’re already having success with.

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How to Get the Party Started

1.  Perform an Advanced People Search for your perfect target. If you need help with this, read “Create a Targeted Prospect List on LinkedIn in Five Minutes or Less.”

2.  You will normally see people near the top of the search results that you are already connected to (first degree) as well as others who have a very high relevancy to you based on LinkedIn’s relevancy formula.

Pick someone from the list who is already important to you (e.g., current client) or looks interesting to you (maybe you’d like to meet lots of people like him/her). Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 8.29.47 AMThen click the word “Similar.”

3.  You will then be given a list of 99 people who are similar to that person.

4.  Scroll through this LinkedIn-generated “special party attendee list” and get busy connecting with a few of the best people on the list. Now, that’s what I call an “A List” party.

Don’t forget to follow the important rules for inviting them to join your network by reading “Are You Making this BIG LinkedIn Mistake?”

5.   Repeat this procedure for other targeted search criteria.

Trust me, once you have followed these simple steps a few times, you’re going to attend this party often and leave with new relationships that will lead to drastically improved results on LinkedIn.

Because it’s halftime 2014 and the past six months have included lots of changes on LinkedIn, I’ve put together a summary of the significant changes.

I’ve categorized them and ordered them from “best” to “bummer” based halftimeon my opinion of the significance of each change. And I’ve also shared with you my two cents about each LinkedIn feature that’s been added, deleted or changed.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive into any of the changes, just click the link to get more information.


Best

Who’s Viewed Your Profile now includes filters. According to my 2013 and 2014 LinkedIn user surveys, Who’s Viewed Your Profile is the top rated LinkedIn feature. And it has gotten even better because you can now filter the people who looked at your profile by company, geographic region, title, and much more.

You can now see Who’s Viewed Your Updates. If you are spending time sharing updates (and, of course, you should be doing this), it’s now a big help to know what updates not only resonate with your audience but also who is sharing, “liking” or commenting on them.

Everyone can now publish long-form articles on his/her profile. For people who are already blogging, this one is a slam dunk. For people who have yet to venture into writing their own long-form articles in their area of expertise, this is a perfect way to start.

New, much cheaper premium account upgrades are now available. Now, for as little as $7.99/month, you can get a few extras, most importantly the ability to use the new filters mentioned above for all the folks who checked you out in the last 90 days. Once you start getting a lot of profile views, this one is well worth the money.


Pretty Good

The Endorsements & Skills section of your profile now has improved settings. What is already the most misunderstood profile section and feature on LinkedIn got a little better but still has a way to go. Managing this section is of utmost importance to improving your search ranking.

Premium members’ profiles have visual improvements. You now get a larger hero type photo/banner, and your picture is bigger on your profile. But more importantly, more information is displayed about premium members when they are included in an advanced search listing.

The activity feed on each member’s profile is back, and it’s also enhanced, although somewhat hard to find. It’s always good for others to see that you are sharing good thought leadership type information, but it is also helpful for you to be able to see what’s on someone else’s mind when checking out his/her profile.

There’s a new iPhone app just for job seekers. You can’t stop the movement to mobile, and if you’re in job-seeking mode, I’d suggest downloading this ASAP. Does the app allow you to use all of the LinkedIn features? No, but being able to search for jobs while sitting on a bus or during halftime of your kid’s soccer game (so you don’t miss a new posting) has got to be good.

The People You May Know feature has been enhanced. The photos are larger, making it easier to recognize people, and you’re now able to send out a personalized invitation to connect with anyone who appears on this list.


Bummer

The company page Products and Services Tab has been eliminated. This is the biggest bummer of the first half of 2014. I could go on and on about how frustrated I am that this has been eliminated, but who’s really listening anyway. It’s supposedly replaced with Showcase Pages…yeah, right.

You can now see how the number of  profile views you receive ranks against the number of views other members receive. It’s an interesting concept but has caused more questions than answers for most of the folks I’ve talked to. It reminds me a little of the letter that went out a year or so ago that congratulated people on being in the top 1%, 5%, 10% of people on LinkedIn in profile views, which really turned out to be just a super effective marketing campaign for LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn inbox has been “improved.” I’m not sure what all the hype is about with regard to the inbox. Instead, I wish they would have improved our ability to message a group of people in our network. Maybe next time…maybe not.

I hope you find lots of ways to take advantage of these upgrades in the second half of 2014.

I love getting insights from the person at the top of an organization, don’t you? And who better to share with you how you should be using LinkedIn than “The Man” himself, LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. So take three minutes to view this portion of an interview with him. It goes from 5:35 to 8:37, and it should be queued up at 5:35.

Excerpts of the Weiner interview

Below I’ve included portions of Jeff’s responses as well as some links to resources I’ve developed that should help you do LinkedIn “the Jeff Weiner way.”

Q.  “Who does well on LinkedIn? What are the attributes of people who successfully use LinkedIn to get a job or advance in a job? What are the things, the tips people should know?

[Jeff's response]  “First and foremost, it starts with your profile and representing who you are professionally, your professional brand, your experiences, your skills, your ambitions, what it is you ultimately want to accomplish.

Need help with sharing what you want to accomplish? Read Is Your LinkedIn Profile Going the Wrong Direction?

[Jeff's response continued]  “So the more you invest in the relevancy and the freshness of your profile, the more likely you are to show up for opportunities. I am not just referring to job opportunities but all kinds of opportunities, people who want to connect with you, do business with you…”

Need help with relevance? Read LinkedIn Search Ranking: How You Can Get to the Top of the List.

Need help with freshness? Read LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.

[Jeff's response continued]  “A profile is not just about text completeness like a resume…a LinkedIn profile now is essentially your professional portfolio.”

Need help developing your professional portfolio? Read Does Your LinkedIn Profile Really Show You Are An Expert?

[Jeff's response continued]  “We have expanded our publishing platform, and today when you publish and you click that button to publish something…that’s showing up near the top of your profile. That’s your expertise and increasingly reflects who people are.”

Want to learn more about the publishing platform? Read LinkedIn’s New Publishing Platform: Are You a Player or a Pretender?

[Jeff's response continued]  “It starts with profile completeness and taking advantage of these tools. It also extends to your network, who are you connecting with…and building out that network, because ultimately those are the people that are going to open the doors.”

Still not sure who to connect with?  Read  The LinkedIn Connections Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network?

Thanks, Jeff, for the great advice!

Yesssssss.  viewing linkedin updates

LinkedIn brought back a feature that I’ve really been missing, but they haven’t made it easy to find it this time around.

The feature is the activity feed, which you can look through when you’re viewing someone’s profile.

So, what is it, how do you find it, why was I missing it, and how can it help you?
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What is a person’s recent activity feed?

This is a chronological display of some of the activities of your first and second-degree network for a recent period of time. The information that shows up here is based on a person’s individual settings and LinkedIn’s current rules.

Here is the latest from LinkedIn on what is in your feed and for how long:

While the majority of your updates appear on your Recent Activity page for 14 days, this duration may vary depending on the type of activity. Below are select examples of activities and how long they will typically remain on your Recent Activity page.
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  • Updates that you share – 30 days
  • Comments and “likes” on other members’ updates – 14 days
  • Following and joining updates – 5 days
  • Recommendations and general profile updates – 14 days
  • Work anniversaries and recent position changes – 30 days
  • Profile photo changes – 60 days
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How do I find a person’s activity feed?

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 8.28.34 AMGo to his profile and click the down arrow next to the gray Endorse button (for first-degree connections) or gray Send <first name of person> InMail button (for second-degree connections), and then select View recent activity.
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Why was I missing it?

Easy. Most of the time when I am looking at a person’s profile, I am trying to learn something about the person so I can intelligently decide what I might want to do next to possibly move my relationship with her forward…or not. Now, in addition to the somewhat static information in the person’s profile, you can see what is on her mind currently, thus the name “Recent Activity.”
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How can it help you?

A few things come to mind both from the standpoint of you checking others out and also how you’re being perceived by others based on what’s in (or not in) your activity feed.

1.  When reviewing other people’s profiles, be sure to view the person’s activity feed to see what he decided is important enough to share with his network. Remember, you can hide your identity when you are checking out someone’s profile.

2.  If you are trying to get in front of that person, consider a share, “like” or comment on something she posted. She now knows you were not only looking at her profile but that you are helping her get more exposure by sharing her stuff with your connections.

3.  Look at your settings and make sure the information showing up in your feed is the information you want to show this audience.

4.  Start getting in the habit of posting status updates on a consistent basis, because now the posting has a longer shelf life and can also be viewed by your second-degree connections.

Sharing and commenting on information that is relevant and current could put you in a more positive light with people who view your profile, and that is always a good thing.

If you’d like ideas about what kind of information to post, check out these two articles: “Your Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Status Updates” and “LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.”

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Going the Wrong Direction?

Posted on June 21, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Does your LinkedIn profile feel more like a resume (backward focused) or a business plan (forward focused)?

If you answered “resume,” consider this linkedin profile directionquestion:

If you had only a few minutes with a person with whom you may want to build a future business relationship, would you spend more time on your past or where you are trying to go?  And this applies to job seekers as well.

With these thoughts in mind, I want you to consider the following exercise:

1. Print out your LinkedIn profile
2. Carefully read through it
3. Cut out the following three sections and put them in front of you:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Your most current job experience

With these three sections in front of you, reconsider the two questions I asked.

Here is what I’m getting at. Your resume is your resume. Your LinkedIn profile, although it has some similarities to your resume, should be more of a forward launching, here is where I am going, I have a plan and you can join me type of document.

For example, here is an excerpt from my LinkedIn Summary section:

“I am a social media consultant, speaker, and trainer specializing in LinkedIn use and strategy. I have trained over 50,000 businesspeople–from entry level to CEO–on how to effectively use LinkedIn. I help companies develop a comprehensive strategy for using LinkedIn to grow their business and build their brand. I then train their team on how to use LinkedIn to meet their objectives.”

The first two sentences are historical facts (I am a social media consulant…I have trained…), and the third sentence (I help companies develop…) is the forward-thinking idea I want readers to understand, consider, and possibly take action on. And, of course, that action is to contact me right away because they need this type of training for their company.

I suggest you consider changing some of the content in these three sections (Headline, Summary, and your current job experience) so much of it includes concepts, words, and visions of what it is you want to get done in the future and less about what you have done.

Isn’t this really what you want to accomplish not only with your LinkedIn profile but your entire LinkedIn experience?

How to Build Your LinkedIn Company Marketing Machine

Posted on June 15, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Over 3.7 million companies have company pages on LinkedIn. If your company doesn’t have one, you can get started by clicking here.

But that’s not the company marketing machine I’m referring to. I’m talking about coordinating all the employees at your company to have a consistent branding message relating to your company on each of their personal LinkedIn profiles. linkedin company branding So, what would that coordination look like?

It starts with creating LinkedIn profile guidelines (a/k/a best practices) for your company and then sharing that information with everyone at your company who has a LinkedIn profile.

The best way to share these guidelines is to have a LinkedIn training session for all employees who have a LinkedIn account. (And, by the way, I can help you with this!). Employees need to understand the strategy behind the guidelines and not just “Here, do this because I said so.” .

What to Include in Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile Guidelines

1.  Photo.  Bring in a photographer and get professional headshots.  You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and the person’s photo is the first thing people see when they view someone’s profile.

2.  Keywords.  As you know, these are critical on LinkedIn, and if you expect your people to show up in a search, you have to give them a list of five to ten of the most searched-for terms for the company. These are usually your products, services, brands, etc. And then encourage your employees to place them in the right spots on their profile.

3.  Standard company description paragraph(s).  Share with them one succinct paragraph to be included in the Summary section and a more detailed two or three paragraphs to be included in their job description for their current job at your company.

4.  Media or web links in their Professional Gallery.  This is a great place to show off videos, slide shows, photos of your best work, products, customer testimonials, etc.

5.  Each employee’s job entry correctly attached to your company page.  Make sure your company logo shows up on their job entry for your company.  This is must-have branding. If it doesn’t show up, it means (1) they added this job entry prior to your business having a company page with a logo attached or (2) they selected the wrong company or no company when adding this entry to their profile. This is simple to fix. The employee simply edits that job entry and selects the correct company page when LinkedIn autofills as he/she is typing in your company name.

6.  Sharing, “liking” or commenting on company status updates.  This one is a bit hard to monitor because it is ongoing and not a one-time profile change. But the more it’s done, the more sets of eyes your company updates are seen by, and we can all agree that is a good thing.

For additional LinkedIn company branding ideas, read “Does Your LinkedIn Profile Help or Hurt Your Company’s Brand?” 

Do you want to see your LinkedIn efforts start paying off, week after week, on a consistent basis?

Of course, you do.  Then start by scheduling an appointment with your LinkedIn account each Monday morning and get these important things done in just 20 minutes.linkedin to dos, linkedin time management

1.  Review “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” and reach out to the people you should be meeting (4 minutes).

Viewing your profile is the equivalent of walking into your store, so be sure to reach out and ask the person how you might be able to help him/her.

2.  Send invitations to join your LinkedIn network, using a 5-star invitation, to people you met (in person or on the phone) during the previous work week (4 minutes).

Making this part of your networking process will help you in so many different ways on LinkedIn. 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.”  Improving your search ranking on LinkedIn is all about connections, especially the right ones, and people you have already met are spot on.

3.  Check out and get involved in group discussions in your most productive group(s) (3 minutes).

Yes, many groups are somewhat “spammy,” but when you find one that has the right folks who are talking about the right things and they’re just waiting for you to weigh in, don’t miss your chance.

4.  Investigate people who show up in your saved search results (6 minutes).

Once you have LinkedIn delivering 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 even 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).

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, read “LinkedIn Time Management 101.”

 

Is Your Boss a LinkedIn Hater? Gotcha Covered.

Posted on June 1, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

This week I want to help a very special group of loyal LinkedIn users. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking maybe this group should start a LinkedIn group that could be called something like “My Boss Hates LinkedIn Users Group.”
linkedin

I’m speaking to those of you who have found ways to be more effective in your job using LinkedIn, but perhaps your direct supervisor is questioning the amount of time you’re allocating to LinkedIn because he/she “just doesn’t get it.”

Back in the day when I had an actual boss (now I just have my wife), my first priority was to do what my boss wanted and do it in the way he/she wanted it done. So I do appreciate your pain.

Before I give you a resource that may help you with this dilemma, I want to share with you my thoughts about why they may be having trouble embracing your newfound love for LinkedIn.

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  • They probably didn’t grow up using any of these Internet-based tools. Saying they are uncomfortable with them is perhaps a real understatement.
  • The whole privacy thing on the Internet is a big mental hurdle.
  • They have a hard time getting excited about new technologies, especially ones that involve the computer, which they may see as a “black hole time waster.”
  • LinkedIn is sometimes discussed in the same genre as Facebook and Twitter. Thus, they may have a wholesale allergic reaction to LinkedIn because they’ve heard about activity on social networking sites that is inappropriate in a business setting.
  • They are more comfortable with face-to-face networking (the only type of networking they have known) because it has worked well for them in the past.
  • They don’t want to admit that you know how to do something better than they do.

It’s always a good thing to try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before addressing a situation that might be tricky.

Enough said. My help for you today is a “letter” to your boss, and I will call it:

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A Letter to Your Boss on Why He/She Should Be Using LinkedIn

Dear Boss:

As you may or may not know, I have become a regular LinkedIn user. It has helped me to better accomplish the goals of my job by providing a way for me to connect with millions of potential customers/employees/suppliers from all over the world and research people and companies in a way that can only be done on the world’s largest online business networking site.

This may strike fear in your mind because it conjures up thoughts of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites that are not always businesslike. I understand this perspective entirely, and, frankly, the reputation they have garnered is in some cases justifiably earned.

Let me get to the purpose of this letter, which is to give you some reasons why I think you would be helping me accomplish my goals (which, of course, are consistent with our company’s goals) if you personally join LinkedIn.

1.     Each of our employees can have a profile on LinkedIn. This profile will allow people to find our company and find us as individuals. We will be found as a result of our using keywords that describe our products, brands, processes, and markets we serve. Our profiles also give us the ability to tell others what makes us better than our competitors.

When you and the other leaders of our company join LinkedIn, we will be showing the people we serve and employ, as well as those we want to work with and desire to employ, that we are on the leading edge of what is going on in the business community. In addition, we will be making ourselves findable by them on this huge database of businesspeople.

These profiles are similar to a detailed Internet-based Yellow Page listing in a database of over 300 million business professionals. The profiles are meant to assist businesspeople in finding other businesspeople. In order to effectively accomplish this goal, it is not necessary to include sensitive personal information in your profile.

2.     When you add connections to your account, it will enable all of us to know “who knows whom” in your network. Because you are one of the most well-networked people in our geographic market and in our industry as a whole, being able to connect the dots of who you know, as well as who your friends know, could be invaluable to our organization. We may find out that you have a friend who knows an influential person at the company we have been trying to break into for the last several years.

3.     Free of charge, we can also have a company page on LinkedIn. This can include much of the same information we use in our other marketing and branding efforts, and it can be viewed by millions of users around the world. Google and other search engines just love these social media sites. This page will probably come up on the first page of a Google search when someone searches our company name.

4.     Each individual who joins LinkedIn and creates a profile is one more person telling our company story to the millions of people to whom they are connected. This means we all become “foot soldiers” in the branding and marketing of our company.

5.     This is the first time we have had the ability (for free, mind you) to use a keyword searchable database of over 300 million business professionals around the globe for hiring, sourcing, partnering, and information sharing.

That is the 35,000 foot view of the benefits of LinkedIn that I see for our company. I would love the opportunity to now show you how it works. Maybe we could schedule a lunch together, bring in a few sub sandwiches, and I can give you a live demonstration.

I appreciate your taking the time to read this letter. Have a great day.

Now, whether you actually give this letter to your boss is up to you, but my purpose is to outline for you the type of information you can share with your boss to help him/her understand the benefits of LinkedIn. Good luck!

 

LinkedIn Search Ranking: How You Can Get to the Top of the List

Posted on May 25, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

I’m asked this question frequently, and it’s a very important one in my opinion:

Q:  How do I get to the top of a LinkedIn search?

linkedin search ranking

A:  Simple. You have to make sure you are connected at the first level to ALL the people that might be searching for you.

Okay, so the concept may be simple, but it’s really not practical to actually pull it off.

That being said, the important concept is the relationship you have with the person who’s searching will trump all the other criteria that might help you get to the top of a search.

In other words, the general order is all the 1st degree people first, 2nd degree people next, 3rd degree next, and so on. There will be some exceptions, but those usually result from people doing a good job with the ten steps I’ve listed below.

So, here is my best shot at the steps you should take to start showing up higher in search rankings (understanding that LinkedIn never shares the exact components of their search algorithm).

 

10 Ways to Get to the Top of a LinkedIn Search List

1.  Add lots of connections. Focus especially on the people who might be looking for you as well as people they are connected to. This is one of the best ways to rank highly.

Note: You have to make this a high priority, because the remaining 9 steps won’t do you much good if you haven’t concentrated on this one. 

2.  Use keywords. Be sure to include the keywords those people are going to use to look for you, and put them in multiple places and in the right places on your profile. Download my free worksheet Keywords: The Key to Being Found on LinkedIn for more help on this.

3.  Get endorsements. Be sure you are getting endorsed for those keywords in the Skills and Endorsements section of your profile.

4.  Join groups. Join lots of groups (that means the max of 50), especially the ones that the people who are most likely going to be looking for you would be in.

5.  Be an All Star. Have your profile completed to All Star status.

6.  Get involved in your groups. Be active in group discussions, both posting and commenting.

7.  Post individual status updates frequently. Share quality information with your network at least once a day during the work week.

8.  Promote your network. Comment, share and “like” other people’s status updates.

9.  Get more recommendations. Now that endorsements have become so important, I’m not entirely sure how much recommendations affect search ranking. But they are still important for increasing your credibility on LinkedIn, and I suggest getting two or three for each job and education entry on your profile.

10. Upgrade to a premium account Somewhere deep in the bowels of the search ranking algorithm this has to matter, don’t you think?

Good luck getting to the top, and let me know when you get there. The view is great from the top!

 

As you have probably already heard by now, linkedin publishing platformLinkedIn recently opened its publishing platform to all members. Previously this was only available to a handpicked group of industry experts selected by LinkedIn.

I am really excited about the opportunity this provides for every single LinkedIn member. You can now showcase your expertise in long-form articles (i.e., blog posts) for not only your network to read but for the whole world to read. What a great way to show you know your stuff.

However, when I have shared this awesome opportunity with my LinkedIn consulting clients, it’s resulted in a sudden look of terror on their faces.

What’s wrong? Why the look of terror?

Because they don’t have a plan to begin to share their expertise through articles on LinkedIn (or anywhere else for that matter)–plus knowing their competitors may already be doing it and thus showing them up literally scares them to death.

If this is not you and you are already using the publishing feature, way to go. You might be ahead of your competitors. But if it sounds like you, you need to take the following steps ASAP.

Find out who is already publishing in your area of expertise

Click the down arrow and choose Articles (1). Then search for linkedin publishing platformarticles using keywords. In my example I searched for articles about retirement planning. I found 130 articles (2).

Check some of these out to get a feel for what folks are sharing. Consider sharing (3) with your network the best of what you find, but stay away from sharing posts from direct competitors. At least you are curating good content until you write your own. “Follow” the authors so you get their latest as soon as they post it.

Take note of the authors (4) who post consistently. In addition to looking at their posts, check out their profiles. If you find something interesting, you may wish to include similar information on your profile.

Consider connecting with these folks, but, again, stay away from connecting with competitors.

Post status updates that include articles you find from sources other than LinkedIn

Again, curating good content can help you get out there as an expert at least until you’re ready to write your own articles. Learn more about this by reading Your Definitive Guide To LinkedIn Status Updates.

Evaluate whether the LinkedIn Publishing Platform should become part of your marketing plan

It’s not for everyone and, yes, it takes some effort, so do your homework. These articles should help you decide whether it’s right for you.

LinkedIn Blog: The Definitive Professional Publishing Platform

Social Media Examiner Blog: LinkedIn Publishing Platform: What Marketers Need to Know

Entrepreneur Blog: Should You Join LinkedIn’s Expanded Influencer Program?

Mashable Blog: LinkedIn Opens Publishing Power to All Users

Click here to check out what I have published so far using the new platform.